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Warren recognizes museum curator for exceptional service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dan Gage
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 90th Missile Wing took a moment to recognize the efforts of the base's museum curator Nov. 6 for her efforts with Fort D. A. Russell Days over the last 18 years.

Paula Taylor, 90th MW museum curator, was presented the Department of the Air Force's award for exemplary civilian service for her work in masterminding the creation of Fort D. A. Russell Days after the AF Thunderbirds aerial demonstration moved off base in 1994.

Over the course of 18 years Taylor has overseen the growth of Fort D. A. Russell Days from a few displays portraying the wing's mission to today's annual event, including reenactors depicting the various missions of the base dating back to the late 1800's.

"We decided we needed to show the heritage and connection between the base and the city of Cheyenne with Cheyenne Frontier Days," explained Taylor.

Taylor has a lifelong connection with the base and city as well, growing up on a family ranch in Carpenter, Wyo. which provided horses and cattle to Fort D. A. Russell in the 1880's.

"The Atlas missiles were put in the year before I was born," said Taylor. "We didn't actually have any missiles on our land. We were surrounded by them, so the missiles have been here my whole life."

Having an extensive background in the history of the west, Taylor says she really enjoys her work at Warren.

"I love interacting with the public," she said, "teaching people about the mission and history of the base is my favorite part of what I do here."

Over the last 21 years that Taylor has been working with the museum, she has helped educate between 20,000 and 24,000 people annually at the Warren ICBM and Heritage Museum, which will officially open in its new location in Bldg. 31 in late July 2013.

Over the last 18 years that Taylor has also been a part of educating more than 126,000 people on the bases history with Fort D. A. Russell Days, an event she says has become a part of her family's life as well.

"My family has been as involved with Fort D. A. Russell Days as the military has," she said. "My husband is my alternate and he and my son are both blacksmiths in the living history exhibit, my daughter also runs the registration tent and when I was recovering from surgery a few years ago they put the event together."

History and education are two things Taylor has worked tirelessly at, giving historical presentations since 1984, publishing her master's thesis, teaching history at Laramie County Community College and the University of Wyoming along with recently publishing a photo book on the history of F. E. Warren.

In addition to the award for exemplary civilian service she recently received, Taylor has earned the Historical Museum award two times under Air Force Space Command and more recently, two additional times with Air Force Global Strike Command.

"I enjoy bringing history alive for people," Taylor said with a smile. "I love seeing people's faces light up, especially when they may have not expected to find the topic quite so interesting."

While the Warren ICBM and Heritage Museum won't reopen until 2013, Warren members are invited to a Christmas open house Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"We'll have Santa here to take pictures with the children and historical crafts for them to do as well," Taylor said.

For more information on the Warren ICBM and Heritage Museum or Fort D. A. Russell Days, call 773-2980 or visit