Opened in 1977 on the campus of the Jackson Community College, the Michigan Space and Science Center was built by matching state and college funds and served as a tribute to several astronauts who had connections back to the state.
The collection was moved to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo’s Space Science Center after the building closed in December 2003. While some outdoor exhibit items, such as engine bells and rockets, remained in place for a while, they have all been removed as of 2016. Sporting a magenta roof, the building is now a student recreation center known as Jets Hangar.
Before closing, the center presented memorable hands-on experiences to visitors for nearly three decades. Some pieces of the collection included a moon rock, a space capsule simulator, a full-size replica of the Mars Pathfinder, and the capsule used during the Apollo 9 mission. Visitors were enamored by the experiential nature of the displays: the moon rock could be examined through a microscope, 3D glasses were incorporated into many of the exhibits, and more.