Historic Scissors to cut the Ribbon at NMHM Grand Opening

History Makes the Cut!

A Pair of 18th-Century Scissors Will Help
Cut the Ribbon At Museum’s Grand Opening

18th-century Spanish scribe’s scissors

Santa Fe, N.M., May 22, 2009 – When the Grand Opening ribbon is cut at the brand-new New Mexico History Museum on Sunday, May 24, it will be in historical style. A pair of 18th-century Spanish scribe’s scissors have been loaned to the Museum by longtime supporter Jerry Richardson, a Museum of New Mexico Foundation trustee.

The scissors were purchased by Richardson in 2002 at an antiques show in Santa Fe. Described to Richardson as “scribe’s shears or scissors,” they were dated to the early 18th century, but believed to be even older. In that earlier era, villagers who could not read or write themselves went to a scribe when they wanted to send someone a letter. They dictated the letter to the scribe, who had a long roll of paper, pen, ink and a pair of scissors. After writing the letter, the scribe would cut it off the roll, thereby conserving the remaining paper.

“I am very pleased that these historic scribe’s scissors are going to be used for the very historic occasion of the opening of the New Mexico History Museum,” said Richardson, a founding member of Los Compadres del Palacio, the group that began working on the Museum about 20 years ago. “It has always been my hope that they would someday become part of the collections there and now, with this linkage, they are even more appropriate for the collections.”

The ribbon-cutting begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 24, in the Palace of the Governors Courtyard. Speakers will include:

  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
  • Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, for whom the Museum building is named
  • Dr. Frances Levine, director of the Museum
  • Stuart Ashman, secretary of the Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Alvin Warren, secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs
  • Ambassador Patricia Espinosa, Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry
  • Spanish Ambassador to the United States D. Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo

New Mexico History Museum
at 113 Lincoln Avenue, just behind the Palace of the Governors on the Santa Fe Plaza
Museum Front Desk: 505-476-5200

For more information about the New Mexico History Museum, including a selection of user-ready high-resolution photographs, log onto http://media.museumofnewmexico.org/nmhm. More than 8,000 additional, high-resolution photographs illustrating the history of New Mexico are available by keyword search at www.palaceofthegovernors.org (click on “Photo Archives” then on “Digitized Collections”). Most requests for scans from this site can be delivered the same day, and usage is free for publicity purposes only.

The New Mexico Rail Runner will operate its Saturday schedule (http://www.nmrailrunner.com/schedule.asp) on May 24 and 25 to accommodate opening-weekend visitors. In addition, all four of the state’s Santa Fe-based museums will have free admission on both days: the Museum of Art (http://www.nmartmuseum.org/); the Museum of International Folk Art (http://www.internationalfolkart.org/); and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (http://www.indianartsandculture.org/).

Previous releases:
High-Tech Techniques Bring New Mexico’s Past to Life

Join the Stampede! New Mexico History Museum’s Grand Opening

Riding the Rails… in Style

Four Centuries of History: the Fiestas de Santa Fe

Duty, Sacrifice, Honor

Where ancient artifacts meet cutting-edge art

Fashioning New Mexico

The Tiffany Ties that Bind

The Railroad Wars

The New Face of History

The Tales that Made the American West

New Mexico History Museum’s Core Exhibits

Telling the People’s Stories: A Message from the Director

Creating a Place for Our Past, by Dr. Frances Levine, El Palacio, Summer 2006

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Media Contacts:
Kate Nelson
New Mexico History Museum
505 476 1141

Rachel Mason
Ballantines PR
505 216 0889