The New Mexico Museum of Space History is a planetarium and museum complex located in Alamogordo, NM. The museum focuses on displays and artifacts dedicated to the Space Age and space flight. As one of the 15 divisions of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the museum's mission is to educate both visitors and the local people of New Mexico about the world of technology and history, and the science of space. Having played a substantial role in the development of the U.S. Space Program via preserving, interpreting, and collecting artifacts associated with the history of space, the museum achieved AAM accreditation as of 1993.
Inside the museum is a range of informative displays and exhibits about space exploration. The Basin Overlook exhibit highlights the occurrences in greater New Mexico and the Tularosa Basin that aided the exploration of space. A gallery of maps, photographs, and information describes the White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air Force Base, and the Tularosa Basin. The interactive Icons of Exploration exhibit showcases a collection of the museum's most celebrated artifacts and objects, highlighting the underlying themes of the museum and including moon rocks as well as replicas of the first satellites launched by man; Sputnik and Explorer.
The Living and Working in Space exhibit shows how humankind has adapted to the environmental challenges of inhabiting space. Space suits are on display here, as well as clothing, a space toilet, Soviet and American space food, and a bioinstrumentation pack. A further exhibit is Rockets!, which is a tactile exhibit with buttons to press that in turn create rocket sounds and allow 3D models of rockets to be observed; this exhibit gives the timeline of the development of rocketry over the years and pays tribute to many of the pioneers in the field of rocketry. The Looking Out, Looking Back exhibit describes the history of satellites, their importance, and how they have changed over the years in terms of technology.
The Space Science in New Mexico exhibition celebrates the Tularosa Basin and New Mexico’s link to space travel developments and the impact of the pioneers of space flight. The gallery displays a fuel injector that was part of a rocket made by Robert Goddard as well as some instruments from the German V2 rockets that were previously tested at the White Sands Missile Range. The final indoor exhibit is the International Space Hall of Fame. Dating back to 1976, this hall honors the achievements, efforts, and imagination of many who have advanced humankind's knowledge of space and the universe. The museum also contains the New Horizons Theater and Planetarium. This planetarium hosts four different showings per day and has the first Spitz SciDome 4K Laser fulldome projection system in the world.
The outside area also has the Astronaut Memorial Garden, which contains space-related artifacts documenting the exploration of space over the years. Examples of this outdoor exhibit are the Little Joe rocket, famed from its testing of the Apollo Launch Escape System, and the Sonic Wind 1 rocket sled, which was ridden by Dr. Stapp. By the flagpoles just outside the museum, the remains of Ham, the first chimpanzee in space, lies buried. Another exhibit located outside is the Astronaut Memorial Garden, which was created in memory of the astronauts who died in the Challenger disaster. Partially inside and partially outside is the Daisy Track exhibit, an air-powered sled track also known as the Daisy Air Rifle, which was used to test safety devices. Further displays include the sounding rockets and whisper dishes. Visitors can learn about all of these exhibits from the information plaques located beside each display. Also on site is the Museum Support Center, where volunteers and employees restore and conserve the large number of artifacts on display at the museum.
Ongoing programs and education
The museum offers young people of all ages the chance to join the New Mexico Rocketeer Academy program. For kindergarten through 9th grade there is a summer camp that has two programs to choose from. The camps are either half day (Comets) or full day (Mercury) and are divided into age groups and topics. Topics have ranged from dinosaurs to flying and space robots. The museum also has an outreach program, whereby a portable planetarium dome can be taken to schools for a performance. Another program run by the museum is the Museum Camp-Ins program. These camp-ins see children and adult chaperones travel through the museum participating projects as they go and seeing presentations and movies.
3198 State Rte 2001, Alamogordo, NM 88310, Phone: 575-473-2840
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