New Mexico History Museum

History Museum’s Chávez Library Wins National Award for Historic New Mexico Maps Project

June 10, 2016


The American Association for State and Local History will bestow their Award of Merit for Leadership in History to the New Mexico History Museum at their annual awards banquet on September 16. This prestigious award recognizes the museum’s Historic New Mexico Maps project, the culmination of a four-year effort to catalog more than 6,000 maps, along with hosting an array of public programs and producing Historic Maps as Teaching Tools: A Curriculum Guide for Grades 5–8. Patricia Hewitt of the museum’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library oversaw the project. She and the museum share the award with the co-writers of the curriculum guide, Drs. Judy and Dennis Reinhartz of Santa Fe.

Librarian Patricia Hewitt enjoys connecting researchers to maps in the collection, “People love maps and what they tell us about different time periods, but we had so many that it was sometimes difficult to find the right one. Now we can not only put our hands on exactly what someone needs, but we’ve gained a deeper understanding of our collection. And we’re still adding new maps every year!”

Hewitt went on to describe the museum’s award-winning project, “Maps have a demanding academic language of their own and visuals which may be difficult to comprehend. They can also be deeply compelling and graphically beautiful. The Historic New Mexico Maps project successfully opened the museum’s extraordinary collection of maps to the public through cataloging discovery tools now available online (SALSA online catalog), teacher workshops, a symposium, a free 30-page curriculum guide, and outreach through presentations, tours, and scholarly articles.”

The museum’s map collection encompasses all of New Mexico history, from Spanish Colonial to Mexican Republic, U.S. territorial and statehood periods. From the smallest map (4 x 5 ½ in.) to the largest (13 x 122 ft.), the museum’s map collection includes more than 1,100 road maps, 800 railroad maps, and 2,000 topographic maps—all of them now available to researchers and interested members of the public visiting the library. (A plan to digitize the collection awaits appropriate funding and staffing.)

A free two-day Map Mania Symposium (co-sponsored by the Historical Society of New Mexico) will be held on June 24–25, 2016, in the museum’s auditorium. For details on the symposium, click here.

The Historic New Mexico Maps project was supported by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through their Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. For more information about the awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to

Image above:             Johnson’s California, Territories of New Mexico and Utah by Johnson and Ward, 1862. History Library collection, call no. 78.9 1862

Media contact: Patricia Hewitt, Librarian, Fray Angelico Chavez History Library, New Mexico History Museum, 505-476-5025,


About the The American Association for State and Local History, a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and monthly newsletter. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.

The New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is part of a campus that includes the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States; the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library; the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives; the Press at the Palace of the Governors; and the Native American Artisans Program. A division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Museum exhibitions and programs supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.



Related Photos

Johnson's California, Territories of New Mexico and Utah by Johnson and Ward, 1862

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