White Sands Missile Range hosts museum grand reopening after renovations

By Vanessa FloresMay 4, 2023

Museum Grand Reopening Ribbon Cutting at White Sands Missile Range
Cutting the ribbon at the grand reopening ceremony on May 4, 2023 were (left) Army Museum Enterprise Director Col. Bryan W. Hunt, U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range Garrison Commander Col. David A. Mitchell, Darren Court, the White Sands Missile Range Museum Curator and Frances F. Williams, President of the WSMR Foundation. (Photo Credit: Vanessa Flores, White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (May 4, 2022) – On May 4, the White Sands Missile Range Museum reopened its doors to the public with a grand reopening celebration. Long overdue for a celebration, the museum has been closed since the pandemic struck in the Spring of 2020.

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Providing remarks and cutting the ribbon at the ceremony were U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range Garrison Commander Col. David A. Mitchell, Army Museum Enterprise Director Col. Bryan W. Hunt, and Frances F. Williams, President of the WSMR Foundation. Within their remarks was praise for Darren Court, the White Sands Missile Range Museum Curator who has been working on the renovation every step of the way.

“With the work, dedication, and involvement of hundreds of people over the last almost thirty years, we are finally able to open a world-class, modern museum showcasing the wonderfully diverse history of the Tularosa Basin, the Army's role in New Mexico, and the incredible technological and military achievements made during the Cold War period here at WSMR,” said Court. “We hope we've created a museum that people can be proud of."

What Court wants people to learn from the museum is the critical role the Army played in scientific endeavors such as the beginning of the atomic and space ages, which began as Army projects.

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ASCII (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“As caretakers of the Tularosa Basin, we must tell the story of the rich and diverse history, so it is preserved and shared,” said Court. “The Army has had a long and diverse history in New Mexico dating back to when it was part of the northern territories of New Spain, and we hope to spark an interest in that story.”

The museum underwent renovations during its closure to include a 15-exhibit series ranging on topics from the natural history of WSMR to instrumentation and test support. Guests will also see 145 artifacts and exhibit support items amongst the 4,000-square-foot space. The new museum was created thanks to contributions from many, including the WSMR Historical Foundation and the Center of Military History, where the museum designer Roxann Showers works.

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The old museum was just a collection of artifacts with labels that did not tell the WSMR story. The new museum uses detailed research and interpretation and high-quality graphics and images to tell the whole story behind the displayed artifacts. While touring the new White Sands Missile Range Museum, visitors are destined to learn that the history of the range goes way beyond shooting missiles.

The museum is now open to the public, Monday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information on the museum, visit: https://wsmrmuseum.com/