The Locations Behind the True Story of 'Hidden Figures'
Nominated for three Academy Awards and two Golden Globes, “Hidden Figures” is the standout film of the year.
The stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson were given the Hollywood treatment in a film adaptation of “Hidden Figures,” starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae.
The three women were integral to NASA’s famous mission of sending John Glenn into Earth’s orbit in 1962—but received little of the recognition they deserved until their story was turned into a book and subsequent movie last year.
Although the story takes place between Virginia and Cape Canaveral, the filming for the movie was all done in Georgia, mainly in and around Atlanta. And many of the filming locations remained unchanged. In post-production interviews, the team remarked on how easy it was to find buildings from the 1960s still intact and available for shooting.
For those inspired by “Hidden Figures” and eager to visit the actual locations which inspired and appeared in the film, here are six locations where you can delve deeper into the story.
Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral
Although the movie was not actually filmed at Cape Canaveral (it took five separate locations in Georgia to recreate the entire campus), the Kennedy Space Center played an integral part in the actual history behind “Hidden Figures.”
John Glenn underwent tests for his space mission at the center and plans for the entire mission were laid there. It’s possible to visit the space center today for guided tours—although you can’t enter the actual working parts.
Tickets: $50 for adults, $40 for kids at KennedySpaceCenter.com
The town of Hampton is home to the Langley Research Center, where Dorothy, Katherine, and Mary worked under segregation. Last year, a 40,000-square-foot space at the research center was named the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility in honor of the instrumental mathematician. Hampton is also the hometown of Margot Lee Shetterly, who wrote the book “Hidden Figures” on which the movie is based.
The official visitors center at Langley is the Virginia Air & Space Center.
Tickets: $18.50 for adults, $15 for kids at VASC.org
Morehouse College, Atlanta
The historically black college in Atlanta stood in for the exteriors of the NASA Center. There’s a round building on the Morehouse College campus that was also used as the location for the Space Task Group shots.
East Point, Georgia
East Point is a suburb to the southwest of Atlanta (bordering Hartsfield-Jackson airport) where filmmakers went to shoot the scenes of Katherine’s home.
Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia
Filmmakers wanted to make the visuals behind the movie as authentic as possible. When they set off to film the wind tunnel scenes, they turned to the facilities at Lockheed Martin. Not only was it one of the only tunnels available for filming, it was periodically accurate for what a wind tunnel at Langley would have looked like in the 1960s.
Next door to Dobbins Air Reserve Base is the Clay National Guard Center, which filming took over as a hangar and press conference center.
Another of Atlanta’s suburbs, Monroe was used to recreate many of the neighborhood scenes where Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary spend time outside of work. Highlights of shooting include the town’s Courthouse and South Broad Street, which was chosen for their periodically-correct 1960s buildings.
Outside of Monroe, filmmakers shot the scenes of the trio commuting to work on Fairplay Road and Sandy Creek Road, where there was nothing but greenery for miles around.