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Oct 17, 2010
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Grand opening: Threads of Memory
U.S. Debut of Rare Spanish Documents

New Mexico History Museum

From a 1602 field drawing of a buffalo to portraits of President George Washington, Spanish explorers, colonists and diplomats have played key roles in American culture for five centuries. A new exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum explores the first 300 years of those encounters – from the friars who made first contact with Native peoples through Spain’s timely assistance to American forces in the Revolutionary War.

The Threads of Memory: Spain and the United States (El Hilo de la Memoria: España y los Estados Unidos) opens its doors to the public from 10 am to 5 pm on Oct. 17. Be among the first to enjoy the U.S. premiere of nearly 140 rare documents, maps, illustrations and paintings – many of which have never been displayed outside of Spain. As part of the opening festivities, the Threads of Memory Lecture Series will open at 1:30 pm in the Auditorium. The Museum of New Mexico Women’s Board will provide refreshments in the Gathering Space from 3-5 pm.

The agenda for the 1:30 event:

1:35 pm: Opening comments

Dr. Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum, welcome and brief comments

His Excellency Miguel Angel Fernández de Mazarambroz, Spanish General Consul in Houston

Dr. Charo Otegui, President of SEACEX

Dr. Falia González, Curator, Archivo General de Indias

1:45 pm: Dr. Luis Laorden of Madrid, Spain, on "Setting the Context of El Hilo de la Memoria: Cartography of the Camino Real de Tierra Dentro"

2:25 pm: Questions and answers

Each week thereafter, through the exhibit’s conclusion on Jan. 9, 2011, the museum will feature lectures, musical performances, panel discussions and more to further explore the role Spain has played in shaping America as it is. (See complete schedule below.) After its debut in the museum’s Albert and Ethel Herzstein Changing Exhibits Gallery, the exhibit travels to the El Paso Museum of History and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Fundación Rafael del Pino and, along with the Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies), is co-organized with the   State Corporation for the Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, or SEACEX), in collaboration with Spain’s Ministries for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Culture.

In New Mexico, the exhibition and lecture series are presented with special support from BBVA Compass Bank, the city of Santa Fe, Wells Fargo Bank, Heritage Hotels, Santa Fe University of Art & Design and the Palace Guard. 

Also accompanying the exhibit, which is presented in Spanish and English, is a full-color, bilingual catalog, The Threads of Memory, detailing all of the documents on display. Highlights among them:

·         Juan Ponce de León’s letter reporting his discovery of the “island of Florida”

·         The instructions given to Fray Marcos de Niza to explore northern New Spain, and accounts of his discoveries here, including Cíbola and other towns

·         A 1701 map by Father Eusebio Kino showing California missions

·         A letter signed by Fray Junípero Serra giving the viceroy of New Spain news of the missions of Monterey

·         The first known map of the lower Mississippi Valley, dated 1544; the oldest known map of New Galicia, dated 1550; and a 1602 map of New Mexico showing pueblos and Spanish settlements

·         A 1684 drawing of the ill-fated French ship, La Belle, which wrecked in present-day Matagorda Bay, Texas, dooming Robert de La Salle’s dreams of a Texas colony

·         Drawings of the uniforms issued for soldiers in 1804

·         Spanish prtraits of President George Washington

Lectures and performances in the Threads of Memory Lecture Series are free with museum admission (Fridays 5-8 pm free to everyone; Sundays free to NM residents; children 16 and under always free). The events will be held in the museum auditorium. The schedule:

Sunday, Oct. 17

1:30-3 pm: “Setting the Context of El Hilo de la Memoria: Cartography of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro,” lecture by Dr. Luis Laorden of Madrid, Spain. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association.

Friday, Oct. 22

6 pm: Tomás Lozano and ¡Viva la Pepa! in concert. Lozano is a singer, musician, scholar and writer, born in Barcelona. With his wife, Rima Montoya, and Juan Wijngaard and Sharon Berman, he performs as part of ¡Viva la Pepa!

Sunday, Oct. 24

2 pm: Following the Paper Trail: The Daily Life of a Spanish Colonial Document,” lecture by Dr. Alfred E. Lemmon, an authority on French and Spanish colonial history. Lemmon is director of the Williams Research Center at the Historic New Orleans Collection and is its curator of manuscripts.

Sunday, Oct. 31

2 pm: “Finding New Mexico in El Hilo de la Memoria,” lecture by Dr. Jerry L. Gurule and Enrique Lamadrid. Gurule, retired historian-linguist for the National Park Service, has conducted research in various archives in Spain and Mexico, including the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla. His publications include articles, books and other works on Spanish colonial history. Lamadrid is a literary folklorist and cultural historian known for his work on Indo-Hispano cultural traditions, ballads, folk music, and literary recovery projects.

Saturday, Nov. 6

2 pm:Por el Amor de Papel: For the Love of Paper,” a demonstration by Tom Leech, curator and director of the Palace of the Governors’ Print Shop and Bindery. Leech has more than 35 years experience in printing, papermaking and related book arts; he demonstrated paper marbling at the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (This event begins in the exhibit space and moves to the classroom.)

Sunday, Nov. 7

2 pm: “An Afternoon with Pedro Menéndez,” performance by Chaz Mena, a New York-based actor, scholar and Chautauqua performer, on Pedro Menéndez de Aviles, first governor of Florida.

Friday, Nov. 12

6 pm: “Scientists in New Spain: Eighteenth-Century Expeditions,” lecture by Dr. Iris Engstrand, a California-based historian recently awarded the prestigious medal of the Order of Isabel la Católica by King Juan Carlos of Spain for her contributions to the history of Spain in the Americas.

Sunday, Nov. 21

2 pm: “Murder, Martyrdom, and the Struggle for La Florida: Rethinking Spanish Florida’s Mission History, 1565-1606,” lecture by Dr. J. Michael Francis, a history professor at the University of North Florida and the Jay I. Kislak scholar at the Library of Congress, where he will be scholar-in-residence for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Sunday, Dec. 19

2 pm:Navio Quebrado: The Wreck of La Belle and the Failed French Colony in the Southwest,” lecture by Eric Ray, a maritime archaeologist working on the La Belle project at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.

Sunday, Jan. 2

2 pm: “Kissin' Cousins: The Spanish Vihuela and the Modern Classical Guitar," performance by composer, guitarist and educator Greg Schneider, teaching artist and former artist-in-residence with the Santa Fe Opera.

Sunday, Jan. 9

2 pm: “Tejiendo el Hilo: Weaving the Threads of History,” lecture by State Historian Rick Hendricks.

The exhibition and lecture series are presented in New Mexico with special support from the city of Santa Fe, Wells Fargo Bank, Heritage Hotels, Santa Fe University of Art & Design and the Palace Guard.

Phone number to use in calendar listings: 505-476-5200


For more information, contact the New Mexico History Museum at 505 476-5200

Related Photos

Coat of Arms, Louisiana
Uniform Design, Hussars of Texas
Parish Church of St. Augustine, 1789
Map of North America, 1746
Map of New Mexico, 1727
Map of New Galicia, 1550
Map of the Mississippi Valley, 1544
George Washington, 1778
Buffalo, 1598
Map, 1701
Letter with Coat of Arms of Diego Rodríguez, October 7, 1540
La Belle
Cavalry Uniform Design


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