Tuesday, June 03, 2014

US Hwy 70: White Sands Missile Range Museum

Driving out of Alamogordo, NM, this pair of signs confirmed that I was still on US70 West and informed me that I was about to cross an active missile test range.

Thankfully, I didn't have to stop on the hot road while they flew missiles overhead.

Toward the other side of the range I saw a sign for the White Sands Missile Range Museum and just had to check it out. The approach road is pretty benign as it heads toward mountains, but there are enough signs warning about live ordinance scattered about to give you a bit of a creepy feeling.

After parking in the visitors' lot, getting a pass in the reception center and having my identification vetted at the security gate, I was allowed to walk about 100 yards onto the base and into an open area with the coolest collection of missiles and related equipment that I could have imagined.

It's a self-guided area, but all of the artifacts -- ranging from the very first missiles to a modern Patriot battery -- are all well placarded and informative. This is definitely a hardware-focused museum, and the theme continues inside a small building that's chockfull of all sorts of exhibits.

In a separate building of its own is the crown jewel of the museum, an authentic V2 rocket. In the aftermath of its WWII reign of terror, the V2 became the cornerstone of US missile development.

The White Sands Missile Range Museum doesn't get much publicity -- and it takes a little effort to get to -- but it's definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the area!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Thanks for showing us photos of this amazing and little known museum!