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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2006

Kansas space museum to build exhibit for Oregon aviation center

September 23, 2006

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— The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center has been hired to design and build a gallery for an Oregon aviation museum that examines the history of space flight.

The $2.4 million project for the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore., will include a 35,000-square-foot gallery dedicated to space exploration. It is part of a 120,000-square-foot expansion scheduled to open in the summer of 2008.

Besides building the gallery, the Cosmosphere will loan dozens of artifacts from its storage holdings.

Jim Remar, senior vice president of the Cosmosphere, said the project is the largest the space center has undertaken, and twice as expensive as the contract it won to support the 1995 movie "Apollo 13."

The Evergreen Aviation Museum, about an hour south of Portland, is known for housing Howard Hughes' famous "Spruce Goose." The museum focuses on aviation history, and includes an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane and dozens of other military and commercial aircraft.

In 2005, the Cosmosphere created a full-scale replica of a Lunar Module and a drivable Lunar Rover for the museum. That relationship led to the current contract.

"The Cosmosphere is excited to be partnering with the Evergreen Aviation Museum once again on a significant project that will bring the dramatic and inspirational story of human spaceflight to their already world-class aviation museum," said Jeff Ollenburger, Cosmosphere vice president and chief executive officer.

Among the artifacts on long-term loan will be rocket engines, space suits, astronaut hardware and historic archives, Remar said.

At least a dozen people will work on the exhibit, build the displays, write the interpretive displays and assist in graphic development. The various pieces will ship to Oregon in about two years.

"We view this really as a partnership," Remar said. "We can help them develop their museum, and there's things they can potentially help us on in the future."

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