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.
A 19th century measuring box known as a media fanega (or a half fanega). It is made of milled pine and enforced with metal strips, and has a leather handle. A fanega was an old Spanish unit of measurement usually used to measure grains. The measure varied from region to region in the Spanish-speaking Americas. This object is just one of approximately 16,000 objects in the history museum’s collections. These objects are not just used for exhibit, but are often used for research.
Recently, a scholar studying the different Spanish units of measurement requested dimensions of several of these measuring units. From these internal dimensions, he calculated this media fanega at 2,428.3 cubic inches. His research calculates that an official standard set by the 1852 New Mexico territorial legislature for the unit measurement of the media fanega was 2,476.25 cubic inches. Thus, he determined that of all the media fanegas in the museum’s collection from that time period, this media fanega was the closest to that official measurement.
The collections staff thanks all the scholars and researchers who continue to provide extended knowledge to our object records.