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About Us : Spanish Heritage Wing

The Hispano/Latino Collection
Bulto of Our Lady of Guadalupe
One of the great strengths of the collection is the large number of everyday items - the material culture of colonial New Mexico. Cultural change, adaptation to the physical environment, technological innovation, and cultural continuity can be studied in light of the implements made or used by New Mexicans.

are three-dimensional carved wooden figures. Made primarily of cottonwood and painted with organic pigments, were also used in much the same contexts as the retablos. Also exclusively religious in subject matter, the bultos range from small, easily transportable figures for use in homes to life-size figures and death carts used for Holy Week and feast day processions and as imagery in churches.

Retablos are paintings on wood panels, usually painted with organic pigments on a pine panel, range from small, pocket-sized plaques of individual saints to full-size altar screens with multiple images intended for use in community churches. Always religious subjects, these paintings were used in both homes and churches throughout the Spanish villages of New Mexico. These paintings, together with the bultos (sculptures), comprise the majority of the collection.

Straw and corn husks were cut into geometric and floral forms and used to decorate wooden objects, such as crosses and boxes. Known as paja encrustada, this technique which simulated wood inlay, was probably introduced to New Mexico by the Franciscans. More about the Spanish Colonial collection»


Wooden MenagerieApril 6, 2014 to
February 15, 2015
The Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico
This exhibition celebrated the rich Hispano folk tradition of animal wood carving in New Mexico and the continued influence on the national and international scene. The exhibition highlights the historic roots of New Mexican woodcarvers, offering early twentieth century examples of whimsical animals including works by Jose Dolores Lopez and Celso Gallegos.



New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate y Más

Chocolate Storage jarIn the Hispanic Heritage Wing December 9, 2013 to
January 5, 2014.

This exhibition tells the tale of the earliest cultural mestizaje (mixing) to take place in the Americas through food. The exhibition highlights foods that originated in the New World and foods that were brought over from Europe via Spain and Asia via the Spanish Manila Galleons. Several special sections in the exhibition highlight specific food items. Two of these are chocolate and maté. The exhibition traces the origins of these two popular drinks, how they rose to popularity during the colonial period, and how they were introduced into European society and culture, and how they have become a strong component of popular culture today. More than 300 objects related to food harvesting, preparation, table settings, kitchen items and utilitarian and decorative implements illustrate the rich culinary traditions of the Americas. Interactive gallery activities include a scent station of new and old world herbs, shorts films about chocolate and mate, and a world map with food magnets, and a recipe exchange. This exhibition ignited a discussion about cuisine that continues during FUZE SW, an annual gathering of James Beard Award-Winning Chefs, anthropologists, archaeologists and the interested public, and in social media at Fuze SW Facebook page (Photo: by Kitty Leaken)

Century of Masters:
The NEA National Heritage Fellows of New Mexico

September 27, 2009- January 30, 2011

Charlie CarrilloEach year, The National Endowment for the Arts honors folk artists, storytellers, performers, and musicians throughout the United States for their contributions to traditional art forms. The National Heritage Fellows demonstrate artistic excellence and a commitment to their art forms through their processes, techniques, and transmission of the knowledge to others that strengthens and enriches their communities. New Mexicans are well-represented in this distinguished group of talented artists, especially given the size of the state's population. The Museum of International Folk Art holds é, retablos, and woodcarving. The exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Museum of New Mexico. The National Heritage Fellowship Artists from New Mexico as of 2011 are:

Charles M. Carrillo
(artist, santero) 2006
Helen Cordero (Cochiti potter, deceased) 1986
Frances Varos Graves (colcha embroiderer, deceased) 1994
George López (artist, woodcarver, deceased) 1982
Ramón José López (artist, santero) 1997
Esther Martinez (San Juan storyteller, deceased) 2006
Roberto & Lorenzo Martinez(musicians) 2003
Eliseo & Paula Rodriguez (artists, straw appliqué) 2004
Emilio & Senaida Romero (artists, tinwork, deceased) 1987
Margaret Tafoya (Santa Clara potter, deceased) 1984
Irvin Trujillo (Rio Grande weaver) 2007
Cleofes Vigil (storyteller, singer, deceased) 1984

Folk Art of the Andes
April 17, 2011 -September 9, 2012
A major exhibition - Folk Art of the Andes - features over 850 works of art from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This diverse group of Andean folk arts includes weaving, embroidery, woodcarving, ceramics, painting, and metalwork, reflecting the interweaving of indigenous craft traditions with European art forms and techniques. (Photo, above: Woman's Sidesaddle Stirrups, Argentina, early 19th century, Silver, 5" x 8.75". Photo by Blair Clark) The exhibition provides a window into the rich spirit and culture shared by the peoples of this highland region of South America through works ranging from costumes, jewelry, utilitarian items, and toys to those used in religious practices and festivals. The exhibit will be accompanied by a richly illustrated 300 page catalog. In addition, public programming related to the Andes will take place throughout the year. The exhibition closes in the Hispanic Heritage Wing September 9. 2012.