New Mexico Museum of Art

What’s Happening While We’re Closed: Stairs, Upstairs, Downstairs & The Blue Alcove

November 01, 2017


(Santa Fe, NM) -- After being closed since mid-September for an extensive renovation, this month the New Mexico Museum of Art reopens launching its Centennial year celebration. The renovation work will reveal and restore, as much as possible, the original elegant simplicity of the interior public spaces of this building; and improve the visitor experience by creating a more welcoming entrance and brighter galleries that are more conducive to the enjoyment of art, as they were in 1917.

Constructed as a purpose-built art gallery for the Museum of New Mexico 100 years ago on November 25, 1917 the New Mexico Museum of Art was built to exhibit and celebrate art being made in New Mexico as well as to bring world class art and collections to the state. The objective was to create a venue that would be a catalyst for the transformation of Santa Fe into a cultural tourist destination. To do this, civic leaders came together with legislators to create a new/old style of architecture that shaped the development of Santa Fe’s built environment.

The renovation follows a series of substantial improvements made over the past five years including the restoration of the courtyard garden; repair of the museum foundation and west wall; reroofing to protect the interior spaces from water penetration; and improved security systems, environmental systems, fire detection and suppression. We are committed to ongoing maintenance of this iconic historic building to ensure it is preserved for future generations while continuing to offer a world-class experience of art to our visitors as it did in 1917.

In the Museum stairways the 1980’s wall sconces will be replaced, with new sconces from Alchemy Lights.  The Santa Fe-based company designs and handcrafts each individual light fixture to enhance the architectural space. The chosen material (tin) is reminiscent of historic fixtures and compliments the Museum architecture but will not be confused with an original element. The handcrafted nature of the light fixtures also evokes the Museum’s original architectural features and furthers the Museum’s dedication to sourcing materials and fixtures from local makers whenever possible.

In the New Wing and upstairs and downstairs in the historic building the temporary exhibition walls have been removed, and new temporary exhibition walls are being built. Wall-kickboards are being overlaid with a rotary cut oak veneer plywood, the electoral receptacles are each being replaced.  The gallery walls are being painted for the three new exhibitions that will be on display when the Museum reopens.

Some of the building renovations include cleaning and reinstalling historic doors, re-establishing three historic skylights in the Goodwin Gallery – natural light, specifically skylights were an integral part of the architectural fabric of the building. The Museum will be able to control the light for preservation purposes. The track lighting by the elevator will be extended and moved.

In the Blue Alcove, we have removed the temporary exhibition wall to uncover historic courtyard window. This wall has been in place for 30+ years. By revealing this window, visitors will be able to view the Museum’s beautiful courtyard as they walk up from the New Wing ramp and will be able to orientate themselves within the building

Following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Building to ensure that we identify, retain and preserve historic materials and features. Where necessary to replace missing historic features (light sconces, door handles, etc.), we have ensured materials are compatible with the overall historic character of the building while not creating a false historical appearance.

 The Museum of Art will reopen at 10:00AM on Saturday, November 25, 2018




About the New Mexico Museum of Art:      Founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Art has been presenting innovative arts programming in downtown Santa Fe for a century.  At its founding, the museum collected and exhibited artworks by noted artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide array of exhibitions and a significant collection featuring work from the world’s leading artists. Today, as at its founding, the Museum of Art strives to bring the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund, Exhibitions Development Fund, and Fund for Museum Education. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, just off the downtown Plaza in Santa Fe, NM 87501. 24 Hr. Recorded Message: (505) 476-5072; Front desk: (505) 476-5041. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’sEvents, news releases and images about activities at the History Museum and Palace of the Governors and other in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at


Related Photos

Photos: Museum of Art Renovations October 6, 2017, Courtesy: NM Dept. of Cultural Affairs
Photos: Museum of Art Renovations October 6, 2017, Courtesy: NM Dept. of Cultural Affairs
Museum of Art Renovations October 6, 2017, Courtesy: NM Dept. of Cultural Affairs

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