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  • Philadelphia CVB Spotlight LB 9-2018

New Mexico History Museum showcases state’s diverse cultures

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Docent tour, New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.

Photo: Kitty Leaken Docent tour, New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.

In downtown Santa Fe, the New Mexico History Museum stands at the center of a diverse campus dedicated to New Mexico history, education and research.

The 96,000-square-foot facility includes permanent and temporary exhibitions that span the history of indigenous people, Spanish colonization, the Mexican Period, and travel and commerce on the Santa Fe Trail through World War II to present-day New Mexico. Docent-led tours of the museum are available.

“The Land that Enchants Me So: Picturing Popular Songs of New Mexico” celebrates the era before radio and television with sheet music of popular songs about the State of New Mexico, dating from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries. The exhibition is currently open and will run through February 24, 2019.

The Palace of the Governors, the 400-year-old adobe building bordering the north block of the Santa Fe Plaza, is the museum’s most important artifact.

The portal, or porch, of the Palace of the Governors has long been a location where Native Americans and other New Mexicans have gathered to buy, sell and trade goods. The Native American Artisans Program, often called the “Portal Program,” continues that tradition.

New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.

Photo: Monica Meehan, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.

Since the Regents of the Museum of New Mexico reserved the portal for use by only New Mexico Native Americans, the artisans have lined the portal almost every day to sell sterling silver and beaded jewelry, pottery and other handcrafted wares. Every morning, Native American artists and craftspeople from around the state arrive at the palace and draw lots for the 68 spaces available on the portal. All participants are required to follow strict rules to ensure items are handmade by Native Americans using traditional materials.

The Press at the Palace of the Governors, the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives also are part of the museum campus.

For more information, call 505-476-5200 or visit nmhistorymuseum.org.

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