The 2014 Brainpower & Brownbags Lecture Series … Part 1*

January 13th, 2014 by Kate Nelson

4-72-Brainpower_SanFranciscoDeAsisChurchHistory Museum conoscenti mark their calendars by our monthly Brainpower& Brownbags Lecture Series. Held at noon on weekdays, they’re a casual opportunity to hear from authors and historians on a mad variety of topics. The first half of the 2014 season has been scheduled, with the first lecture this Wednesday. (Details below.)

In all, the lectures range among pinhole photography, the Taos Mutiny of 1855, New Mexico’s Civil War slave code and more. Organized by Tomas Jaehn of the museum’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, the lectures are free and open to the public. And yes, you can bring a lunch.

Each lecture begins at noon in the Meem Community Room; enter through the museum’s Washington Avenue doors. Seating is limited. Do like those in the know do and mark your calendars. Read the rest of this entry »

Art and Engineering in the World of Benjamin Franklin

January 2nd, 2014 by Kate Nelson

4-72-Lecture_AndyBarron-1What do Benjamin Franklin, a beloved children’s author, a renowned Hollywood director and a Santa Fe paper engineer have in common? Find out at 1 pm on Sunday, January 19, when Andrew Baron talks about his restoration of an 18th-century Maillardet automaton. The mechanical device (at left with Baron) was a key inspiration for Brian Selznick’s Caldecott Award-winning book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which led, in turn, to Martin Scorsese’s 2011 Academy Award-winning movie, Hugo.

Baron’s lecture and a showing of the film are part of the annual commemoration of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday (January 17, 1706) by the Press at the Palace of the Governors. The event, in the History Museum auditorium, is free with admission; Sundays are free to NM residents.

Automata—mechanical marvels that mimic the movements of humans and animals—were all the rage in France during Franklin’s ambassadorship there. One can easily imagine the great inventor, writer, printer and statesman visiting exhibitions populated with mechanical acrobats, musicians, mice, caterpillars, and singing birds. Read the rest of this entry »

New Kids on the Block

December 30th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

newkids 010The New Mexico History Museum recently welcomed four new folks to the administrative team. As seen in the photo, they are, from left, Hannah Abelbeck, who works in the Photo Archives, digitizing and archiving images; Rita Garcia, who oversees front desk staff; Arlene Ann, who takes over Carla Ortiz’s administrator role; and Arcelia Pineda, who is is our go-to person for all things financial.

We asked them to answer a few questions to help us get to know them better. Read the rest of this entry »

Lowriders Hanging High

December 27th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

JackParsons-installation

Wander into the Palace of the Governors’ entrance and you’ll get a taste of the renovations being planned for our favorite National Historic Landmark. The front desk has been converted into a smaller, more appropriate size, clad in copper and topped with granite. On the walls, you’ll see a contemporary take on New Mexico’s Hispanic culture.

A few of Jack Parsons’ images of Northern New Mexico lowriders make up a temporary exhibition that also celebrates the Photo Legacy Project. As dreamed up by the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, the project collects the works of contemporary photographers. Parsons was an early and eager contributor.

The photos on display first appeared in the 2005 Museum of New Mexico Press book, Low ’n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico, by Parsons, Carmella Padilla and Juan Estevan Arellano. Through Parsons’ images, Padilla’s essays and Arellano’s slang-style dialogues, the book explored the lowrider lifestyle in ways that honored its dignity.

“The lobby area is the first step of a larger effort to freshen up the Palace’s rooms,” museum Director Frances Levine said. “Jack’s photos give it color and liveliness while underscoring the Palace’s 400-year-old tie to Spanish culture in the United States.”

Parsons, who lives in Santa Fe, won a 2006 Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievement in the Arts. His work can be seen in numerous books, including Dark Beauty and Santa Fe Style.

Las Posadas and Christmas at the Palace, a virtual journey

December 18th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

The weekend of December 13, 2013, saw the 29th annual version of our two most popular events, Christmas at the Palace, on Friday evening, and Las Posadas, on Sunday. More than 1,500 people turned out for each event, some eager for some quality time with Santa, som72-BoyWithSantae looking to help recreate Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn. The Palace Press let folks work one of the antique presses. Local groups provided live music, hot cider and cookies were abundant, and we even pulled out some kids’ crafts and a few pinatas.

Couldn’t come? Take a virtual visit here… Read the rest of this entry »

Yippie-Yi-Oy-Vey: Nice Jewish Cowboys and Cowgirls

October 4th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

4-72-Cowboys_JewishCowboys_007890Members of pioneering Jewish families, Bernard Seligman, Zadoc Staab and Lehman Spiegelberg became freighters on the Santa Fe Trail. Married to a Jewish merchant in Deming, Ella Klauber Wormser took what may be some of the earliest photographs documenting the transition from cattle drives to rail transport in the early 1890s.

In the second half of the 19th century, Jewish families began playing prominent roles in cattle ranching and sheep raising – roles that continue into 21st-century New Mexico. At 2 pm on Sunday, Oct. 27, the New Mexico History Museum joins with the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society and Temple Beth Shalom to present “Nice Jewish Cowboys and Cowgirls” in the History Museum auditorium. The event is free with admission; Sundays are free to NM residents.

Award-winning news: Before the event begins, Bethany Braley, executive director of National Day of the Cowboy, will present the museum with a 2013 Cowboy Keepers Award in recognition of its work documenting the life of cowboys in its main exhibit, Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now,and its latest exhibit, Cowboys Real and Imagined. (For more on the award, log onto http://nationaldayofthecowboy.com/wordpress/?p=1634.)

For “Nice Jewish Cowboys and Cowgirls,” Noel Pugach, professor emeritus of history at the University of New Mexico, will lead a panel discussion featuring members of the Gottlieb and Wertheim families, who will share their families’ stories and explain what “the cowboy way” means to them. Meredith Davidson, curator of 19th- and 20th-century Southwest collections, will present a selection of Wormser’s images also on view in Cowboys Real and Imagined.

The event is part of a layered programming schedule for the exhibit that explores the diverse cultural backgrounds and heritage of New Mexico’s cowboys and ranching traditions.

Through March 16, 2014, in the museum’s Herzstein Gallery, Cowboys Real and Imagined explores New Mexico’s cowboy legacy from its origin in the Spanish vaquero tradition through itinerant hired hands, outlaws, rodeo stars, cowboy singers, Tom Mix movies and more. Guest curated by B. Byron Price, director of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma, the exhibit grounds cowboy history in New Mexico through rare photographs, cowboy gear, movies and original works of art. It includes a bounty of artifacts including boots and spurs, ropes, movie posters, and the chuck wagon once used by cowboys on New Mexico’s legendary Bell Ranch.

Photo: Freighters on the Santa Fe Trail, Bernard Seligman, Zadoc Staab, Lehman Spiegelberg and Kiowa Indian scouts. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives 007890.

Read More Books: Stock up at the Chávez History Library Sale

September 10th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

Book_Sale03-4x3Time to buy more bookshelves.

The Fray Angélico Chávez History Library’s occasional book sale is back. Come to the Meem Community Room on the New Mexico History Museum’s Washington Avenue side between 9 am and 4 pm on Saturday, Sept. 21, to score bargains on books about Western Americana, political science, the nuclear age, a bit of fiction and a few coffee-table books.

The Photo Archives at the Palace of the Governors will also sell reprints from its collections.

Paperbacks will go for as low as 50 cents, hardbacks for $1-$2, with slightly higher prices for specialty books. Prints will sell for between $2 and $20. After 3 pm, anything that’s left will be sold at half price. Cash or checks only, please.

The books include duplicates of ones already in the library’s holdings, as well as volumes donated specifically for the sale. Proceeds will benefit the History Library and Photo Archives.

 

Tom Leech of the Palace Press Wins a Mayor’s Arts Award

September 9th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

PrintingThorpCover-72_3-2013

We already knew we had a winner in Tom Leech, curator, director of the Palace Press, marbled-paper artist, writer, and printer extraordinaire. Now all of Santa Fe knows he’s a winner, too.

On Oct. 10, Tom and other recipients of the 2013 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts will be honored at the Santa Fe Convention Center. We’ll have a table or two of our folks there to cheer him on (along with cheering on Charmay Allred, another recipient and a dear friend of the museum).

Join us in congratulating all of the fine people being recognized. From the city’s press release announcing the recipients:

Mayor David Coss and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission are proud to announce the recipients of the 2013 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Each of this year’s recipients have made outstanding contributions to the arts in Santa Fe, demonstrated artistic excellence and exceptional achievement, and embrace an ongoing commitment to the arts in Santa Fe. …

Tom Leech

Tom Leech is the Director of the Press at the Palace of the Governors, and has more than 35 years of experience in printing, paper-making, and related book-arts. A curator at the New Mexico History Museum since 2001, Leech has organized a number of successful exhibits, including The Saint John’s Bible, Jack Kerouac and the Writer’s Life, and Album Amicorum: Gems of Friendship in a Frightened World. With Pamela Smith, he directed the exhibit Lasting Impressions: the Private Presses of New Mexico. An advocate for the Book Arts, Leech has drawn appreciative audiences to events at the museum for lectures, readings, demonstrations and workshops featuring artists, poets, printers, scholars and musicians of national and international renown. At the Palace Press he regularly demonstrates printing and discusses its history and importance with school groups and visitors of all ages. Books and broadsides that he has printed include Jack Thorp’s Songs of the Cowboys, O’Keeffe Stories, and Word Art Poetry Portfolio. Additionally, Leech collaborates with Santa Fe’s Poets Laureate on fine limited editions. He is a member of the Santa Fe Book Arts Group and the Eldorado Art and Craft Association. …

Turquoise, turquoise, turquoise: The 8th Annual Palace Gem & Mineral Show

August 26th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

4-72-vert-GemShow_TurquoiseStringsFormed as water flows around rocks in sunny, desert lands, turquoise has come to symbolize both water and sky. From Cerrillos to China to the Middle East, the people who found it, mined it, polished it and wore it believed it empowered them with the promise of safety, health and plenty.

The lore of turquoise helps open the 8th Annual Palace Gem & Mineral Show, Sept. 27-29, in the Palace Courtyard. Join Museum of Indian Arts & Culture Curator Maxine McBrinn for a kickoff lecture on Friday, Sept. 27, at 6 pm, in the museum auditorium. “Turquoise, Water, Sky” focuses on the history of turquoise in the Southwest and its evolution as jewelry from prehistoric times to today. Even turquoise’s name spans several international time zones. French admirers dubbed it with their word for turkey stone, “because they believed the beautiful blue stones came from Turkey,” McBrinn said. (In fact, they came from Persia.)

McBrinn’s lecture offers tantalizing hints to an exhibition of the same name opening this spring at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Admission to the event is $5 at the door, and seating is limited. Cash or check only, please.

Friday through Sunday, the shady Palace Courtyard will play host to a variety of exhibitors offering geodes, fossils, opals, turquoise and more for sale. Entry is free through the Blue Gate south of the History Museum’s main entrance on Lincoln Avenue.

Some of the most knowledgeable miners and collectors in the Southwest will share important tips in casual al fresco lectures. Jewelry-making workshops will be offered each day for $20.

The schedule:

4-72-GemShow_SnailFosilFriday, September 27

9 am to 5:30 pm: Palace Gem & Mineral Show open in the Palace Courtyard.

6 pm: “Turquoise, Water, Sky.” Maxine McBrinn, curator of archaeology at the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, speaks in the History Museum Auditorium. $5 at the door.

McBrinn is currently developing Turquoise, Water, Sky, a spring 2014 exhibit about turquoise in the Southwest for the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. She has conducted archaeological field work in Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas, but primarily in New Mexico. She is the author, with Linda Cordell, of Archaeology in the Southwest, Third Edition (2012, Left Coast Press).

Saturday, September 28

9 am to 4 pm: Palace Gem & Mineral Show open in the Palace Courtyard.

10 am: Opal cutting and polishing demonstration by Sandy Craig. The owner of Orca Gems & Opals in Littleton, Colo., has been cutting and polishing the gems for over 20 years, along the way developing special methods for getting the most out of a given piece of rough opal. See how he turns what looks like a forgettable stone into a glittering jewel.

11:30 pm: “History of Fakery in Gemstones: Questions You Should Ask Before Buying,” by Garrick Beck. The owner of Natural Stones in Santa Fe will give a talk about the history of pulling the wool over consumers’ eyes with stones that have been dyed, synthesized, stabilized and enhanced, and teaches you four things to ask before buying gemstones.

1 pm: “Copper Mining in New Mexico,” by Gregory Jaekel. The co-owner of Star Mountain Trading Company in Silver City talks about the history of copper mines and their byproducts, turquoise.

2 pm: Jewelry-making workshop with April Redbird. Learn the art of gem and wire wrapping to create your own pair of earrings from the co-owner of Star Mountain Trading Company. Reserve a space by calling 505-476-5156. Class fee of $20 payable at the event, cash or check only. (Please make checks payable to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.)

4-72-GemShow_FishFossil2Sunday September 29

9 am to 4 pm: Palace Gem & Mineral Show open in the Palace Courtyard.

10 am: Opal cutting and polishing demonstration by Sandy Craig. The owner of Orca Gems & Opals in Littleton, Colo., has been cutting and polishing the gems for over 20 years, along the way developing special methods for getting the most out of a given piece of rough opal. See how he turns what looks like a forgettable stone into a glittering jewel.

Noon: “History of Fakery in Gemstones: Questions You Should Ask Before Buying,” by Garrick Beck. The owner of Natural Stones in Santa Fe will give a talk about the history of pulling the wool over consumers’ eyes with stones that have been dyed, synthesized, stabilized and enhanced, and teaches you four things to ask before buying gemstones.

2 pm: Jewelry-making workshop with April Redbird. Learn the art of gem and wire wrapping to create your own pair of earrings from the co-owner of Star Mountain Trading Company. Reserve a space by calling 505-476-5156. Class fee of $20 payable at the event, cash or check only. (Please make checks payable to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.)

Lila with crystal 5x3 72Exhibitors include:

Garrick Beck, Natural Stones, Santa Fe

Philip and Eleanor Bové, Roadrunner Mining and Minerals, Santa Fe

Sandy Craig, Orca Gems & Opals, Littleton, Colorado

April Redbird and Gregory Jaekel, Star Mountain Trading Co., Silver City

Richard Kocurek, Bright Star Gemstones, Crested Butte, Colorado

John Scully, Scully’s Minerals, Fairview, New Mexico

Greg and Carolyn Tunnicliff, Phantom, Colorado

Rosoarinoro Marie Bernadette, Madagascar Import Seam Inc., Tucson

Rory Palmore, Silver Stone, Gallup

Mike Pierce and Jayne Aubele, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque

 

Collections Textiles Are Safe at Home

August 8th, 2013 by Kate Nelson

RollingUp_72-7x5The New Mexico History Museum’s assistant collections manager, Pennie McBride, recently hit a major milestone, successfully rehousing the final object in the History Museum’s clothing, accessories and textile collection. It marked the end of a five-year effort that represented one of the primary reasons we needed to build a 92,000-square-foot museum: We needed a better place to store all our stuff.

McBride saved the biggest for last, pulling in collections and other staffers to help her unfold a 19×27’ 48-star U.S. flag and then carefully, with archival precision, re-roll it onto a custom-ordered 20’ tube. (To find one that large, she had to go to a construction-materials firm and adapt something usually used for creating concrete pillars.)

In 2005, an Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the museum a $140,000 grant to rehouse the 3,406 items in the textiles collection – a group that ranges from wedding dresses to purses to rugs. The grant lasted until 2009, though work continued into this summer. The grant helped hire a textile conservator and train staff, volunteers and interns how to handle, treat and rehouse the objects.

First, the items had to be moved from the old Armory Building to the Halpin Building and then, in 2009, to the new museum. How big of a job was that? We’re talking along the lines of 296 shoes, 275 hats, 20 parasols, 47 floor coverings, 153 pieces of underwear, 67 fans, 27 art samplers, 32 U.S. flags of various starriness and more.

With the volunteers, McBride created padded hangers, cut and pieced together boxes, built mounts for hats and fans, stuffed shoes and boots, and entered every item’s details into a new database—all of it a build-up to one giant flag.

“Everything went according to plan,” McBride said. “We could have opened that flag and found an infestation or a tear, but it went very smoothly.”

Next up: Photographing all 3,406 pieces. But first, a moment of relief.

“It’s a good feeling,” McBride said. “With 10 volunteers, interns and a textiles conservator, it was a real team. For the last piece to be the largest one in the collection, that was great.”

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