A Year of Opportunity: Highlighting New Mexico History

The Work of Gustave Baumann. Courtesy Palace of
the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History
Museum. Neg. No. 092094.


In person and online, the New Mexico History Museum created new opportunities for visitors during fiscal year 2022-2023 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023), enabling meaningful learning about the people, events and forces that have shaped our state.

The museum welcomed 65,000 visitors, 10 percent of whom were New Mexico residents. Total revenues of $327,000 via private gifts to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation made possible a robust exhibition schedule, among other things.

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition (October to December 2022), examined the complicated history and impact of Executive Order 9066 that led to the incarceration of Japanese Americans, including in New Mexico, following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

With more than 250 objects on view, Honoring Tradition and Innovation: Commemorating 100 Years of Santa Fe’s Indian Market, 1922-2022 showcased the arc of creative endeavor at Indian Market, from the earliest works made for the inaugural 1922 show to the present day.

In April of 2023, EnchantOrama! New Mexico Magazine Celebrates 100, opened in a partnership with the museum’s Palace of the Governors Photo Archives. The state tourism magazine’s centennial was celebrated through a selection of magazine covers and over 200 photographs by some of the state's notable photographers.

With renovation of the Palace of the Governors nearly completed, the museum installed three temporary exhibitions highlighting objects from the permanent collection.

The Santos of New Mexico, featuring 60 retablos and bultos on display through April 3, 2025, is drawn from the Larry and Alyce Frank Collection of Santos, which was acquired by the museum in 2007.

Silver and Stones: Collaborations in Southwest Jewelry (through April 1, 2025) is a collection of work by Diné silversmith David Taliman. The collection was assembled in the 1940s and 1950s by well-known Las Vegas, New Mexico, merchant William C. Ilfeld, who donated it to the museum in 1971.

In February 2023, seven paintings from the museum’s Collier collection of mostly 18th-century works went on view. The paintings were collected from colonial churches throughout Mexico, Peru and Bolivia by Charles W. Collier, a U.S. cultural attaché to Bolivia, and his wife Nina Perera Collier. They donated the 70-piece collection to the museum in 2005.

The fiscal year also saw digitization of museum collections as a high priority. To that end, private funders through the Museum of New Mexico Foundation have helped make the museum’s archival and library collections available for viewing on the New Mexico History Museum website at nmhistorymuseum.org.

Additionally, in August 2022, the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library received a $15,119 grant from Recordings at Risk, a program conducted by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. More than 200 unique and fragile audio recordings made by award-winning Santa Fe photographer and cinematographer John S. Candelario were digitized, allowing public access.

In September 2022, the History Library and Palace of the Governors Photo Archives received a $149,921 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to digitize Edgar L. Hewett’s manuscript and photographic archive, one of the library’s most heavily used collections.

And in June 2023, the museum’s extraordinary Gustave Baumann archive—including writings, drawings, recordings and more—became available both online and in person at the History Library. The archive’s indexing and cataloguing was undertaken with funding from the Ann Baumann Trust.

Planned giving had a major impact at the museum in May 2023, when assets from the Charles “Chuck” and Mara Robinson charitable remainder trust were released. This $1.2 million unrestricted gift will provide the momentum to generate additional planned gifts and fund new projects, says Billy Garrett, the museum’s executive director.

“With your support, the New Mexico History Museum is helping people discover new connections and create lasting memories with our state’s rich heritage,” he says.


This article and image are from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Member News Magazine.