Officials break ground on Columbia museum - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Officials break ground on Columbia museum

Contributed photo Contributed photo
Astronaut Jerry Ross. Photo courtesy of ToledoChronicle.com. Astronaut Jerry Ross. Photo courtesy of ToledoChronicle.com.
Evelyn Husband Thompson, widow of Commander Rick Husband. Photo courtesy of ToledoChronicle.com. Evelyn Husband Thompson, widow of Commander Rick Husband. Photo courtesy of ToledoChronicle.com.
HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) -

HEMPHILL, TX (Press release) - The J.R. Huffman Public Library hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for the Patricia Huffman Smith Museum, Remembering Columbia, on July 6.  The formal ceremonies were held at the Hemphill High School Cafeteria located behind the J.R. Huffman Public Library.  Afterwards, family members of the crew of STS-107 assisted in the ground-breaking ceremony at the Museum Site.   

The museum is being made possible through the generous donations of Mr. Al Smith, in remembrance of his deceased wife, Patricia Huffman Smith.  Mr. & Mrs. Smith donated the funds to purchase the land and build the existing library, which was dedicated in remembrance of Mrs. Smith's father, Mr. J.R. Huffman, in 1994.

This museum will tell the story of space exploration from the first mission of the Columbia to its last mission, STS-107.  It will also reveal the efforts of local citizens during the recovery of Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-107 and its Crew.  An area will be dedicated to each crewmember that was lost in the tragedy, including the Texas Forest Service employee and the helicopter pilot who lost their lives during the recovery effort.  The families of the crew will contribute personal items belonging to their loved ones to be on permanent display.  This museum will house many items and artifacts from NASA and its contractors, the families of STS-107, as well as from other individuals. 

The museum will have two simulator interactive devices that emulate activities of the shuttle and orbiter.  The classroom for the digital learning center will provide an excellent opportunity for the advancement of education for people of all ages. 

Grand opening of the PATRICIA HUFFMAN SMITH MUSEUM Remembering Columbia is scheduled for February 1, 2011, which coincides with the 8th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia's disaster.

If you wish to contribute to the museum fund, donations can be sent to the Patricia Huffman Smith Museum, % J.R. Huffman Public Library, RR 4, Box 2140, Hemphill, Texas 75948.  Please designate your donation be applied to the museum fund.

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