SPACE AGE MUSEUM WAS FOUNDED BY JOHN, VERONICA AND PETER KLEEMAN.
Countdown for Space Age Museum began for the Kleeman family on January 4, 1984 without our realizing it. On that day - Peter’s fourth birthday – John gave Peter an 8-foot X-Wing Fighter which he had constructed out of plywood and odd pieces. Its wings raised with the pull of a rope, its pilot’s seat was fashioned from John’s law office chair, its laser gunsight resembled an antique gas stove grate. On September 10, 1988 we had Lift-Off. Peter and John purchased a 1936 Wyandotte raygun at a flea market. This acquisition was followed by a Buck Rogers windup rocketship, a life-size department store robot and a rocket amusement ride fabricated from a World War II aircraft fuel tank. An old hay barn was transformed into a hangar for rockets and flying saucers.
Space Age Museum was our field of dreams. We affirmed the family adventure each year through a progression of space-themed holiday cards.
Our focus was spaceflight as reflected in the imagination – of children and adults, artists, writers, designers and architects. We pursued their visions as expressed in fanciful space toys, illustrations of imagined futures, spaceship amusement rides, modernist furniture, architectural renderings of Flying Saucer restaurants, and roadside sculpture of visitors from other worlds. We did it on a budget. Our hunting grounds included flea markets and scrap yards. We realized that much of what we treasured others considered junk. Encouraged by friends we kept going, and as we went, new understandings of the Space Age emerged from a growing assortment of cultural artifacts. As the geographical features of a planet are clarified by satellite photography, an overview of the Space Age materialized as the cultural mosaic grew.
We have a passion for objects and images that reflect people’s fascination with outer space. We enjoy learning how ordinary folks at the dawn of the Space Age strove to participate in humanity’s journey to the stars. For us, the story of how Americans and others around the world personally engaged in the adventure of space exploration embodies the true meaning of the Space Age.