Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

Lincoln Historic Site celebrates early champions of Lincoln County preservation with new exhibit

New Mexico Historic Sites

July 05, 2023


Lincoln, NM – Lincoln Historic Site (LHS) is ecstatic to unveil Preservation of Lincoln Through the Lens of Walter and Nora Henn, a brand-new exhibition showing in the Luna-Chavez House. The exhibit features pen-and-ink drawings by Walter Henn and dives into his and his wife’s contributions to the preservation of Lincoln, and is available to visitors now.

“I really enjoyed being able to work on this exhibit,” said Brittany Porter, LHS Museum Technician and Conservator. “It was fun to be able to learn more about Walter and Nora Henn and their contributions to Lincoln. I’m glad that we get to display Walter’s pieces and that we get to show people a side of Lincoln history that isn’t represented. I like being able to see how Lincoln has changed, but also stayed the same over time.” 

“Lincoln’s new exhibition is the first to benefit from the closer relationship between New Mexico Historic Sites and Museum Resource Division,” said Dr. C.L. Kieffer Nail, Historic Preservation and Interpretation Specialist with NMHS. “Now, we have a point person in Santa Fe working closely with a graphic designer on the exhibition’s look and feel. It was an honor to aid in the coordination of this exhibit. In the future, we hope to connect other sites across the state with these state resources and further raise the caliber of our exhibitions.” 

Lincoln has had no shortage of advocates and champions, but Walter and Nora Henn enjoy a special status among them. When they arrived in Lincoln, they fell in love with the area and its history. Walter was an artist and produced several paintings and pen-and-ink drawings of the town and its surroundings. Nora jumped headfirst into learning about Lincoln County and the many stories to be told about it, collecting books, oral histories, and other historical documents, which are now part of New Mexico State University’s special collections. Nora’s research culminated in a book, Lincoln County and Its Wars, which was published posthumously in 2011.  

Together, they formed the foundation on which the preservation of Lincoln still depends, drafting Lincoln’s first Historical Preservation Ordinance and leading guided tours of Lincoln together. Walter was also the first director of the Lincoln County Heritage and served as a founder, charter member, and longtime board member of the Lincoln County Historical Society.  

The new exhibition was made possible with support from the Friends of Historic Lincoln. It leads visitors through Walter and Nora’s experience of Lincoln. Twelve of Walter’s drawings of historic buildings are featured. Visitors are encouraged to compare his drawings with the actual buildings and track the ways in which they have changed or remained the same over the years.  


About New Mexico Historic Sites   

New Mexico Historic Sites is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its donors. The New Mexico Historic Sites system was established in 1931 by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico. The eight Historic Sites include Coronado, Fort Selden, Fort Stanton, Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site, Jemez, Lincoln, and Los Luceros. 

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