Mapping Out a New Curriculum


72-MieraYPacheco_MapGroups of New Mexico educators found their way to the New Mexico History Museum this summer for a free, one-day workshop focused on teaching with historic maps. Led by educators Dennis and Judy Reinhartz, with assistance from Patricia Hewitt of the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, the sessions drew from the museum’s extensive map collection. Attendees received extra insights on a number of maps through slideshow presentation, hands-on access to a few print maps, and a gallery walk-through with museum docents, who shared information on some of the maps with museum exhibits.

“They all have different reasons for coming here today,” Judy Reinhartz said. “Some are teachers, others are in the general field of education and some are rangers or tour guides.”

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Spanish Colonial Armor Gets a 21st-Century `Wow’

helmet2While preparing an upcoming exhibit, Virgin of Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas, the Houston Museum of Natural Science asked to borrow our morion helmet (left) and a breastplate. The 16th-century pieces were found in a cave in Grants’ El Malpais and given to the museum by then-Rep. Nick Salazar.

Why the interest? Both bear delicate etchings that include Christ on the cross and Our Lady with the Christ Child. But Houston, we had a problem: Both are on long-term display in Santa Fe Found: Fragments of Time, and we didn’t want our exhibition to suffer.

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Books on Books, Their Craft and Beauty

5x7_DSC_0206If you’re like most people, walking into the Palace Press causes a bit of bedazzlement. All those old presses, stacks of cases and walls lined with posters, broadsides and fliers. There’s so much eye candy that you might miss one of its best attributes: Its library.

“There were probably around 300 books when I started, and now there must be a thousand,” said Tom Leech, director of the Palace Press. “This collection was inherited from my predecessor, Pam Smith, but has easily doubled in the time I have been here. It’s an extensive collection on graphic arts and the history of the book, including papermaking and typesetting.”

The Palace Press library covers subjects like lettering, papermaking, and typesetting, and features examples of works done in the early days of printing.

“The purpose is to have a research and reference collection. It isn’t a lending library, but if someone wants to come in and peruse, it’s OK,” Leech said. “It seems like lately we’ve gotten donations with real frequency. Recently, 250 small-press pamphlet-type books were donated to us. We get donations simply because people thought the books belonged here. We also try to collect information on what is related to the incoming exhibitions, so we know what we can be producing.”

Leech also has a fascination with the history of printing. “By virtue of our interest in type, we have a book by Dard Hunter Jr., whose father was well-known for his books on papermaking. It has nice, simple explanations of casting type, how he carved and cast it by hand, and it is all printed on paper that was probably even made by his dad.”

Dard Hunter’s interest began in the early 1920s. Since then, there has been a renaissance of creating paper and using it in traditional presses, which feeds into the craft of printing and its significance today. Leech and fellow pressman James Bourland follow that example even today—often after consulting the books on their shelves.

“Simple books are really the most beautiful,” Leech said. “Sometimes the book is about a particular subject, and other times it’s the book itself that is the work of art.”



From Child’s Play to Honored Photographer

Rodeo, San Juan Pueblo, by Sam Adams, 1996-2005. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, Photo Legacy Project.

Rodeo, San Juan Pueblo, by Sam Adams, 1996-2005. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, Photo Legacy Project.

An ad aimed at kids may well have changed Sam Adams life. “When I was a little boy, we used to read comic books,” he said, “and at the back were a series of advertisements for all sorts of weird things, like whoopee cushions, magic kits, things that kids would enjoy getting their hands on. And one of those was for a Candid camera, which cost three or four dollars at that time.”

Adams bit and began snapping pics at age 9. Today, he’s a retired motion-picture and television literary agent who moved to Santa Fe in 1989 and turned his attention full-time to photography.

“In the beginning it wasn’t really about the photography, it was more about the equipment, and then it became more about the subjects as time went on.”

In 2005, he won the New Mexico Council on Photography’s Eliot Porter Award. His work has been exhibited at regional museums and, most recently, took over the Meem Community Room, where we’ll host a small reception for Photography of Sam Adams, from 5–7 pm on Friday, August 7.

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¡Que Viva! A New Day for the Palace


Workers are getting ready to apply new stucco, repair roofs, improve heating and cooling, change the landscaping and more at the Palace of the Governors, a 400-year-old National Treasure in the heart of historic Santa Fe. Begun in 1609–1610 as the seat of Spain’s North American colony, the Pueblo Revival building became the flagship of the state’s museum system in 1909. In recent years, it has drawn preservationists’ fears, most critically because of its 1970s cement stucco on the interior courtyard’s wall.

Now, thanks to a $400,000 infusion from the Department of Cultural Affairs and another $680,000 from the state Legislature’s recent session, that water-trapping stucco will be stripped off and replaced with a breathable lime plaster. Stucco around the rest of the building will be patched up, workers will install new roofs above the Palace gift shop and Meem Community Room, and the Palace’s capricious heating-and-cooling system will be tied into the New Mexico History Museum’s more reliable one.

Other repairs include replacing approximately 18 viga ends along the Palace Portal, fixing whatever damage is revealed when existing stucco is peeled off, and smoothing the rumpled brick sidewalks on the sides of the building to make them wheelchair-friendly. The $680,000 allocation will help pay for even more work at the New Mexico History Museum, including replacing doors that have settled poorly and, in some cases, contributed to a problem with rain leaks.

“We’re grateful to Governor Susana Martínez, state legislators, and Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales for seeing the importance of caring for the Palace. We pledge to be wise stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” said Andrew Wulf, director of the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors. “This building stands as a testament to the deep roots of Native, Spanish, Mexican and American life in the United States. We want it to show off its best attributes for years to come and ensure that guests from around the world are safe and comfortable.”

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Catch a Rising Star at the Young Natives Show

4-72-YAN_2014-2Want to get in on the ground floor of collecting from a future Native arts star? On July 4 and 5, the Young Native Artists Show & Sale returns to the Palace Courtyard, from 9 am to 4 pm. Children and grandchildren of artists who belong to the Native American Artisans Program will show off their latest works of art, learn a few tricks of the customer-service trade, and possibly launch a career.

Alvin Van Fleet knows. He was once of the kids selling in the twice-a-year shows. Now he makes silver and copper jewelry that he sells under the Palace Portal. He believes so strongly in this event that he’s helping to organize it even though he doesn’t have children of his own to participate in it.

“The children’s show helps the kids learn how to deal with money and how to continue the tradition their parents are continuing—beadwork, silverwork, pottery,” he said. “That’s how the next generation learns.”

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Get Out of Town: The State Historic Sites Want You

CoronadoKiva-Sandias_ByEricMaldonadoHow about making this mid-year resolution: I will visit all of the State Historic Sites this summer. Few experiences can both deepen and widen your understanding of New Mexico history better than trips to the seven sites, which encompass ancestral Native life, Spanish colonists, Territorial forts, and the rip-snortin’ legend of Billy the Kid.

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An Evening with William deBuys

4-Lecture_William deBuys_author photo_THE LAST UNICORNAward-winning author and conservationist William deBuys speaks on and signs copies of his latest book and joins us for a reception honoring the museum’s acquisition of his papers. The Fray Angélico Chávez History Library hosts this free event on Friday, June 19, 5:30–7:30 pm, in the museum auditorium, with light refreshments in the lobby.

In 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with beautiful long horns. It turned out to be a living species new to Western science—a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in 50 years. Rare then and rarer now, a live saola had never been glimpsed by Westerners in the wild whendeBuys and conservation biologist William Robichaud set off to search for the animal in the wilds of central Laos. They endured a punishing trek, whitewater rivers and mountainous terrain ribboned with snare lines set by armed poachers.

The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures (Little, Brown and Company, 2015) is deBuys’ look deep into one of the world’s most remote places. His journey becomes a quest for the essence of wildness in nature and an encounter with beauty.

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Camping Out in Cimarroncita


Almost anyone who spent part of a summer childhood at camp remembers it with sweet nostalgia—canoeing, shooting arrows, making crafts, and singing around a campfire. Such visions have filled our curatorial heads since November 2014, when Alán Huerta and Minnette Burges approached the museum to gauge our interest in acquiring the contents of their Cimarroncita Ranch Camp for Girls. The couple needed to clear out an archive documenting camp life from 1930–1995—not to mention a lifetime of memories.

“Anytime you acquire a large collection that’s tied to family history, there are opportunities to have many conversations,” said Meredith Davidson, curator of 19th– and 20th-century Southwest collections. “In this instance, the history of the summer camp extends to the 1930s, so there are several generations interpreting the camp’s daily activities and the people who went there.”

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The 1860s Will Never Be the Same

Hannah_SummerCamp2-72Update: We’re sad to say that we didn’t get enough campers to offer this event, but we’re regrouping and planning our next steps. Stay tuned for some pop-up family events pulled from the summer camp’s curriculum.

Original story: How can you engage your child with history while strengthening their literacy skills and letting them have a ball? Give them the gift of a weeklong trip to action-packed 1863 at the New Mexico History Museum’s summer camp, Time Trekkers. Children 9-11 will enjoy VIP access to the museum and get daily doses of hands-on learning—braiding horsehair bracelets, gathering a picnic lunch at the Santa Fe Farmers Market, practicing calligraphy, roping a calf dummy, hand-stitching their own book, playing old-time games and more. Make new friends, strengthen literacy skills, explore different kinds of artwork and learn how history connects the past to the present.

Time Trekkers takes place 10 am–4 pm, Monday–Friday, June 15–19. Cost is $125 (10 percent discount to children and grandchildren of Museum of New Mexico Foundation members). Space is limited. For info on how to register by June 1, contact René Harris at or Melanie LaBorwit at

Each day has a different focus—Historical Clothing, Traditional Foodways, Cartography and Calligraphy, Ranch Work and Civil War Life, and a Fantastic Field Day. Scheduled activities include:

  • Try on clothes from the 1860s and master the craft of horsehair braiding.
  • Take a field trip to the Santa Fe Farmers Market to gather fresh fruits and vegetables and help prepare old-style recipes.
  • Go behind-the-scenes at the museum’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and Photo Archives to check out fascinating maps.
  • Practice the art of writing with a quill.
  • Learn how to make a rope, then rope a cow. Be part of a bucket-brigade contest. Make adobe bricks.
  • Step inside the Palace Press to learn a simple bookbinding technique.
  • Play! Participate in historic games such as hoops, marbles, three-legged races and the game of graces.

Art projects are woven into daily activities, and all supplies are included in camp fee. A short playground/snack break is scheduled each day.