The Albuquerque Museum is in Albuquerque’s Old Town.
Old Town is not far from the Rio Grande river and train tracks that spurred growth in western communities in the nineteen hundreds. Old Town is a part of Albuquerque that is older than the city itself, originally a stopping point for Spanish explorers looking for their ” seven cities of gold. ”
Founded in the 1700’s and named after a Duke in Spain, Albuquerque is still a footnote to big brother Santa Fe that came of age in the 1500’s. We have a mix of Indians, Spanish, Europeans. We have cowboys, farmers, mad scientists. We are a melange of old, new, secular and spiritual, all explained by the state nickname ” Land of Enchantment. ”
The Museum is free today and filled with school kids. One room we enjoy features New Mexico artists. Another features the historical development of the ” Duke” city. Another is closed for construction with a sign apologizing for the inconvenience.
Neal and Joan, visiting from Colorado on their way to watch their daughter Calley graduate from college in Flagstaff, Arizona, make this time special.
We walk around sculptures of coyotes, a small resilient mammal that lives on its wits, adaptability, and curiosity. There are groups of kids sitting on a floor in the entry to an exhibit looking for their homes on an Albuquerque map recreated on that floor. There is a portrait of artist Raymond Jonson who dined in our home and mentored our artist mother. There are oil paintings of religious scenes,native Indians summoning Spirits from other worlds, and portraits of stern city founders with their wives.
One black and white framed photograph on an exhibit wall is of a solitary man wearing a hat and standing in the middle of an empty mesa by a sign saying” Nob Hill.”
Nob Hill was then the edge of town, fit only for jackrabbits, coyotes, rattlesnakes and buzzards. Now, it is trendy. There are shops and restaurants and the area is a playground for University of New Mexico students with live music, brew pubs, used book stores and boutiques.
New Mexico has turquoise and silver jewelry, beautiful hand thrown pots, the Kiva, cliff dwellings, the atomic bomb, Indian rugs, roadrunners, top secret research facilities, military bases and Indian reservations. We have Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Los Alamos National Labs, Chaco Canyon, and the Catwalk.
New Mexico holds to its past firmly as we barrel into the future.
It is like holding a horse blanket as you ride a rocket into space.