‘Colorado Takes Off’ opens at Museum of Northwest Colorado

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If you go

What: “Colorado Takes Off,” a new exhibit

When: Open until June 19. Visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave.

• “Colorado Takes Off” is a traveling exhibit that celebrates the state’s aerospace history with photos, videos, audio and models of aircraft. For more, call the museum at 824-6360.

With the push of a button, the voice of former astronaut Scott Carpenter comes to life as he relays the first attempt to eat solid food in space.

“I can verify that eating bite-sized food as we have packaged for this flight is no problem at all,” said Carpenter, who was raised in Boulder, in the audio recording. “Even the crumbly foods are eaten with no problem.”

The audio sample is among the features of “Colorado Takes Off,” a new exhibit now open in the basement of the Museum of Northwestern Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave.

The traveling exhibit opened Feb. 12 and will be at the museum until June 19.

It celebrates 100 years of flight in the state through photos, videos, audio recordings and model aircrafts.

Before landing in Craig, the exhibit was at the Boulder History Museum.

Assistant museum director Jan Gerber said the exhibit came to Craig because a few years ago she attended a meeting with a person who was putting the idea together.

“I sat next to this guy who was just starting to develop it,” she said “He has an interest in aviation in Colorado and trying to document it.”

The exhibit chronicles the history of local aviation, ranging from February 1910, when the first flight in the state was made, to modern day.

The exhibit is not limited to one form of aircraft. It includes a variety of uses, including commercial, medical and military flights, as well as space exploration.

“This is just really the history of flying in Colorado,” Gerber said. “Obviously, Colorado has a huge part in the space program — that’s something that people don’t really think about.”

There are three displays in the exhibit that include a video, some use audio and most have model airplanes.

Each airplane model is built on the same scale to give visitors a sense of comparison.

There are also profiles of Coloradans such as Carpenter, Emily Howell Warner, the first woman hired as pilot by a major airline, and John Swigert, who flew on the Apollo 13 moon mission and made the announcement, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

“It really is an opportunity,” Gerber said. “It was only going to a limited number of museums, and we’re the only one on the Western Slope that has it scheduled.

“It’s really an opportunity to see some aerospace history in Colorado.”

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