Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, is world-renowned for centering perspectives and voices of Indigenous people. The museum and its Laboratory of Anthropology work to conserve, educate, and celebrate the artistic, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the diverse people of the Native Southwest.
Opening doors to the past
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture opens doors and minds to the complex and diverse lifeways of Native American cultures past and present. Complete with stories and songs, telling of the origins and long history of the Native people of the Southwest, visitors can experience new forms of art or learn about the contemporary lives and lifeways of Indigenous populations of the Southwest.
Extensive Collections at Museum of indian Arts & Culture
The museum is steward to more than 75,000 exhibition-quality objects. Foremost among them are historic and contemporary pottery. The collection spans the mid-17th century to the present; ceramics and pot sherds constitute the oldest in the museum and represent all Pueblos and Tribal communities in the Southwest.
Expansive textile and clothing collections span the contact period and incorporate some of the earliest Navajo textiles in existence, dating from 1750 to 1803. The museum’s Navajo and Pueblo weavings are considered one of the finest Southwestern textile collections in the world and include a large selection of exemplary Navajo blankets from the 19th century.
There are other collections as well — baskets, jewelry, contemporary sculpture, and works on paper and canvas, and an extraordinary archaeological artifact, a 151-foot-long hunting net made from human hair around 1200 CE.
Repository of archaeological materials and archives
The museum’s archaeological collection is its largest and is an important part of New Mexico’s cultural heritage. Acting as the repository for the State of New Mexico, the museum curates archaeological materials from state lands and accepts donations from private land. It also cares for archaeological materials from Federal and Tribal lands within New Mexico, which are held as long-term loans.
Representing the largest assemblage of archaeological materials in New Mexico, the repository contains an estimated 8 million artifacts and samples cataloged by container, and approximately 35,000 individually cataloged artifacts, along with accompanying notes, maps, and photos.
The museum’s archive contains institutional and ethnographic records including 8,000 historic and contemporary images; manuscript archives documenting early Laboratory of Anthropology staff projects; and papers and correspondence relating to the history of anthropology in the Southwest.
Education programs serve students of all age groups and include pottery tours, weaving tours, native arts and history outreach, and others. The Living Traditions Education Program connects volunteers and docents to school tour groups.
There are volunteer opportunities with the museum, including participating in the Native Treasure Indian Arts Festival over Memorial Day weekend or testing your green thumb in the Native Gardens and Avanyu Trail.
Visiting the Museum
Museum of Indian Art & Culture is located on Museum Hill at 710 Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail. Visitors are welcome to stop by between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. From November through April, the museum is closed on Monday.
Researchers are also welcome to study the collections by making an appointment Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Follow the access procedures.
Admission for New Mexico residents is $7 for adults, seniors 60 or older, and students. Admission for nonresidents is $12. Children 16 and younger are free — as are adults on first Sundays and seniors on Wednesdays. An ID is required.
Come visit the museum at its extraordinary location on Museum Hill and be inspired by the art, history, and living cultures of the Southwest.
Top image: Craig Dan Goseyun (San Carlos Apache), Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer, 1995, bronze. Gift of Sam and Ethel Ballen, in memory of Nina Tesla Ballen. Photograph by Matthew Perez (Picuris/Cochiti Pueblos).