Posts Tagged ‘Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum’

REVIEWS FROM THE REV: MUSEUMS IN COLORADO

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Spending a few days in Denver on a project, I stopped in to revisit some museums in the area.

Now THAT’S a dinosaur!

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is quite a museum, with a blend of old and new exhibits.  Right now they are hosting the touring Pirates exhibit that was in Chicago when I was last there.  I skipped that, walked past the mummies and the spectacular wildlife dioramas and ran straight to the dinosaurs, of course.  The new addition I noticed there was a spectacular video depicting early Earth, from shortly after its formation through a few hot and cold cycles, or roughly until life began.  I stood and watched it several times.  Mesmerizing.  The exhibit does a nice job of describing evolution and early life, ending with a spookily-realistic sculpture of Lucy, our ancestor.  Be sure to find your way to the observation deck that looks out over Denver, and look for Gary Staab’s new (and massive) Brachiosaurus sculpture that is rearing up on its hind legs next to the parking garage.  Another new feature is an ongoing dig in Snowmass, Colorado, where a treasure trove of Pleistocene fossils are being uncovered.  It’s called The Snowmastodon Project, and despite a labored attempt to make this the “Knut” of the museum marketing world, it’s a very exciting project that can be followed on-line!

The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is located on the old Lowry Air Force Base grounds, and features a squeaky-clean hangar populated with some interesting birds (a B-1 Bomber and an X-Wing fighter from Star Wars, for example).  It’s a nice museum, with a room dedicated to the history of the Colorado Air National Guard (that has been flying as a unit since 1923).

Down the highway is the Pueblo Wiesbrod Aircraft Museum, which is packed with the history of the B-24 bombers that flew there in WW2.  The most impressive feature here is the B-29 Superfortress inside the first hangar.  Wow.  Not a bad medium-sized air museum, if you’re in the neighborhood.

The last Denver museum I visited was The Denver Art Museum.  But, to be honest, I only dashed in there to lay eyes upon my favorite painting in their collection (“Childhood Idyll”: by William Adolphe Bouguereau).  I hadn’t been in there since they opened the brand new building that is now the main entrance and, frankly, it gave the impression of more building than any museum could handle.  The older part of the museum seems to have remained much as it was, which is good, I think, with the newer part being reserved for changing exhibitions, large and small.  Denver has a habit, I’ve noticed, of rather self-consciously trying to build itself into major city status through architecture and impossible-to-avoid huge public sculpture, and the new museum building fits in this scheme.  Having said that, it’s a nice art museum that is currently displaying a fine collection of contemporary western landscapes, some of which I found mesmerizing and moving (“Western Horizons: Landscapes from the Contemporary Realism Collection” Through October 21).

t.n.s.r. bob