At the dawn of the 1900s, the American Southwest was becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for people from the East Coast and Europe. The newly-developed railroad system made crossing the nation easier than ever.
To help preserve Native American culture, an anthropologist named Edgar Lee Hewett founded the Museum of New Mexico in 1909. Eighteen years later, John D. Rockefeller founded the Laboratory of Anthropology to study native cultures in the Southwest United States. Eventually, the two institutions merged in 1947.
The Laboratory continued to acquire more artifacts but couldn't display them due to inadequate space. Eventually, the New Mexico government approved the construction of the current Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, which exhibits the Laboratory's collections.
"Here, Now, and Always" was opened in August of 1997. This permanent exhibition incorporates the voices and stories of over 75 Native Americans as well as 1,300 pieces drawn from the Laboratory's collection. Here, Now, and Always tells the stories of the Native American peoples and their cultures. Tap on the video below to learn how the museum uses beautifully fashioned artwork and crafts to deepen understanding and appreciation of
New Mexico is home to a diverse mix of Native American communities, including the members of the Jicarilla, Apache, and Navajo tribes. There are 19 Native American Pueblos located in New Mexico, many of which are close to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
To get a better idea of the Native culture, consider visiting one (or many) of the Pueblos, which are located between Santa Fe and Taos. There are also Pueblos near Albuquerque. Be sure to check with the main office of each Pueblo before visiting to learn the rules about visitors and photography. Always remember that these are real communities, not tourist attractions. It's important to show respect.
Cover photo: "Drummer Man" by BFS Man is licensed under CC BY 2.0.