1st Wednesday Lecture: Pueblo Sovereignty

In this talk, Rick Hendricks, ….and former New Mexico State Historian discusses the way in which Pueblo Indians have fought to preserve tribal sovereignty as it related to issues of land and water from the Spanish Colonial Period to the present day.

Case studies of five pueblos will be examined, four in New Mexico and one in Texas: Pojoaque, Nambe, Tesuque, Isleta, and Ysleta del Sur.

Rick Hendricks, is the New Mexico state records administrator. He is a former state historian and editor of the Vargas Project at the University of New Mexico. He has written extensively on the history of the American Southwest and Mexico. His most recent book, Pueblo Indian Sovereignty: Land and Water in New Mexico and Texas, was coauthored with Malcolm Ebright and published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2019.

Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friendsofhistorynm.org.

Visit the history museum at nmhistorymuseum.org

1st Weds Lecture – Home on the Range: From Ranches to Rockets

Leah F. Tookey, Curator of History at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, joins us for our May lecture.

At the turn of the 20th century, most of the arid land east of Las Cruces, New Mexico was ranch land. Cattle, sheep, and goat ranches filled the Tularosa Basin, the Oscuro Range, and the surrounding countryside. Most of these ranches were small privately owned pieces of land supplemented by large parcels of federal and state property which ranchers leased for grazing purposes. These self-sufficient ranchers had maintained their homes for up to fi[y years, but events taking place halfway around the world would change their lives.

This is the story of the ranchers who were forced off their beloved land and the military and defense industry that would turn it into a military complex.

Leah F. Tookey is the Curator of History at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She earned a Master’s degree in Agricultural History and Rural Studies from Iowa State University. Her job at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum involves research and writing for exhibits, maintaining the Museum’s library and archives, and too many other jobs to mention. Last year Tookey curated an exhibit called Home on the Range: From Ranches to Rockets, which she will discuss in this lecture.

Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friendsofhistorynm.org

1st Wednesday Lecture: Hoofbeats Through History

This month, Cynthia Culbertson joins us to share the unique history of the horse in New Mexico.

When we think of New Mexico history we sometimes forget that the humans in the narrative have often been dependent on their equine companions. The influence of New Mexico on the history of the horse in the Americas is both fascinating and profound. From the pre-historic ancestors of the horse found here millions of years ago, the first horse breeding and racing in the Americas, the introduction of the horse to Native Americans and the subsequent development of some of the greatest horse cultures in history, New Mexico is arguably the most significant state when it comes to the history of the horse in the U.S. A horse lover since birth, Cynthia Culbertson is proud to have served as a consultant for multiple museum exhibitions featuring horses. She served as co-curator of an exhibition at the International Museum of the Horse featuring artifacts from 27 museums around the world, including such prestigious institutions as the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also served as a consultant for the equine components of many other projects, including a UNESCO World Heritage museum. Cynthia is the author of several books on the subject of Arabian horses and is a regular contributor to international equine media. She has been a lecturer in more than ten countries and has scripted and narrated multiple educational videos, including a New York Times Vision Award recipient. Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friendsofhistorynm.org

1st Weds Lecture – Royal A. Prentice: Pioneering Archaeologist in Eastern New Mexico

Photographer and former Rough Rider, Royal A. Prentice, 1950? 
Neg. 006017. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum
Photographer and former Rough Rider, Royal A. Prentice was also an early volunteer who contributed valuable archeological information to the Museum of New Mexico.

The live presentation can be seen on YouTube and via Zoom.

Richard Ford, Allison Colborne, and Gary Hein have undertaken a study of Royal A. Prentice,  an early  volunteer who contributed valuable archaeological information to the Museum of New Mexico in the first three decades of the 20th century.  Although he published several useful research papers during those years in El Palaciothe quarterly magazine of the Museum of New Mexico, Prentice remains generally unknown today. The presentation will provide an overview of his life focusing on his archaeological research, stressing that the value of this work has earned him a well-deserved place in the history of New Mexico archaeology.  

Our speakers for this event are:

Richard I. Ford
 Arthur F. Thurnau, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Botany, 
 University of Michigan
Research Associate, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture 

Allison Colborne
Librarian, Laboratory of Anthropology
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Gary Hein
 Volunteer, Office of Archaeological Studies and Rock Art 
Rock Art Council Member, Archaeological Society of New Mexico

This is the latest in the Friends of History monthly lecture series and is presented in collaboration with the Friends of Archaeology.


Several of Royal A. Prentice’s photographs are currently on exhibit in our Working on the Railroad Exhibition which remains open until October of 2021.

You can also visit the exhibition from home via the Virtual Version .

You can view all of Prentice’s photographs in our digital collections portal.


Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friendsofhistorynm.org


Guided Virtual Tours Begin on Feb 10, 2021

In the interest of public health and safety due to Covid-19, in-person tours of the museum are not being offered at this time.   

Instead, docents are hosting custom virtual tours online   Each tour will last approximately 50 minutes and will be offered on the Zoom platform.   

Currently, tours are being scheduled to take place on: Wednesdays at 2 pm & Thursdays at 10 am Mountain Time

Visit our tour schedule to see the calendar of tours available and register to attend. 

Tours are free of charge, but registration is requested.   Upon registration, the online link to the selected tour will be sent by email along with instructions for joining the group. 

Upcoming 1st Weds Lecture, Feb 3, 2021

Colin G Colloway will be speaking on the impacts of the 1779 smallpox pandemic on Native American tribes throughout western North America.

Colin G. Calloway John Kimball Jr. 1943 Professor of History Professor of Native American Studies Dartmouth College.

The talk will trace the spread of the great smallpox epidemic that broke out in Mexico in 1779, traveled north to New Mexico, was transmitted from tribe to tribe across the American West, and reached eastern Canada by 1784. We will discuss its impact on Indian country and the multiple Native American communities it struck, and consider its significance for understanding the subsequent history of the United States.

Colin Calloway grew up in England and received his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds. In the US, he has worked at the Center for the History of the American Indian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and taught at the University of Wyoming and Dartmouth College. He has published more than a dozen books, including One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West Before Lewis and Clark, which won six best book awards, and most recently The Indian World of George Washington, which was a National Book Award finalist and won the George Washington Prize. He has been President of the American Society for Ethnohistory and received the Western History Association’s American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award.

Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friendsofhistorynm.org

1st Wednesday Lecture – Dave DeWitt: Chile Peppers: A Global History

Dave DeWitt joined us for January’s Friends of History 1st Wednesday Lecture to discuss how he earned the name “Pope of Peppers” and his new book that charts the spread of chile peppers throughout the world.

The Museum’s Friends of History group organizes a monthly lecture on New Mexico history by a historian, held on the the first Wednesday of each month. Informative/Promotional Text we are adding to FoH related online postings/Lecture descriptions: Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friendsofhistorynm.org