Albuquerque is known worldwide for its International Balloon Fiesta in October‚ but visitors can learn even more about the hot-air machines at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.
The $12 million museum opened in October 2005‚ just southeast of Balloon Fiesta Park‚ where the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held.
The museum is named for Albu querque balloonists Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo‚ who made history in 1978 when they completed the first nonstop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by gas balloon.
“Maxie Anderson’s family initiated the Balloon Museum Foundation and fundraising‚ and they brought the idea for a balloon museum to the city‚” says Dodie Montgomery‚ operations director for the Balloon Museum Foundation. “The building the museum is housed in is owned by the city‚ and the museum foundation raises money to support the museum.”
Exhibits cover topics such as the history of ballooning since 1783‚ the launch of the first hot-air balloon and the differences between hot-air and gas balloons.
“There are educational and hands-on exhibits on how we make balloons‚ the effects of atmospheric pressure on the body‚ how balloon baskets are created and knotting‚ which is an important element of ballooning‚” Montgomery says.
The museum is also home to several authentic Japanese Fugo balloon bombs‚ which the Japanese created during World War II.
“They attached the bombs to balloons and put them into the jet stream to be brought to the U.S.‚” Montgomery says. “About 1‚000 have been recovered‚ and we have a large chunk of them here.”
Check out more fun museums in Albuquerque, NM.