The New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe is the state's newest museum. The museum's 30,000 square foot exhibit space was added onto the state's oldest museum, the Palace of the Governors, and features information on the state's different historic eras. Exhibitions on Native Americans, Spanish explorers, the Santa Fe Trail, outlaws, the railroad, World War II and modern New Mexico are just some of what's found there.
The museum opened in 2009, and since then has offered exhibitions and programs that offer the full range of New Mexico's history. In addition to its collections, it is a history center for research and education.
The museum is located just off the plaza downtown, and parking can usually be found at one of the nearby public parking lots. Just look for the blue and white P on signs and you'll have a place to park, likely just a few blocks from the museum. Attached to the west end of the Palace of the Governors, the facade is modern and spare, so it stands out in the normal adobe of Santa Fe.
Just inside is the admissions desk, from which you'll be directed to lockers and a coat area if you are carrying goods you want to stash. Bring a quarter to use the locker; you get the quarter back when you leave. Armed with a museum map, you can decide where to start and what you want to look at, but if you want to see everything, plan on spending about three hours to get through everything.
The museum delves into the state's history with permanent and temporary exhibits that examine the native peoples, Spanish colonization, the Mexican period, and commerce on the Santa Fe Trail.
Early history exhibits include information on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848.
The treaty created a new boundary between the United States and Mexico, and settled the disagreement over the border between Texas and Mexico. The Segesser Hides are paintings on hides, the earliest known depictions of colonial life in the United States. The tanned hides depict a battle and the landscape of New Mexico. Painted between 1720 and 1758, they are likely painted on bison hide. Panels of skins were stitched together. The Threads of Memory exhibition examines the impact of Spanish explorers in North America. See documents, maps and portraits that examine Spain's presence on the continent from 1513 to 1822. The Boundaries exhibition looks at the boundary between the United States and Mexico, and looks closely at the New Mexico Territory, which today is New Mexico and Arizona.
The museum has a rotating calendar that features exhibits of interest to New Mexicans. Recent exhibits have featured topics such as Spanish Judaism, the culture of low riders and car culture of northern New Mexico, and archaeological finds. A favorite that is currently on long term display is an exhibit on Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls. Find it in the Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now, a main exhibit.
113 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Sandoval municipal parking garage, with entrance on San Francisco Street
Water Street parking lot, entrance on Water Street
St. Francis Cathedral parking lot, entrance on Cathedral Place
Santa Fe Convention Center, parking at the back on Federal Street
- Find out more about the New Mexico History Museum.
- Visit the nearby Georgia O'Keefe Museum.
- Travel north to Abiquiu and Taos.