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Tuesday January 7th, 2014

Museum of Space History Exhibit Featured in Governor’s Gallery

Museum of Space History Exhibit Featured in Governor's Gallery

Leslie Cantwell Collection Dubbed the Most Important of Its Kind

(Alamogordo, New Mexico) - Considered by space industry experts to be the largest and most important space related photographic collection of its kind in the world, the Leslie Cantwell Collection began as one photograph given to Cantwell by moonwalker James Irwin in 1981 who inscribed the photo, “with love from the moon”. Now, more than three decades later, Leslie Cantwell has amassed an incredibly large number of signed and inscribed photos from the Apollo era. Cantwell has recently loaned a selection of those photos to the New Mexico Museum of Space History and many of those are now temporarily on display in the Governor’s Gallery at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe as part of an exhibit called Reflections: Images of Apollo.

More than three dozen pieces from Cantwell’s collection were chosen for Reflections: Images of Apollo specifically because of their tie to New Mexico astronauts and the state’s moonwalkers, Harrison “Jack” Schmitt of Santa Rita and Edgar Mitchell of Artesia. In addition to the photographs, the Museum is also displaying several artifacts related to the different lunar missions including items that actually went to the moon, like food from Apollo 8 and an American flag that flew on board Apollo 12.

According to Museum Executive Director Chris Orwoll, the Leslie Cantwell Collection is more than just a compilation of photographs. “Leslie’s quest has resulted in one of the most unique exhibits I have ever seen. Not only does each photo depict an historic moment in Apollo history, but the inscriptions bring that instant to life. Some are inscribed with poetry or quotes from Kipling or Dante, others with words spoken at the moment, and each bring a profound understanding and insight into the minds of the men and women who made that epic adventure a reality.”

Each image has been enlarged from the original NASA prints to beautiful large format 16x20 photos, and each was handpicked by Cantwell. As if the beauty of the photo was not enough, Cantwell painstakingly searched through classic literature and quotes from the astronauts themselves for just the right words to create an emotional link between the words and the images for the audience.

“The impressive photographs include the explorations of Frank Borman, Buzz Aldrin, Walt Cunningham, Charlie Duke, Dave Scott, Al Worden, Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, John Young, Gene Cernan, Neil Armstrong and, of course, the two New Mexicans who walked on the Moon; Edgar Mitchell and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt,” said Orwoll. “This collection also celebrates the astronauts who all trained for their lunar landings here in the State of New Mexico, as well as the amazing spacecraft they flew . . . much of which was also designed and tested here in the Land of Enchantment.”

Reflections: Images of Apollo will be on display in the Governor’s Gallery through mid-March 2014, when it will return to the New Mexico Museum of Space History for display.

The Governor’s Gallery is an outreach facility of the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Department of Cultural Affairs. Clara Apodaca, former First Lady of New Mexico (1975-1978), founded the gallery in 1975. The Governor's Gallery presents exhibitions throughout the year, including the annual Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts. It is located on the 4th floor of the State Capitol at the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta in Santa Fe, NM. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and admission is free. For more information call 505-476-5072 or visit

The New Mexico Museum of Space History is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575-437-2840 or toll free 1-877-333-6589 or visit the website at