Get a peek at the Christmas-themed items that the museum found inside an early 20th-century steamer trunk during this Free First Friday event. Ca. 1915 costumes, including a horned devil, boy angel and hermit, reveal past performances of a traditional Hispanic Christmas play, Los Pastores ("Shepherds’ Tales"; also called Las Pastorelas). Bolstered by images in the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, they help tell a story of how New Mexicans re-enacted the play in days gone by.
At this special event, Collections Manager René Harris will show the different costume and prop details, including pants with metal bells sewn along the sides of the legs, a comically large rosary, silver sheriff’s star, and a folk art-style devil’s costume with Monopoly game pieces, silver medallions, an 1894 dog-tax tag and President Taft campaign buttons.
In 2012, the New Mexico History Museum acquired the trunk from the Museum of International Folk Art, which had obtained it in 1964 from the estate of Felipe Perea, an actor. Its contents had never been catalogued, so when collections staff began going through it, they found costumes, props and materials for a makeshift circus, including a hand-painted banner and velvet shorts possibly worn by the strong-man actor.
Learn more about a play that continues to be performed across New Mexico. Admission to the museum is free 5–8 pm.