Have you ever walked in somewhere and thought to yourself, “I don’t know how this place got started and I definitely don’t know how it’s still going”? Well, that’s exactly what I thought when we walked into the Space Murals Museum just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Driving down highway 70 you can spot the giant painted steel tank from a good distance away, however if we had not already had this roadside attraction on our radar, we wouldn’t have known it was open for business.
We were greeted by a nice woman reading a book and smoking a cigarette. She casually let us know we were free to roam and take as many photos as we like. There was no fee, just a donation box and a dusty gift shop. We of course headed straight for the outdoor rocket garden (where the murals are).
The whole place has a certain garage sale charm to it, and since I’m drawn to roadside attractions like a magnet my curiosity meter was on high.
We asked the woman working where all this stuff came from and she informed us that some items were Lou Gariano’s (the owner) personal collections and others were donated by enthusiasts or friends of the owner.
There were smiling astronauts, iconic spacecraft parts, dioramas and old photo copies staring at us from all directions. It’s like they have amassed the largest collection of NASA knick-knacks and spacey leftovers no one else wanted.
We had fun rifling through everything and I have to say that I admire the dedication and sense of patriotism that goes into it all. We left a few dollars in the donation box, hopped back in the RV and headed on down the road. I can’t say I would go out of my way to come back, but I would be curious to see if it survives and what else makes its way into the collection.
Have you been to the Space Murals Museum? Are you a roadside attraction junkie? Share your thoughts in the comments below!