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Author Topic:   NM Museum of Space History: Director Chris Orwoll

Posts: 1190
From: Northwest Indiana
Registered: Jan 2002

posted 06-22-2012 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those who haven't seen the good news yet, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs announced yesterday that Chris Orwoll has been appointed the new Director of the New Mexico Museum of Space History.

Congratulations to Chris and his family for the new posting. Chris did a LOT of great work at the Kansas Cosmopshere, where he was formerly the President and CEO, and I'm looking forward to seeing great things from him and the museum in Alamogordo!

Looks like I've got a new space destination on my travel map...

New Mexico Arts Department of Cultural Affairs release

Christopher Orwoll Appointed as Executive Director of New Mexico Museum of Space History

Governor Susana Martinez has approved the appointment of a new director to lead the New Mexico Museum of Space History, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). DCA Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales announced the appointment of Christopher Orwoll, former President and CEO of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, as the new director of the museum in Alamogordo. Orwoll will assume his new post on June 25.

"Christopher Orwoll is a seasoned professional with outstanding experience to lead one of our state's most cherished and important cultural institutions," Secretary Gonzales said. "He brings a unique combination of top level museum management with a distinguished military record." Gonzales noted that Orwoll began his museum career after retiring as a Nuclear Submarine Officer for the U.S. Navy with 20 years of service.

As President and CEO of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Orwoll focused on expanding the role of the facility's restoration center, and the integration of more interactive exhibits. Collaborations with other organizations included design and installation of the Space Gallery at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon; presentation of the traveling exhibit "NASA: A Human Adventure," which opened in Stockholm; and the opening of two new galleries at the Cosmosphere: "Investigate Space: Our Universe," and "Investigate Space: The Astronaut Experience." "Investigate Space: Our Universe" was awarded the Mountain Plains Museum Association Leadership and Innovation Award in 2011. In addition, Orwoll was instrumental in creating "Living in Space," a live space science program that toured more than 300 schools across the country in 2011-2012.

"My family and I are extremely excited to be headed to Alamogordo and to the museum. The mission of the museum aligns perfectly with the phenomenal space history of the area and New Mexico as a whole," Orwoll said. "This is a unique opportunity to blend the cultural and scientific heritage of this region as the world begins the new age of commercial space exploration. The past, present and future of space is showcased in southern New Mexico. With all the training and research done at Holloman Air Force Base, the landing of STS-3 at White Sands Space Harbor, and now the future of spaceflight with Virgin Galactic, the Spaceship Company, and Spaceport America, what better hotbed to be in than New Mexico?"

Orwoll grew up in Downey, California, where the Apollo Command Module and space shuttle were built. "I have had a love of space since childhood," he said. He is a 1986 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and has a master's degree from the Air War College. Orwoll's final Naval posting was as the Professor of Naval Science and Commanding Officer of the Naval ROTC Unit at the University of Kansas.

Orwoll is married to his high school sweetheart. The couple have nine children, who according to Orwoll were "all born in different states or countries -- it kind of follows our time in the Navy!"

The state's premier science and technology museum began as the International Space Hall of Fame in 1976. It sits atop State Highway 2001 at the base of the Sacramento Mountains. The golden cube of the New Mexico Museum of Space History overlooks the Tularosa Basin, known as the "birthplace of space," and is host to more than 80,000 visitors each year.

Secretary Gonzales expressed gratitude and commendation to Mark Santiago, director of DCA's Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, who also served as interim director of the Space History Museum in recent months. Santiago was director of the Space History Museum from 2000 to 2006.

The Department of Cultural Affairs includes, the New Mexico Museum of Space History, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, and the New Mexico State Monuments division in Santa Fe; the Museum of Natural History & Science and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, both in Albuquerque; the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo; and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. The department also administers the Office of Archaeological Studies, New Mexico State Library, New Mexico Arts, the Historic Preservation Division and the Center for Museum Resources.

Leon Ford

Posts: 309
From: Shreveport, LA, United States
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-22-2012 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leon Ford   Click Here to Email Leon Ford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New Mexico is so lucky to get Chris!! Can't wait for my trip out there!!


Posts: 1043
From: Dallas
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 06-22-2012 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris is a class act and he will do great things in Alamogordo.

He better bring his sun tan lotion though, because it was only 110 degrees the last time I visited that museum!

Congrats, Chris!!!

Larry McGlynn

Posts: 1255
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 06-22-2012 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is great news!

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-22-2012 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The New Mexico Museum of Space History has itself a great new asset in Chris.

I look forward to seeing what activities and projects he begins at the museum, and of course, helping to support and promote them here on collectSPACE.


Posts: 3161
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-22-2012 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A wonderful guy, and wonderful news. Congratulations to Chris!

E2M Lem Man

Posts: 846
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 06-22-2012 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris is going to be a great asset to that great little museum. I donated some of my shuttle papers there around 12 years ago, as I fell in love with the place- V-2 wreckage and a Little Joe II in front of the cube! Way to go Chris!

Your pals at ALF in Downey!


Posts: 853
From: Danville, Ohio
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 06-22-2012 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations to Chris, and to the New Mexico Museum of Space History!


Posts: 916
From: Fort Mill, SC, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-22-2012 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool! Gotta get out there!


Posts: 231
From: Surrey, England
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 06-25-2012 03:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for leslie   Click Here to Email leslie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a major appointment and congratulations to Chris!!

Leslie Cantwell

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