Serving as NASA’s official living tribute to the crew of the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Columbia Memorial Space Center is located where the Apollo and Space Shuttle spacecraft were designed and built. The CMSC aims to be the most accessible STEM experience in Southern California. While acknowledging the rich aeronautic/aerospace history of the area, the CMSC focuses on the future, working to be the hub of innovative STEM learning throughout the Southern California region by reaching out to all of its communities with activities centered on critical thinking, creativity, technology, and science.
The permanent collections of the Columbia Memorial Space Center include a wide focus on artifacts pertaining to the aeronautic and aerospace history of Southern California, and NASA. Items collected by the Columbia Memorial Space Center are taken in with the intent of preserving, interpreting, and making accessible the aeronautic and aerospace history of Downey, as well as Southern California, to the community and researchers alike. Items within the collection primarily include materials produced in the normal course of business by the former aircraft plants of the City of Downy, and other Southern California aerospace sites, including but not limited to, the North American Aviation/Rockwell Corporations in Downey, Lockheed Corporation in Burbank, the Hughes Aircraft Company/Raytheon Company in El Segundo, and the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach. Furthermore, items produced by or for NASA in the regular course of business also fit within the collections held by the Columbia Memorial Space Center.