PUBLISHED: 17:31 EST, 26 March 2012 | UPDATED: 19:13 EST, 26 March 2012
A Smithsonian-associated Las Vegas museum is touting an exhibit loaded with alleged UFO- and extraterrestrial-related items.
The National Atomic Testing Museum unveiled an exhibit titled Area 51: Myth or Reality, which presents historical records of the U.S. military site that has long been called the most secret place on Earth.
Located 80 miles north of Las Vegas, Area 51 was used by the military to test spy planes like the U2 and A-12 during the 1950s and 60s.
Now the exhibit examines the long-held belief that the military tested captured alien aircraft at the site as well as the remains of extraterrestrials that reportedly crashed outside of Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
‘The CIA declassified most of the records on Area 51 up through the late ’60s and early ’70s,’ Allan Palmer, the museum’s CEO and executive director, told The Huffington Post.
‘Now we know a lot more about it and can present some of the really true stories that happened out there,’ he added. ‘And we feel a bit of an obligation to tell the larger story about the public’s perception of Area 51, which runs right into aliens, UFOs and extraterrestrial time travel, and those kind of things.’
Conspiracy theorists have claimed for decades that the U.S. military used Area 51 to examine captured UFOs and extraterrestrials.
‘There had been bits and pieces in aviation publications about the possibility of something really weird flying around there, but nobody had done any serious reporting about it,’ journalist George Knapp of KLAS-TV, who in 1989 broke the story about alleged alien sightings at Area 51, told The Huffington Post.
The Las Vegas exhibit also examines artifacts from an incident commonly referred to as the Russian Roswell.
In 1986 an strange-looking sphere crashed into Mount Izvestkovaya in Dalnegorsk, Russia.
Several Russian scientists sampled debris from the crash site in the days following the incident.
Knapp, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, was the first American to travel to the Russian crash site, where he was given several samples of debris.
That debris is now part of the museum exhibit.
‘We’ve often heard the argument from the naysayers that there’s nothing to study, no evidence,’ said Knapp.
‘This famous case happened in Russia where scientists went to the scene of a very dramatic incident and collected samples, and they gave me some of them!’ he added.