New glimpses of history go on display

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—David Bailey, curator of history at Museum of the West, works with the ammunition belt in a new display featuring a Colt/Browning 1895 machine gun, the U.S. Army’s first machine gun.

Every corner in the Museum of the West has a new look with Saturday’s opening of the downtown Grand Junction museum for the 2013 season.

“Every time you walk around a corner, you’re going to see something different,” said David Bailey, curator of history.

The museum will unveil new exhibits each spring now, Bailey said.

Visitors are now greeted with a look at baseball as it was played in western Colorado before and just after the turn of the 20th century, hear the bully tones of Teddy Roosevelt gushing about an early machine gun and get an investigator’s-eye view of mysteries of the West.

They also can get a look at a display encapsulating the 120-year history of The Daily Sentinel.

The newest addition to the museum collection is a replica of a 4-pound Spanish naval cannon adapted for use in the West, where small artillery was used for firing not just cannonballs, but grapeshot, rocks and daisy-cutters.

Daisy-cutters of another variety — the baseballs batted across infield and outfield grass by turn-of-the-century players — make an appearance in an exhibit dedicated to the national pastime before the Junior College Baseball World Series.

“We had a lot of people ask about the history of baseball before JUCO,” Bailey said.

One exhibit on loan from Hillerich and Bradsby shows the steps in making a baseball bat.

Visitors also can get a close look at an early machine gun, the kind that provided cover for a certain future president’s charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.

George Crawford’s “safe,” a hiding place for valuables, also gets a display, as does a corner dedicated to the discoveries of the Western Investigations Team.

The Toothpick Air Force, a collection by Rob Elliott of miniature depictions of aircraft from the first biplanes to modern Stealth bombers, is on display in the aviation area of the museum.

Elliott is conducting classes to show young people how to build any plane that ever has flown using toothpick, glue and tissue paper, Bailey said.

The museum at 462 Ute Ave. opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday, then resumes its summer visitation hours on Wednesday. Those hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


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