Museum curator Alicia Romero spoke with KRQE news about the research project about small independent businesses serving communities throughout New Mexico. We are seeking input from the public about their experience and memories of these small businesses which will help inform a future exhibit.
For more details and how to submit your own suggestion, check out this recent blogpost.
Were you the owner? Did your family run one for decades and decades? Did you work for one? Or did you just frequent a favorite shop around the corner?
The New Mexico History Museum is researching historic and modern small businesses to explore for a possible exhibition in the future.
New Mexico has many memorable and iconic establishments that would help to tell this story. In particular, we’d like to focus on sole-proprietor operations and family-owned businesses that sold goods or provided services to local communities in every part of the state.
(We’d like to avoid national chains and franchises.)
We’re looking for corner stores, tienditas, general stores, barber shops, moms & pops, cobblers, meat markets, bookstores, record stores, radio stores, repair shops, feed stores, trading posts, very small restaurants and cafes, tailors and seamstresses, laundries, bicycle shops, and so on, that were unique, characteristic, or served as anchors in their neighborhood or town.
Here’s a very simple form where you can add ideas from anywhere in the state.
When the railroad came to New Mexico in 1879, it brought thousands of job opportunities for local people from rural villages, reservations, and larger towns. In addition to the homegrown workforce, the railroad also brought immigrant Chinese, European, and Mexican laborers to our state. The workforce included women and people of color, immigrants and Native Americans, young and old.
Told through historic and contemporary images from the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives and the The Library of Congress, “Working on the Railroad” fosters appreciation for these people—the steel gangs and machinists, car cleaners and conductors—included in the story of how the railroad changed New Mexico. Along with the photographs, artifacts such as oversized machinist’s wrenches, early twentieth-century railroad lanterns, brass locks, and railroad tie dating nails help the visitor imagine what it was like working on the railroad.
“My parents were the grandchildren of the founders of Wagon Mound, New Mexico. My Chavez grandfather was brought as a child from Belen. My mother’s side were Roybals from the Jacona district. Again, her father was brought as a child to Wagon Mound. I was born in 1910, exactly nine months after they were married–to the day. There were ten children in all.”