What's on View at the American Windpower Center & Museum?
The "Eclipse" is one of many historic windmills at the American Wind Power Center and Museum, located at 1701 Canyon Lake Drive in Lubbock, Texas. Photo courtesy American Wind Power Center
More than 100 historic windmills---some with wheels 25 feet in diameter---are displayed inside the large exhibit hall of the American Wind Power Center and Museum, sited on 28 acres in Lubbock, Texas. These windmills cover the entire history of the American water-pumping windmill, from the 1860s to current production. They have been carefully restored to their original colors, cast iron, and woodwork, and are conveniently placed for all visitors to study and enjoy. Outside there are more than 50 historic mills, including the Flowerdew Hundred Post Mill, which dates back to 17th-century, colonial Virginia. The impressive Vestas V47 Turbine generates the electricity for the museum, fully taking the historic scope of the museum from the 1600’s into the 21st century.
Complementing the many windmills is a large collection of photographs, drawings, and models in the Windmiller’s Art Gallery. The museum's holdings also include other rare windmill artifacts, such as the Elmerand Melvyn Miller Windmill Weight Collection and the 80 John exhibit, which illustrates the fortitude and foresight of the early Black Texas Ranchers. Three times per year, the center also hosts the Windsmith Academy, a comprehensive two-day curriculum that covers the basic tenets of wind power generation and offers students the opportunity to climb the center's 50-meter Vestas wind turbine tower.
Detail from Legacy of the Wind by LaGina Fairbetter. Photo courtesy American Wind Power Center
One of the most recent installations in the museum is LaGina Fairbetter's Legacy of the Wind, a two-wall mural depicting the history of the windmill in the U.S. As noted on ArtDaily.org, Fairbetter's mural "depicts the utilization of wind power in America from the 1700’s, when Dutch style windmills were built along the East Coast, to the present with wind turbines being erected across the United States. . . .The artist worked with the Museum’s Director, Coy Harris, to develop a comprehensive windmill story reflecting the relations of humans, the environment, and technology in using the wind to help do work. The variety of windmills painted in the mural were selected from the museum’s large collection of historic windmills. [The] painting is comprised of five merged rural, urban, and landscape scenes. Her panorama changes with time as the viewer sees the work from right to left."
Summer's not over quite yet. There are still two more weeks to take advantage of Blue Star Museums. Visit the Blue Star Museums web page to browse the list of more than 900 participating museums.