Jeanna Gienke of Opuntia Cafe is our Creative Mornings speaker for December. This month’s topic is Biophilia and Jeanne will be talking about principles of biophilic design and how they’ve been used to create the atmosphere of Opuntia Cafe.
Zozobra, a.k.a. Old Man Gloom, was first created by Santa Fe artist, Will Shuster, in 1924. The first public burning of Zozobra was held in a vacant lot behind the Santa Fe City Hall in Sept 3, 1926. Each year in early September, Old Man Gloom is burned to rid us of anguish, anxiety, and gloom, while commemorating the start of the Santa Fe Fiestas. Shuster’s creation first appeared in his backyard as a six-foot puppet. Over the years, Zozobra has grown to a monstrous fifty-foot high marionette.
Upon the reopening of the New Mexico History Museum, you can view the model of Zozobra on display in the exhibition “Looking Back.”
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, this year’s burning of Zozobra will be a no-crowd event held this evening at 8pm MDT. You can watch the burning on your television or go online at KOAT Channel 7, and at www.KOAT.com.
Recently, the Museum Foundation of New Mexico hosted a talk (below) by New Mexico Museum of Art curator Christian Waguespack on the origin of the Zozobra festivities and its link to similar observances in various communities and cultures.
Kunitaro Takeuchi (1887–1972) was a Japanese native who migrated to Hawai’i in his early twenties, right around the turn of the century where he married his wife Hana, had a family, and worked as a photographer. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, signed on 19 February 1942, authorized the apprehension and incarceration of people believed to be conspirators and sympathizers to the Axis powers during World War II. This order primarily targeted people of Japanese, Italian, and German descent, many of them being US citizens. In May 1942, the Takeuchi family was forced out of Hawai’i as “Group 3” of Nisei and Issei (first- and second-generation Japanese Americans) identified for holding at internment camps. Kunitaro Takeuchi, then in his mid-fifties, was imprisoned at the Santa Fe Internment Camp for the duration of the war. The 80-acre Department of Justice camp, where St. Francis Drive and West Alameda Street are now located, held 4555 men and operated from 1942-1946, nearly a year after the war was over.
There, Kunitaro Takeuchi carved these pieces, among many others, and collected cigar boxes full of rocks from the camp area. He received many rocks as gifts from others at the camp as well. The New Mexico History Museum is honored to care for these pieces of history that remind us about the sacrifices Japanese Americans made during this period of unjust persecution in our national history.
Here is a June 2019 article about the Japanese Internment camps in New Mexico from Pasatiempo.
Did you take a spin through The Threads of Memory: Spain and the United States (El Hilo de la Memoria: España y los Estados Unidos)? If so, we could use your help.
With a little help from Survey Monkey, we’ve devised eight short questions that will help guide us in future exhibits and satisfy some requirements for grants and the like.
It’s fast. It’s easy. And it’s a way of doing your part for a museum we know you love. Click here to get started – and thank you from everyone who toiled away on the exhibit.
From Pappas Sweet Shop in Raton to Sparky’s in Hatch, the Bibo Bar in Cibola County to Sugar’s BBQ and Hamburgers in Dixon, New Mexico eateries have weathered tough times to tempt the palates of generations. At 2 pm on Sunday, Feb. 13, culinary explorer Cheryl Alters Jamison shares her on-the-road discoveries of places that helped define the tastiest part of our state’s heritage.
“Still Cooking: New Mexico’s Historic Diners, Chile Joints, and Burger Bars” is free with admission (Sundays free to NM residents). To jump-start your own gastro-adventure, we’ll share some special deals from some of the state’s longest-serving restaurants. Hit the highway or walk down the street to enjoy New Mexico’s home-style cooking and partake of our historic traditions.
During her 30 years in New Mexico, Jamison has eaten from border to border – while taking careful notes. She helped develop and continues to work on the New Mexico Tourism Department’s culinary trails initiatives (the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail and the Culinary Adventures Trail). With her husband, Bill, she’s a four-time James Beard award-winning author who has written numerous books on food and travel, including the upcoming Tasting New Mexico: 100 Years of New Mexican Cooking (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2012). Jamison teaches at the Santa Fe School of Cooking and appears as a guest instructor nationally and in France’s Dordogne region. She can discuss the finer points of smoking a turkey with Bobby Flay, show Matt Lauer how to make French toast, or argue with anyone about why New Mexican food ranks supreme among regional cooking styles.
Throughout the state’s history, New Mexicans have nurtured a love affair with their restaurants. Jamison will pull on heartstrings like the Taco Boxes in Portales and Clovis and reveal which Las Cruces restaurant is famous for its steak fingers and chicken-fried steak (served with green chile, of course). Do you know how Maria’s in Santa Fe got its start? Do you know where in Albuquerque can you get a green chile cheeseburger with egg fu yung? What differentiates New Mexico cooking styles in the north and south? Come to the lecture to find out.
Some 20 years ago, when Cheryl and Bill Jamison were writing travel guides, they took on a project that became The Rancho De Chimayó Cookbook. Turning their attention to the serious side of barbecue and grilling, they wrote The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining, Born to Grill, and the landmark Smoke & Spice, which has sold close to 1 million copies. The Jamisons also have played a leading role in the revival of good, robust American cooking with American Home Cooking, A Real American Breakfast, and The Border Cookbook. To write Around the World in 80 Dinners: The Ultimate Culinary Adventure, the couple cashed in 440,000 frequent-flyer miles and spent three months traveling the globe in search of great food.
Jamison works as culinary consultant with the New Mexico Tourism Department and the New Mexico History Museum. She also consults on outdoor kitchen design with interior designer Barbara Templeman, through their business insideOUTsantafe. She is a board member of Cooking with Kids, one of the country’s first programs that addressed getting good food into our schools, and was a recipient of the University of Illinois’s alumni achievement award in 2007. Bill Jamison is retired from saving the world and keeps their lives in order from their home in Tesuque.
They were young then, boys, really. Serving aboard what was then the most technologically advanced battleship in the US fleet, they saw some of the worst of World War II – and were there for the final surrender of Japan.
On Sunday, Jan. 23, the New Mexico History Museum paid tribute to “the Queen of the Fleet,” and to the men (and, soon, women) who serve on the new USS New Mexico, now fittingly the Navy’s most technologically advanced nuclear submarine.
With the opening of A Noble Legacy: The USS New Mexico, 270-some people came to the museum to view the lobby-area installation and hear from dignitaries – among them, George Perez, commander of the submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779).
It was a day when the most honored people in the house were men in blue caps. Some of them were balding, some were gray and some were young(ish). Military bearing was the order of the day, and the phrase, “Thank you for your service,” was heard again and again.
Ret. Chief Warrant Officer George Smith, who served on the USS New Mexico (BB 40) battleship in World War II, traveled from his home near Philadelphia to speak during the opening ceremony. He recounted with humor his efforts to become a submarine man and choked up not only himself but everyone in the auditorium with how closely he came to joining the many men who lost their lives in World War II.
“My tenure on the New Mexico was one of the finest tours I had in the Navy,” he said. “That was the white-hat Navy. When they went ashore they were neat and clean, and they weren’t in the Zumwalt uniform.”
(In the 1970s, then-Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt attempted to encourage more enlistments by ditching the WW2-era Navy blues for a more casual look. Met with derision, it lasted only five years. Author Paul Fussell writes of the switch here.)
“There were no baseball caps worn with the bill in the back,” Smith said. “That didn’t happen. The New Mexico was a clean ship. If you were one minute late coming back from liberty, you stayed aboard for two weeks. They knew what the rules were and they followed it. I’m proud to have served two years on that ship.”
The audience gave Smith a standing ovation and, after the event, clustered around him for autographs on posters of the submarine.
Cmdr. Perez, his bearing both dignified and genial, regaled the audience with details of his new ship, which is running through trials now and will join the Navy fleet in late 2012.
“She is the most powerful warship ever built in the history of the US Navy, probably second only to the BB 40 – which isn’t bad,” he said to laughter.
“We are New Mexico,” he said. “If you descended on that warship today, you would know. We are constantly working to continue to build that relationship. We prefer to have the Land of Enchantment anywhere we can get the pieces inside.”
That includes Southwestern-themed curtains that close across the crewmates’ bunks, provided to the ship by members of the Navy League Council of New Mexico, the group that lobbied for five years to have the sub named for the state.
Clearly proud of his ship, Cmdr. Perez delivered a tantalizing offer to those at the event: “Everyone here has an opportunity to get on board. Just show up and show me a New Mexico driver’s license, and you’ll get on board.”
But then, he noted, it is currently at home port in Groton, Ct., where “there’s about three or four feet of snow on the ground, so this isn’t the time to do it.”
As for bringing it to our high-desert state, Perez noted, “There’s no port to pull into here. I did get offered a Lexus if I could navigate up the Rio Grande.”
(As a consolation prize to the Lexus, museum Director Dr. Frances Levine presented Cmdr. Perez and Chief of Board Eric Murphy with copies of the book Telling New Mexico: A New History and jars of History Museum red-chile sauce, prepared by the legendary Shed restaurant in Santa Fe.)
Perez and Murphy stayed after the event to speak with visitors, and Perez was clearly charmed by one particular aspect of the installation. Facing walls of a hallway are bedecked with silhouettes of the two ships at 1/20th scale. The exhibition’s graphics designer, Natalie Baca, added a last-minute detail to the SSN 779 silhouette: An image of Perez himself taken from a photograph she found on the internet and placed on the submarine to show its scale relative to people. Perez and Murphy proudly posed next to it for family photographs snapped by their wives.
A highlight of the installation is a scale model of BB 40 begun 30 years ago by Navy veteran and Albuquerque resident Cecil Whitson. Fellow Navy veteran Keith Liotta and the Albuquerque Scale Modelers Club added final touches after an illness stopped Whitson’s work, and all day, families with children, Navy veterans and model-building aficionados clustered around it, admiring the intricacy of Whitson’s work. Some of the most enthusiastic applause at the opening ceremony was when Levine asked the audience to extend its “collective gratitude” to Whitson.
The early plan for the installation included one of BB 40’s helms, now ensconced at the University of New Mexico and at the Montoya Building in Santa Fe. “But they’re built into the fabric of the buildings,” Levine said, “and demolition wasn’t in our budget.”
What is included are archival and contemporary photographs of both ships and a video produced by KNME, USS New Mexico BB40: The Drinan Diary. You can catch it by clicking on the link, but the experience of seeing it on the auditorium’s big screen provided the emotional highlight of the day.
“What museums do matters,” Levine told attendees. “We give voice to people who lived in different centuries in times of peace, in times of war.”
On Sunday, we also put faces to those stories and were honored to be a place where Navy men and women could make new connections with one another. As a gift to those who continue to serve aboard USS New Mexico, we’ll close this post with a collection of photos to let them virtually attend the event. We wish them calm waters and extend an offer of our own: If you’re ever in Santa Fe, we’ll meet you at The Shed.
History Museum staffers morphed into Santa’s elves this week to doll up the 400-year-old Palace of the Governors for this Friday’s Christmas at the Palace event. (That’s Collection Manager and Registrar Wanda Edwards and NEH Project Manager Patrick Cruz workin’ the lights on a tree, at left; and their coworker, Assistant Collection Manager Pennie McBride, at right.)
Over its 26 years as an annual event, Christmas at the Palace has become a community favorite in Santa Fe and, for many families, the true kick-off to the holiday season. The event begins with Native drummers beneath the Palace Portal, offering a welcome-to-the-Palace prayer. People gather to listen (and sometimes shiver as the snow falls) while awaiting the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their clutch of real elves. Then everyone enters the Palace (no admission fees tonight!) to wander the exhibits, listen to local performers, sample bizcochitos and hot cider, and take a turn on Santa’s knee.
On Monday, workers pulled hay bales into the Palace Courtyard in preparation for Santa’s arrival. Garlands were hung over Palace doorways, trees were decorated, and more than a few trips up and down rather tall ladders were required.
One of the favorite parts of the holiday decor is what Palace volunteers and staff think of as “Dee Johnson’s tree.” Before her untimely death, the former first lady of New Mexico gave the museum a collection of tree ornaments hand-crafted by New Mexico artisans.
“It always makes us think of her when we see them,” said Museum Director Frances Levine. “Because she was so kind to the Museum staff — and so kind to donate these ornaments.”
Made of clay, tin, wood and fabric, they include Mimbres designs, Indian pots, bells, Zia symbols, stars and and more. In perhaps a nod to former Gov. Gary Johnson, a flying pig is included. (During particularly testy negotiations with the Democratic Legislature, the Republican governor once opened a news conference by playing with a remote-controlled flying-pig toy, as if to say, “When pigs fly…”)
Dee Johnson’s tree is in what we call “The Green Room” — the room to the east of the Palace’s main entrance where the architectural history of the building is detailed.
Other trees in the Palace include lovely Victorian ornaments, parrots and doves, reindeer, and a cathedral or two.
Bundle up the family and head to the Palace after work this Friday. The doors open at 5:30, but you can start gathering and enjoying your neighbors before then. Performers range from talented children to inspiring adults, including:
5:30-6 pm: Epik Artists of the Santa Fe Concert Association; music by Bach and Gounod. (The Epik Trio: Eric Illick and Sarah Rogowski, violins; Shelley Armer, viola. The Epik Chorus: Genevieve Davis, Alex Viszolay, Zoe Unverwerth, Faye Mathey, Sarah Luiz; Ezra Shcolnick, violin; Shelley Armer, viola; Logan Luiz and Eric Illick, soloists.)
5:30-6:30 pm: Coro de Agua Fria. Traditional Christmas carols in Spanish in the Palace Courtyard.
5:30-6:30 pm: Santa Fe Talent Education Suzuki Music Center. Classical and Christmas music by youth violinists and violists. (Uttam Khalsa, Auleeyah Archuleta, Bacilio Benelalija, Naya Anllo-Valdo, Madelyn Kingston, Sarah Sze, Julia Baca, Lila Baca, Ellie Bobchak. Margaret Carpenter, teacher.)
6:40-7:30 pm: The Eclectics. A cappella carols, medieval to modern. (Meg Acton, Laura Cowan and Scott Geister.)
6:40-7:30 pm: Schola Cantorum. Santa Fe’s sacred music ensemble.
On Tuesday, New Mexicans elected the nation’s first Hispanic woman governor. Regardless of your personal political leanings, that’s a historical milepost and, given that we’re in the business of celebrating our history, we’re taking the opportunity to remember another Hispanic who made history as governor of New Mexico.
Donaciano Vigil was the first native New Mexican Hispanic to serve as New Mexico governor after Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny raised the American flag over the Palace of the Governors. According to the State Historian’s web site: “(H)e was undoubtedly the most important native Hispanic leader in the transition of the Territory from Mexican to American government. His decision to support the American annexation of the New Mexico territory and join the new American sponsored government in 1847 helped ensure the status of New Mexico in the American nation and to assure the participation of Hispanos in that system. ”
In its July 3, 2010, edition, the Santa Fe New Mexican singled out Vigil as one of eight people critical to the preservation of the city’s heritage:
Born in Santa Fe in 1802, Donaciano Vigil chose when he turned 21 to make the military his career. After U.S. conquest of New Mexico in 1846, Vigil’s acceptance of American rule influenced other Hispanos to recognize the reality of the federal presence and calm largely political unrest in the territorial period. During the earlier Spanish colonial period, government and church officials were careful to preserve historical records. After arrival of the Americans, however, it fell to Vigil to champion the cause of saving historical records. As New Mexico’s first civil governor, Vigil organized archival records and made it his cause to preserve New Mexico’s history.
In its newsletter, distributed today, the Historical Society of New Mexico features a remembrance of Vigil by HSN President Mike Stevenson, who quoted a passage from Vigil’s speech to the first Territorial Legislature on Sept. 24, 1847. Stevenson thought, and we agree, that Vigil’s words have only grown more powerful in the 163 years since, as advice to those who would lead us and to we who are choosing those leaders:
If our government here is to be republican—if it is to be based upon democratic republican principles—and if the will of the majority is one day to be the law of the land and the government of the people, it is evident, for this will to be properly exercised, the people must be enlightened and instructed. And it is particularly important in a country where the right of suffrage is accorded and secured to all, that all should be instructed, and that every[one] should be able to read to inform himself of the passing events of the day, and of the matters interesting to his country and government. This is the age of improvement, both in government and society, and it more particularly becomes us, when commencing as it were a new order of things, to profit by and promote such improvements, and they can only be encouraged and promoted by diffusing knowledge and instruction among the people…All that the legislature can do in the cause of education for the people is most earnestly pressed upon them and will meet with my hearty approval and cooperation. (Emphasis added.)
Opening this weekend, The Threads of Memory: Spain and the United States (El Hilo de la Memoria: Espana y los Estados Unidos) weaves the story of Spain’s first 300 years in the Americas. The History Museum marks the U.S. debut of 138 rare and precious documents, maps, illustrations and paintings — but it’s only here until Jan. 9, 2011, so get it on your calendar. (You’ll also enjoy the 12 weeks of lectures, concerts and Chautauqua performances accompanying it; every one of them is free.)
On Thursday, we took a small group of journalists through the still-under-construction exhibit for a sneak peek. And we figured you deserved to ride along.
Here, the installation crew buzzes in the part of the gallery where we’ve hung Giuseppe Perovani’s 1796 portrait of George Washington. Many Americans are unaware of the critical role Spain played in helping to win the Revolutionary War. Perovani lived for several years in the United States and, in 1801, with the prestige he had earned, went to Cuba on contract with Archbishop Espejo to help decorate the Cathedral of Havana. He also worked as a teacher there and, afterward, moved back to Mexico, where he became an academic of merit and second director of painting in the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos.
This portrait was likely commissioned by Jose de Jaudenes y Nebot, Spain’s representative in Philadelphia. Jaudenes knew Washington through Thomas Jefferson and had also been consulted on the negotiation of borders.
Dr. Frances Levine (left), director of the museum, points to and talks about one of her favorite pieces in the exhibit,a 1786 agreement, hand-written in the Palace of the Governors, between Gov. Juan Bautista de Anza and Comanche Captain General Ecueracapa. The agreement laid out how much help de Anza would receive from the Comanches in an action against the Apaches.
Dr. Levine says that when she first saw the Threads of Memory exhibit in Sevilla, Spain, this particular document not only brought her to tears but convinced her to lobby for its American debut in Santa Fe. The fact that it was written in the same building that she works in every day carried special meaning, along with a deeper knowledge of the conditions that both colonists and Native peoples lived with.
Some of the media members who came to our preview was the EFE News Agency of Spain, which is preparing a story for distribution across that nation this weekend.
Among EF’s interviews was one with Santa Fe Mayor David Coss. The city of Santa Fe, celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding by Spanish colonists, played a key role in bringing the exhibit to life here.
Dr. Levine and Josef Diaz, the museum’s curator of Southwest and Mexican Art and History, examine an illustration of La Belle. The image is the main “brand” of the exhibit; see it above as part of the exhibit title.)
La Belle, a ship, was part of an attempt by France to displace the spreading power of Spain on the lower Mississippi and what is now the American Southwest. The expedition was led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who left France with four ships to claim and colonize the area around the mouth of the Mississippi for France. En route, one ship was lost to pirates, one ran aground, its cargo taken by local natives, and one returned to France. La Salle continued to sail La Belle but missed the Mississippi by some 400 miles, landing on the Gulf Coast, not far from what is now Corpus Christi. The ship was later lost in a storm with about 20 survivors, including La Salle. In 1995, less than 12 feet deep, the remains of the ship were discovered and recovered by the Texas Historical Commission.
At 2 pm on Dec. 19, Eric Ray, a maritime archaeologist with the Texas Historical Commission, will deliver a lecture about La Belle in the History Museum Auditorium.
Finally, meet part of the people responsible for bringing the exhibit here. From left, Falia Gonzalez, Spanish curator of the exhibit from the Archivo General de Indias; Josef Diaz; Mayor Coss; and Dr. Levine.
Please join us for this weekend’s activities — Saturday’s private reception (tickets $100 at the Lensic) and Sunday’s grand opening. Each week through Jan. 9, we’ll have The Threads of Memory Lecture Series — all of it free with museum admission. (Remember: Children 16 and under are always free; Seniors free on Wednesdays; NM residents free on Sundays; and everyone free 5-8 pm Fridays.) Bring your family and enjoy learning more about our rich Spanish roots.
Andy and Daniel Razatos, owners of the historic Plaza Cafe on the Santa Fe Plaza, are still reeling from a fire last weekend that put their well-loved eatery temporarily out of commission. But that hasn’t stopped them from feeding the hungry hordes at the Cowden Cafe, which they operate inside the New Mexico History Museum. To sweeten the deal for customers longing for the turkey-cashew mole and other delights they whip up at the Plaza, the Razatos have lowered prices at the Cowden, including a delicious offer of 99-cent desserts.
You read that right.
And you just might have to hurry if you aim to beat the crowds of people who, in at least a few cases, are snapping up not one, not two, not three, but grocery sacks full of desserts, take heed: The cafe opens at 11 a.m. and stays open until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
On Friday, dessert selections included flan, red-velvet cake, white cake and a gooey-luscious chocolate cake.
But that’s not all.
Besides their desserts, the Razatos are offering fire-sale prices on their salads, sandwiches and daily soup choices, which on Friday included tortilla soup and (…wait for it…) MENUDO! What could be a more culturally specific dining choice during the annual Santa Fe Fiesta? (Well, other than roasted head of Zozobra, perhaps.)
A cup of menudo, packed with legendary health-giving properties, costs only $1. And a soup-salad-sandwich combo? A mere $4.
The best part is that you can then enjoy them on the second-floor cafe’s outdoor terrace overlooking the Palace of the Governors Courtyard and the rooftops of downtown Santa Fe.
You don’t have to be a museum-goer to eat at the cafe — although we think you’ll be enticed to buy an admission ticket once you get a glimpse of the interior. Just enter through the Washington Avenue doors and tell the nice folks at the guard station that you’re here for the chow. They’ll send you on up.
While at the cafe, log onto our free wifi or just enjoy some time with your dining companions.
The Cowden Café is named for a historic ranching family who built the JAL Ranch. From 1883 to 1915, the JAL Ranch (which lent its name to the southeastern New Mexico town of Jal) was the open-range home to 40,000 head of cattle and a part of New Mexico history that included the likes of Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight, skirmishes with Comanches, and tales of scrabbling out the pioneer life in dugouts and covered wagons.
At its peak, the JAL occupied much of what is now Lea County, east and south into Texas.Its legacy was detailed in Michael Pettit’s book, Riding for the Brand: 150 Years of Cowden Ranching (University of Oklahoma Press, 2006), which won a New Mexico Book Award for Best Southwest History. Michael will talk about the JAL and family ranching lore at 2 pm on Sunday, Sept. 26, in the History Museum Auditorium. The lecture is free with museum admission (Sundays are free to NM residents) and will be followed by coffee and cobbler featuring fruit grown by New Mexico farmers, courtesy of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
You’ve waited long enough. How about some food?