Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now, the Museum’s main exhibition, sweeps across more than 500 years of history—from earliest inhabitants to today’s residents. Stories told through artifacts, videos, photographs, computer interactives, and oral histories provide context for appreciating New Mexico’s diverse cultures and understanding the museum’s ever-changing array of temporary exhibitions. Together, these stories breathe life into the people who made the American West: Native Americans, Spanish colonists, Mexican traders, Santa Fe Trail riders, fur trappers, outlaws, Buffalo Soldiers, railroad workers, miners, scientists, hippies, artists and photographers.
A few of the highlights of the exhibition include ancient pottery, baskets, and jewelry from the time of pre-European contact; a halberd from about 1600, a fearsome weapon used by Spanish conquistadores in their conquest of indigenous tribes; a 1758 illustrated map of New Mexico by the important artist and cartographer Bernardo Miera y Pacheco; a stagecoach, portrait paintings, and personal possessions of settlers who traveled the Santa Fe Trail, which opened for trade with the United States in 1821; and the death mask of Pancho Villa, the infamous Mexican general, revolutionary, and bandit who led a raid on the New Mexican town of Columbus in 1916 and was assassinated in 1923.
For more information, contact the New Mexico History Museum at 505 476-5200