NMHM | July 2024

New Mexico History Museum Invites People to Share Their Memories of Notable NM Restaurants

The New Mexico History Museum (NMHM) is asking people with stories about notable New Mexico restaurants to give them a call. Selected stories will become part of a new exhibition showcasing historic or iconic eateries across New Mexico. The exhibition will share firsthand accounts of memorable meals in places as varied as family-owned cafés and 1960s drive-ins to high end landmarks and everybody’s favorite hole-in-the-wall. Stories will be collected by voicemail recordings.

This project is part of a multi-year initiative at NMHM which will explore the influences that shaped the state's diverse food heritage. It aims to foster a deeper appreciation of the people, technology, ingredients, and cultural influences that contribute to a defining aspect of New Mexico’s food economy, history, and identity.

"New Mexico's food goes far beyond the sizzle of a chile pepper," says NMHM Executive Director, Billy G. Garrett. "The food we prepare and share in New Mexico is the product of centuries of tradition, contributions from people all along the farm to table continuum, continuous innovation, and a belief in the enduring value of family and community.”

The inaugural exhibit, co-curated by Chef Johnny Vee is entitled, Forks in the Road: Notable New Mexico Restaurants. Scheduled to open in the summer of 2024, this immersive exhibit will combine photography, historic objects, soundtracks, video, and built-in displays to recreate the sights and sounds of eating out. Special programming will include tastings and presentations by food experts. Social media links will allow everyone to share their impressions and memories in real time.

To share a story, people can call (623) 335-BITE (2483) and follow the instructions when prompted. Callers will be asked to provide their first name, the name of the restaurant they are going to talk about, the city or community where the restaurant is or was located, the approximate date of their memory, and then what they remember. Recordings will be limited to 3 minutes and participation is voluntary.

By calling and leaving a message, people consent to the use of their recording in the Forks in the Road exhibit or other programming by NMHM. All recordings will remain anonymous and there is no guarantee that a recording will be selected. Recorded stories may be transcribed and edited by the Museum for a variety of uses in future exhibitions, research, publications, and online venues. For more information visit https://tinyurl.com/NMHM-Restaurants.