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City Unveils New Exhibit at the Sunport

Up, Up & Away shares the story of early to modern day ballooning, showcases rarely seen Balloon Museum collection items.

September 22, 2021 - Today, City leaders unveiled Up, Up & Away with the Balloon Museum, a large-scale exhibition located inside the Sunport. Up, Up, & Away explores ballooning with experimental hot air gondolas and other museum collection items that tell the story of early through modern day ballooning.  

"Hot air ballooning is synonymous with Albuquerque and is one of the special things that makes our city a bucket list destination," said Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael. "This exhibition inside our Sunport will greet travelers from around the world with a look into ballooning and its historical significance to our community."

Albuquerque is world-renowned for ballooning, and Up, Up & Away is an invitation to rekindle childlike wonder and sense that anything is possible. This exhibition spans the public areas of the Sunport, including both the second and third level Great Hall.

“Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to feature many one of a kind art exhibitions, and we couldn’t be happier to now be teaming up with the Balloon Museum for Up, Up & Away,” said Nyika Allen, Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque. “Ballooning is such an integral part of both Albuquerque’s history and the world of aviation, so what better place than the Sunport to display these historic pieces.”

With expansive exhibit areas, this is a rare opportunity to see large collection items, including the Good Beer Blimp, a Cessna airplane that was converted into a hot air airship designed, built, and flown by Sid Cutter in 1979. Also on display are several hot air balloon gondolas, including one featured in the Warner Bros. 1964 film The Great Race, and the Vote Toothpaste gondola from one of the first special shape commercial/product balloons. The exhibit also features the story of the very first balloon launch in Albuquerque by local saloon owner Park Van Tassel on July 4, 1882.

"The Balloon Museum brings to life the history, science, sport, art and sheer magic of lighter-than-air flight. Now we are bringing an extraordinary experience to the Sunport where travelers from around the world will engage with rarely seen ballooning items from our collection," said Nan Masland, Balloon Museum Manager.

This full exhibition is located in the public areas of the Sunport and is free and open to the public.