Museum Highlights Advances in Science and Technology by Balloonists

With an emphasis on the science, technology, engineering, and math-related contributions of world-renowned balloonists, the redesigned International Ballooning Hall of Fame at the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, now open to the public, delves into the groundbreaking advancements and achievements of Hall of Fame inductees.

The new exhibition traces the stories of inductees, beginning with those who launched the age of human aviation over two centuries ago through ballooning. Since then, people have pushed the technology of ballooning and lighter-than-air (LTA) aviation in order to reach new heights, gain new knowledge, and advance human capabilities. The International Ballooning Hall of Fame recognizes and memorializes the accomplishments of these legendary aeronauts.

“Due to the nature of ballooning and LTA aviation, the inductees have been leading practitioners of science, technology, engineering, and math,” adds Garver.

Technology is a major theme of the new International Ballooning Hall of Fame, which includes a section on airships that features the steering wheel from an early 20th-century dirigible.

In light of this, the exhibition explores how inductees mastered physical forces to achieve flight; experimented at high altitude to better understand our physical world; created and adapted technologies to help us go higher and farther; explored new frontiers and pushed the boundaries of performance through competition and setting records; and they have enhanced, preserved, and shared history, science, and technology for the benefit of each other, as well as the public, government, and private enterprise.

“Without the efforts of these inductees,” says Garver, “our understanding of aeronautics, the natural world, and the cosmos would be greatly diminished along with our potential as humans.”

The “Voyages of Discovery” section of the exhibition chronicles inductees who went beyond known frontiers, were the first to achieve unprecedented milestones and passed thresholds of earlier ballooning records. Photos by AAAIBM

The “Voyages of Discovery” section of the exhibition chronicles inductees who went beyond known frontiers, were the first to achieve unprecedented milestones and passed thresholds of earlier ballooning records.

Technology is a major theme of the “Science of Flight” exhibit, which includes a section on airships that features the steering wheel from an early 20th-century dirigible.

“There are dozens of legendary aeronauts in the International Ballooning Hall of Fame,” says Paul Garver, Balloon Museum manager. “Of course, this includes a number of people from New Mexico and Albuquerque, in particular, but also people from around the world and from different historical periods.”

The multi-media exhibition includes many unique and never-before-seen artifacts from the Balloon Museum’s extensive collection, including burners, instruments, and inflation devices. A centerpiece touchscreen interactive, nearly 8 feet tall, invites visitors to learn more about all of the inductees.

The World Air Sports Federation’s International Ballooning Commission, or Comité International d’Aérostation, founded the Hall of Fame in 1994 to honor those who have made significant contributions to ballooning and airships, including those who have excelled in business, history, design, engineering, competitions, and record-setting. The Balloon Museum has been home to the International Ballooning Hall of Fame since 2011.

Named in honor of Albuquerque’s pioneering aeronauts Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo, the Balloon Museum opened in 2005 and has since welcomed over one million visitors from across New Mexico, the United States, and around the world. Through its extensive collection of artifacts, interactive special exhibitions, and engaging educational programs, the Museum is a gateway to science, exploration, and discovery. The Museum is open year round and hosts many community-oriented special events, features unique art and architecture, and offers distinctive rental spaces for meetings, weddings and receptions, and other celebrations.

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