International UFO Museum.
Lost-looking aliens stand beside their crashed space roadster inside the UFO Museum.

International UFO Museum

Field review by the editors.

Roswell, New Mexico

If you were an extraterrestrial visiting Earth, you'd want to stop at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, just to see how close Earthlings have come to figuring out What's Really Going On.

Skidding saucer model.
Skid-landed craft model. In the background: attentive visitors.

For terrestrial saucer enthusiasts, the UFO Museum is also a go-to destination, especially for those making a pilgrimage to the famous UFO town of Roswell. The museum has been open now for nearly 30 years. Not only does it feature displays about the thing that crashed nearby in 1947 -- the exact spot still off-limits to the public -- but about related topics as well: alien abductions, Area 51, flying saucer photographs, etc. A replica of an ancient Mayan sarcophagus lid from Mexico, which supposedly shows a man blasting off in a rocket ship, backdates the truth timeline to well before the it-was-just-a-weather-balloon era.

Visitors can study a diorama of the crashed Roswell space roadster, ponder a parachute test dummy similar to the one that the Air Force said was mistaken for a dead Roswell space alien, and contemplate a wall of saucer space art donated by true-believer tourists. A research library with over 55,000 documents tempts the serious-minded, while casual thrill-seekers ponder small models of possible Nazi flying saucers and an unsettling exhibit titled, "Alien Implants." The absence of actual UFO debris is forgivable, since that evidence is always mysteriously spirited away.

Every half-hour this saucer spins and puffs smoke.
Every half-hour this saucer spins and puffs smoke.

A wall of screaming local newspaper headlines from 1947 announce, "RAFF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch In Roswell Region" and "Army Says Has Disc" (followed by the inevitable, "It's A Weather Balloon"). Touch-screen monitors enhance the text-heavy exhibits that line the walls and suck visitors in for more reading than they'd probably expected to do in a flying saucer attraction.

An entire wall display is devoted to Roswell's portrayals in the media, and one of the museum's star attractions is a prop alien corpse dummy from the 1994 Showtime movie Roswell: The UFO Coverup, lying on a hospital gurney inside a glass-walled room. There's also a group of aliens from the reality TV series Making Monsters, standing beneath a 12-foot-wide flying saucer that lights up, spins, and puffs smoke every half-hour.

We were fortunate on an earlier visit to meet Walter G. Haut (1922-2005), one of the founders of the museum and the Army officer who wrote the first press release about the Roswell saucer crash -- which was immediately retracted. We asked him to pose with a model of the Roswell saucer that The Franklin Mint planned to mass produce in 2003. Apparently not many were made, because they've become nearly as hard to find as the saucer itself.

Alien autopsy.
Man-in-Black confiscates a tray of saucer shards in the autopsy room.

We asked Jim Hill, the museum's current director, what distinguishes the International UFO Museum -- aside from its alien subject matter -- from all the other history and cultural museums in New Mexico. "We get over 200,000 visitors a year," he said. "They can't even conceive of those numbers."

Also see: Roswell Alien Attraction Autopsy!

International UFO Museum

Address:
114 N. Main St., Roswell, NM
Directions:
Downtown, on the west side of Main St. just south of US Hwy 380.
Hours:
Daily 9-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
575-625-9495
Admission:
Adults $5.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

We Believe! MuralWe Believe! Mural, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.
Roswell Alien Attraction AutopsyRoswell Alien Attraction Autopsy, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.
Alien Zone: Area 51Alien Zone: Area 51, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Spaceport Roswell, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.

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