Encounter of the Strange Kind

Confession: I have been to the International UFO Museum & Research Center in Roswell, NM, not once but twice. I’m not a tinfoil hatter. I just love all kinds of shows: the good, the bad and the wacky. The museum is currently undergoing a makeover. I assume this is due in part to the new videos of unidentified objects that made it as far as Congress last year.

The exhibit illustrates the events that made the small desert town of Roswell a mecca for alien visitation conspiracy theorists. It also dabbles in the greatest hits of abductions, encounters, sightings past and present, crop circles, and UFOs in pop culture. A lecture hall shows the recent Navy videos of tictacs bolting through the sky.

The storytelling, in excellent, true conspiracy fashion, takes small snippets of mostly photographic “evidence” and “scientifically” extrapolates a larger story backed up by a timeline, comically uneventful excavations in the remote plains of New Mexico and expert commentary. It can be a bit tough to follow if you haven’t brushed up on your UFO trivia recently. But fret not, there are several large dioramas and models to help you visualize it.

The update is caught between the previous old school way of inundating you with “facts” and vague, stream of consciousness associations made popular by Fox New’s “whataboutism” and a somewhat lame attempt to be ironic about it. It feels like today’s curators can’t decide whether or not they believe. I wish they would. A little less polished professionalism would have been better in this case.

The truth is, much of what you see can be found on the internet. Often in more juicy detail, too. Sadly, you don’t need to go on a pilgrimage anymore to find your truth. But, you can still enjoy it here and revel in the recognition of your favorite factoid in one of the display cases.

And for those who might want to do a little theorizing of their own there’s always the research center. I wonder what’s in all the folders with the blue labels. 



The International UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell, New Mexico 


permanent exhibition