Museums & Historic Sites

There's no better way to get to know New Mexico than to experience our exceptional museums and historic sites. From dinosaurs to Spanish conquistadors; rocket sleds to ancient pottery; folk art to fine art...the road to understanding and enjoying New Mexico leads through our museums and monuments.

New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors

“...The museum includes interactive multimedia displays, hands-on exhibits, and vivid stories of real New Mexicans. ”

The New Mexico History Museum aims to engage visitors in the craft of history. Within a theatrical environment, this newest museum in New Mexico, which opened May 24, 2009, offers the powerful stories of the many cultures that have called the Land of Enchantment home. Sometimes those cultures blended. Sometimes they clashed. Always, they added new stitches to a tapestry of life that's among the oldest in the nation.

The museum includes interactive multimedia displays, hands-on exhibits, and vivid stories of real New Mexicans. As a 96,000-square-foot extension of the Palace of the Governors - itself a story of New Mexico's past and present in a 400-year-old building - the New Mexico History Museum anchors itself in the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

With stories from and about New Mexicans like Po'Pay, Juan de Oñate, Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, Adolph Bandelier, Ernest Blumenschein, Robert Oppenheimer, and the '60s-era counterculture, the New Mexico History Museum sweeps through centuries of human interaction. The second-floor Albert and Ethel Herzstein Gallery offers changing exhibits.

The Palace focuses on the history that its walls have seen over the centuries, and includes a chance for visitors to interact with Native American artisans, who display and sell their wares under its Portal, continuing a centuries-long tradition. Other parts of the museum campus include the Print Shop and Bindery, a working exhibit of antique printing presses, and the renowned Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and Photographic Archives, which are open during the week for research purposes.

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New Mexico Museum of Art

“...The Museum hosts numerous exhibitions of contemporary art in all media. ”

From the cheerful splash of the Jésus Bautista Moroles sculpture fountain in the central courtyard to the hush of St. Francis Auditorium, the New Mexico Museum of Art is a feast for the soul and the senses.

The Northern New Mexico Pueblo-Revival building dates from 1917, a graceful home for a distinguished collection of 20th-century American art with an emphasis on New Mexico, the Southwest, and the Taos and Santa Fe masters.

The Museum hosts numerous exhibitions of contemporary art in all media. It invites established and emerging artists to exhibit in juried competitions, a custom established with the founding of the museum.

There are regularly scheduled gallery talks, slide lectures, and gala exhibition openings.

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Museum of International Folk Art

“...The Museum features changing, traveling and interactive exhibitions of folk art from New Mexico and around the globe.”

Both children and adults share the wonders of discovery in the Museum of International Folk Art, voted Santa Fe's favorite year after year by the local community.

Continuing exhibitions include Multiple Visions: A Common Bond, a richly varied display of folk art, popular art and toys from more than 100 nations designed by the donor, Alexander Girard.

The Museum's prestigious Neutrogena Collection - donated by former company CEO Lloyd Cotsen in 1995 - is comprised of more than 2,500 textiles, ceramics and carvings from all over the world. From ancient Egyptian textiles to 19th century Navajo weavings, from Pennsylvania Amish quilts to Andean weavings, the quality and quantity of this collection make it a key national resource for the enjoyment and study of international textiles and costumes. Lloyd's Treasure Chest provides visitors with the opportunity to interact with works not on display in the gallery, providing the opportunity to explore aspects of preservation and conservation of collections.

The Museum features changing, traveling and interactive exhibitions of folk art from New Mexico and around the globe. It is widely recognized for its extraordinary variety of activities for children and families.

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Museum of Indian Arts & Culture

“...The Museum was opened in 1987 to showcase the vast collection of more than 70,000 works from the Laboratory of Anthropology.”

Insights into Native American lifeways await visitors to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture where you can experience the art, material culture and archaeology of the Southwest from ancestral to contemporary times.

The Museum was opened in 1987 to showcase the vast collection of more than 70,000 works from the Laboratory of Anthropology.

Featured in the new Amy Bloch Wing is Here, Now and Always — the dramatic story of Native American presence in the Southwest. The 9,000-square-foot exhibition with more than 1,300 artifacts was collaboratively produced by Native American elders, artists, scholars, teachers, builders, writers, and museum professionals.

An annual Fiber Arts Festival, lectures and artist presentations are some of the events sponsored throughout the year at the Museum.

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New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

“...Permanent exhibits include an active walk-through volcano, realistic Ice Age cave, living forest and marine aquarium”

This Museum dramatically showcases New Mexico's rich legacy of prehistoric life. Beginning with the formation of the universe and ending with the present day, the Museum offers snapshots of what New Mexico was like millions of years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Today, these fascinating animals abound at the Museum, starting with the life-sized sculptures of a Pentaceratops (a dinosaur found only in New Mexico) and an Albertosaurus welcoming guests outside the building.

The Museum welcomes more than 250,000 visitors each year, and its learning-and-fun approach to informal science education, coupled with its location in Albuquerque's tourist-friendly Old Town, make it the most-visited museum in the state.

Permanent exhibits include an active walk-through volcano, realistic Ice Age cave, living forest and marine aquarium, Startup: Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution, and Extreme Screen DynaTheater.

The Museum also houses a state-of-the-art Planetarium, Observatory, and astronomy exhibition hall.

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New Mexico Museum of Space History

“...The Museum of Space History, a five-story golden cube nestled on the western slope of the Sacramento Mountains, mixes education with entertainment. ”

New Mexico – the ”Cradle of America’s Space Program” – offers a museum which celebrates mankind’s exploration of space, with a focus on New Mexico’s pivotal role in the U.S. space program. The museum and theater/planetarium complex are dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history, technology and science of space exploration.

The New Mexico Museum of Space History, a five-story golden “cube” rising from the western slope of the Sacramento Mountains in Alamogordo, features a wide variety of space related exhibits including an interactive space shuttle simulator, a Moon rock brought back on Apollo 17 by New Mexico Astronaut Harrison Schmitt, and special tributes to Dr. John Paul Stapp and Dr. Robert Goddard.

Outside exhibits are a must see for visitors. The Stapp Air & Space Park showcases the historic Sonic Wind 1 rocket sled, as well as a wide variety of rockets and rocket engines, many of which were tested in the area. The Astronaut Memorial Garden pays fitting tribute to the Challenger, Columbia and Apollo 1 astronauts. Inside the Daisy Track Building, see what early astronaut safety testing was really like and get a glimpse of what the future could have been like with the Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X) rocket.

An integral part of the Museum, the International Space Hall of Fame was established in 1976 to recognize the imagination, efforts, and achievements of those who have endeavored to advance man's knowledge of the universe, and his ability to explore space.  It honors more than 150 pioneers and explorers including Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; British scientist and author Arthur C. Clarke; journalist Walter Cronkite; and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space.

The Clyde W. Tombaugh Dome Theater and Planetarium features large format films, planetarium shows and star shows. The domed screen and surround sound are a hit with adults and children alike.

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New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

“...The interactive museum has welcomed visitors from all over the world and brings to life the unique 3,000-year history of farming and ranching in New Mexico.”

The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces is 47 acres packed with real stories about real people.

Working the land has been a key ingredient in the cultural mosaic of New Mexico for many generations, uniquely blending farming and ranching methods from Indian, Spanish and Anglo cultures.

The interactive museum has welcomed visitors from all over the world and brings to life the unique 3,000-year history of farming and ranching in New Mexico. We explore the past, present and future of agriculture. The museum's main building—named for former governor Bruce King—contains more than 24,000 square feet of exhibit space, along with the Museum Grill, Eagle Ranch Gift Shoppe and a theater. Dickerson's Catering, which operates the restaurant, also has a catering service and can accommodate meetings of various sizes.

Fun and learning go hand in hand as visitors can watch a cow being milked, stroll along corrals filled with livestock, enjoy several gardens and orchards or drop by the blacksmith shop or another venue to watch one of our growing number of demonstrations. We retrieve memories for some visitors, educate others and provide a fun-filled day for everyone.

The museum is located just off Interstate 25 in Las Cruces. Take the University Exit (Exit 1) and go east 1.5 miles.

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National Hispanic Cultural Center

“...Education is central to every program at the NHCC and provides unique learning opportunities for all of its patrons.”

The mission of the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) is to create a greater cross-cultural appreciation and understanding of Hispanic culture by preserving and promoting historic and contemporary Hispanic arts, humanities and achievements over the past 400 years.

The NHCC, situated on the banks of the Rio Grande River in the historic Albuquerque neighborhood of Barelas, is home the Intel Center for Technology & Visual Arts, a library and genealogy center, a computer learning center, a restaurant, a gift shop and the newly completed Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts comprising three state-of-the-art performance venues. Two institutions from Spain are also housed at the NHCC, the Cervantes Institute and Spanish Resource Center.

The National Hispanic Cultural Center offers a wide variety of cultural programming throughout the year including traditional and contemporary art exhibitions, national writing conferences, music, dance and theatrical productions as well as outreach opportunities via elementary, high schools and colleges. Education is central to every program at the NHCC and provides unique learning opportunities for all of its patrons.

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New Mexico Historic Sites

“...The seven New Mexico Historic Sites and allow the visitor to discover the diverse history and prehistory of the state—all within a few hours drive by car.”

How often have you seen a Native American kiva next to a 16th century Spanish colonial church, gained a glimpse of military fort life, or walked through an historic town little changed from the 1800s?

The seven New Mexico Historic Sites allow for exactly such unique experiences, and allow the visitor to discover the diverse history and prehistory of the state—all within a few hours drive by car.

Our Historic Sites include:

El Camino Real Historic Trail Site
Tells the story of the first European settlements of North America and the road that made it possible. Located 30 miles south of Socorro at Exit 115.

Coronado Historic Site
The Tiwa pueblo of Kuaua once stood here on the banks of the Rio Grande near the site where the expedition of Spanish conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado camped in 1540. Located ten miles north of Albuquerque in Bernalillo.

Jemez Historic Site
The ruins of Giusewa, an ancient Towa settlement near present-day Jémez Pueblo, are in a beautiful setting shared with San Jose de los Jémez, a 17th-century Spanish mission church. Located 43 miles north of Bernalillo and Coronado Historic Site.

Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner
In the 1860s, some 9,000 Navajo and several hundred Mescalero Apache people were interned here by the U.S. government at the site known as the Bosque Reservation. Located two miles east of the village of Fort Sumner on the Billy the Kid Road.

Fort Selden
Once the home of young Douglas MacArthur, this adobe-brick fort was built in 1865 to protect settlements and today offers a glimpse of Army life on the frontier. The historic outpost was once home to cavalry units of Black troops nicknamed "Buffalo Soldiers." Located 13 miles north of Las Cruces at Radium Springs.

Fort Stanton
Established in 1855 as a military post to control the Mescalero Apache Indians, Fort Stanton may be one of the most intact 19th century military forts in all of America today.

Lincoln Historic Site
This historic town is the site of the Lincoln County wars and Billy the Kid's escape in the late-1800s. Eleven adobe homes and buildings line the only street of now-peaceful Lincoln. Located 12 miles east of Capitan.

Each site tells a unique story, important to the understanding of New Mexico history. So join us in a day of discovery and Travel Back in Time. . . to each of the New Mexico Historic Sites.

Other sites to visit are also included under each Historic Site description.

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