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    Fort Bliss, TX Museums

    The El Paso Museum of Archaeology contains many outdoor exhibits and 15 acres of nature trails through desert gardens where visitors can see firsthand many native species of flora and fauna. Dioramas replicate Native American cave dwellings and ancient pottery of many cultures in El Paso's history. The El Paso Museum of Art was founded in 1959 and is home to over 6,000 permanent works of art including a Samuel H. Kress 57-piece collection of European art from the 12th-18th century, early 19th to mid 20th century American art, Pre-Columbian and Mexican colonial art and many works by contemporary Southwest U.S. and Mexican artists. This is the only accredited art museum within 250 miles of El Paso and also offers a diverse array of educational programs such as art classes, films, and lectures. The El Paso Museum of History was established in 1974 as a Cavalry Museum but by 1980 it had expanded to include all local history of El Paso. In 2000 the citizens approved $65 million for a new museum building downtown and it opened officially in 2007. Now the 400 years of U.S.-Mexico border history has spread out over 44,000 square feet and a new exhibit, Las Villitas, was opened to share the history of El Paso's early neighborhoods. The Magoffin Homestead was the home of prominent El Paso family Joseph and Octavia Magoffin and their descendents for over 100 years. Joseph returned to Magoffinsville after serving in the Civil War and built the adobe-style home in 1875. Joseph was very involved in the local community; he brought the railroad to El Paso, served as mayor and county judge, and co-founded the State National Bank. Tours are available of the 19 room home, with 8 fireplaces, nonetheless, and visitors will learn about the history of the house and its family. The National Border Patrol Museum is the only museum dedicated solely to the history of the Border Patrol. It was established in 1979 by the Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Officers (FORBPO). In 1994 the museum moved to a bigger building in El Paso to better showcase its many exhibits such as Border Patrol weapons, helicopters and other vehicles, badges and uniforms, and a BP dog exhibit. The War Eagles Air Museum is located at the Dona Ana County Airport and features 64,000 square feet of World War II to Korean War aircraft and automobiles, some of which are still in flying condition. Visitors can see WWII aircraft like the P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning, and the German observer, the Fiesler-Storch. Jets from the 1950s on include the F-86 Sabre, T-33 Silver Star, and MIG-15s. There are over 40 types of historic automobiles, including an M-163 Vulcan and an old military fire truck. The Gene Roddenberry Planetarium was established in 1969 when the El Paso Public School System, Junior League of El Paso, and the National Science Foundation came together to construct a planetarium for the benefit of local children and visitors. In 2001, it was named after El Paso native Gene Roddenberry, former radio man on bombers during World War II and later the creator of Star Trek. In 2009, with a grant from the Department of Defense, the planetarium underwent major renovations and received the most up-to-date technology. The El Paso Holocaust Museum was established in 1984 by Holocaust survivor Henry Kellen in a small section of the Jewish Community Center. Even in such a small space and few personal artifacts, the exhibit was so popular that a local couple donated $250,000 for Kellen to build the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center in 1994. The museum continued to enjoy such success that fundraising dinners included notable guests such as Christopher Reeve, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and President Clinton. In 2001, an electrical fire destroyed the whole museum but the Board of Directors immediately raised money in the community and in 2008 a new $2.5 million dollar museum was opened downtown in El Paso's museum district where it stands today. This was the first Holocaust museum in the state of Texas and one of only 13 free-standing museums in the U.S.