Santa Fe Botanical Garden
Published July 2014

Museum Musings

Visit five places on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill to ponder art, culture, and history

BYTeresa Bitler
Several of Santa Fe’s best museums aren’t on the Santa Fe Plaza. Instead, you’ll find them on the aptly named Museum Hill, roughly 2 miles from downtown. Plan to spend the day exploring the four museums here. When you need a break, head to lunch at the Museum Hill Café, stroll through the new Santa Fe Botanical Garden, or simply admire city views of quaint adobe buildings backed by the surrounding high-desert landscape.
 
Museum of International Folk Art

Home to the world’s largest collection of folk art, the Museum of International Folk Art displays artifacts ranging from masks and ceremonial dress to furniture and toys from more than 100 countries. The museum’s collection is displayed in four distinct wings: Bartlett, Girard, Hispanic Heritage, and Neutrogena. Exhibits in the past have included textiles, quilts, painters, embroidered dress, and kite making, but the long-term collection donated by architect Alexander Girard is a must-see. Folk miniatures from Girard’s 100,000-piece collection — which represents six continents and more than 100 countries — fill the space, many in diorama-like display. Since you won’t find informational plaques in the Girard Wing, consider a docent-led tour to learn more about the pieces. Or simply take it in, enjoying the artistry and whimsy. Interactive activities, including opportunities to create your own art, make this a great museum for families.
       
During the second weekend in July, the museum hosts the International Folk Art Market, a three-day event that takes over Museum Hill. More than 150 of the world’s best folk artists from 57 countries sell their wares, including textiles, baskets, jewelry, and ceramics. Purchases can be made for as little as $10 and continue upwards of $1,000. Be sure to read more about this astounding market in the feature, A Change of Art.
 
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
One of Santa Fe’s best Native American museums, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture tells the stories of the indigenous people of the Southwest through art, music, and exhibitions beginning with prehistoric times and continuing to present day New Mexico. Much of the space is dedicated to art and artifacts — such as paintings, statues, pottery, and blankets — but there also are displays related to relocation, housing, and trading posts.
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
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