USS New Mexico sets sail to Los Lunas

The NMHM has facilitated the loan of a USS New Mexico model battleship to the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts for their exhibition: New Mexico’s Navy, which will be on display June 26, 2021 through August 21, 2021.

The model of the USSNM being packed to travel to Los Lunas.

The exhibition highlights the fact that although New Mexico is landlocked, there are 95 U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine vessels that have been named after noteworthy people and geographic features in this desert state. John Taylor’s book, New Mexico’s Navy, details these ships, namesakes, images, and histories. Taylor has worked with the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage & Arts to honor these vessels and the men and women that called them home.

There is a video of a presentation by John Taylor about his book New Mexico’s Navy, on the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts Facebook page:

A detail of the USSNM model.

From the Collection: Fix a Flat

On blocks: Horse-drawn hearse used in the Santa Rita mining area of SW New Mexico, ca. 1910-1919. NMHM/DCA 003820.45

“Look Ma, no wheels!” Protection and conservation of objects are two of the most important duties of any museum, and the NMHM is no exception. Earlier this week we worked with Dept of Cultural Affairs’s Museum Resources Division staff Tim Jag, David Levine, and Angela Duckwall to remove the damaged wheels off of our early 20th century hearse. A couple of special, large sized wrenches and a few tugs later, all of the wheels were safely and carefully removed. The wheels will be sent out for conservation – new rubber! – so we can safely move the hearse in the future and ensure its public enjoyment for years to come.

Removing a wheel.
Detail of the dust cover on a wheel hub.
It’s always good to have options when it comes to tools.

Please look out for our wheel-less hearse as it remains on exhibit in our current show, Looking Back: Reflecting on Collections, on view in the Herzstein Gallery. Look out for a future post in the next couple of months when we reattach the newly-treated wheels. You can also check out the hearse with its wheels in place in the virtual version of Looking Back.

Conservator Angela Duckwall inspecting elements within a wheel hub.
Close up of the aged rubber on one of the wheels. In many cases, bindings were needed to keep the deteriorating rubber in place on the wheels.

For more information on the Looking Back exhibit which examines the nature of collections and collecting, check out this curator talk with Alicia Romero and Hannah Abelbeck.

From The Collection:

Hewn wooden cross made for and used in the “Milagro Beanfield War” film (1988) directed by Robert Redford and shot in Truchas, NM. The inscription reads: “Miracle Valley Project, / Rest in Peace / El Brazo Onofre” and measures 35.5” high and 17.5” wide. Redford initially donated the piece to the Museum of International Folk Art before it was transferred to the History Museum.

NMHM/DCA 11460.45

From the Collection

The piece in its chair orientation. NMHM/DCA 974.45

A chair and step stool combination, c. 1870-1880. Most step stools, being utilitarian, are plain wood or metal, but this one is covered in beautiful needlepoint. Perhaps it was to prevent slipping? The item was said to have been brought to New Mexico over the Santa Fe Trail.
The twill tape ties on the legs in the first photograph indicate to Collections staff that the chair comes apart at that point and to be careful when lifting the object.

Here the piece is deployed as a step ladder. NMHM/DCA 974.45

From the Collection

NMHM/DCA 2825.45a-b

Swiss made, hunter case, key wind pocket watch, c. 1850-1890. Manufactured by Moulinie, Geneva, possibly Moulinie and Legrandroy. The pocket watch has an 18 K gold case with blue enameled front and back, and seed pearl decoration. Full jeweled works on the interior. The original owner of this pocket watch was a woman and so the watch has been identified as a woman’s watch, but for the most part pocket watches were not made specifically for men or for women. However, women usually gravitated toward the smaller sized pocket watches. This one is small at 1 ½” in diameter. This pocket watch can be seen on exhibit in Telling New Mexico.
NMHM/DCA 2825.45a-b

The pocketwatch with its case closed. NMHM/DCA 2825.45a-b

From the Collection

Rollerskates owned by Josefita Manderfield, NMHM/DCA 01549.45ab

Do you skate?

In 1907, children roller skating on sidewalks became a huge issue for the people of Las Vegas, NM. It even sparked debate in the city council.

One letter writer to the Las Vegas Daily Optic asked, “If the children roller skate, why do they do any more harm than the baby buggies and go-carts? Why not make the women go out in the street and wheel their babies there? And I wonder if the mayor and the city council were ever children. And why don’t New York, Chicago and St. Louis, Kansas City and even Albuquerque make them stop skating? Because they like to see the children have fun, and why don’t Las Vegas?”

Another citizen wrote that “It must be a pretty, crusty old curmudgeon who would seek to prevent the harmless amusement the children have been extracting from roller skating.”

Surely, these late 19th century Smith & Griggs Manufacturing Co. roller skates, made of metal, wood, and cast iron, saw many good times on the feet of Josefita “Pepe” Manderfield when she was a child in Santa Fe.

From the Collection

NMHM/DCA 01542.45 Gift of Josefita Manderfield Otero

Spanish Playing Cards, late 1800s
This deck of Spanish playing cards was donated to the New Mexico History Museum by Josefita Manderfield Otero.

Originally of Chinese origin, playing cards were adopted in Mamluk Egypt by the 14th century and then spread to the Iberian Peninsula in the latter part of that century. By 1380 naipero (card-maker), was a recognized profession. The four suits are bastos (clubs), oros (gold coins), copas (cups), and espadas (swords). Spanish suited cards are used in Spain, Southern Italy, France, Latin America, North Africa and the Philippines. Unlike the suits found in Northern Italy, the swords on Spanish cards are straight, and the clubs are knotty instead of being depicted as ceremonial batons. Several of the cards from this deck can be seen in the History Museum’s exhibition, Telling New Mexico.

From the Collection

NMHM/DCA 11837.45

A 19th century measuring box known as a media fanega (or a half fanega). It is made of milled pine and enforced with metal strips, and has a leather handle. A fanega was an old Spanish unit of measurement usually used to measure grains. The measure varied from region to region in the Spanish-speaking Americas.
This object is just one of approximately 16,000 objects in the history museum’s collections. These objects are not just used for exhibit, but are often used for research.

Recently, a scholar studying the different Spanish units of measurement requested dimensions of several of these measuring units. From these internal dimensions, he calculated this media fanega at 2,428.3 cubic inches. His research calculates that an official standard set by the 1852 New Mexico territorial legislature for the unit measurement of the media fanega was 2,476.25 cubic inches. Thus, he determined that of all the media fanegas in the museum’s collection from that time period, this media fanega was the closest to that official measurement.

The collections staff thanks all the scholars and researchers who continue to provide extended knowledge to our object records.

From the Collection

Slim Green saddle, History Collections NMHM/DCA 2012.023.005

Did you know?
The New Mexico History Museum has seventy saddles in our collection that range from the 17th through the 20th century. Some of them were pack saddles meant to carry heavy loads, while some of them were made for show. We have saddles made in the colonial Mexican tradition, some made by Native people, and some created by well-known saddle makers, such as this one by Austin “Slim” Green (1916-2008).

This hand-tooled leather stock saddle was made in the 1970s for John Egan of the Rancho Encantado (previously Rancho del Monte) area near Santa Fe.

Originally from Oklahoma, Slim Green moved to northern New Mexico following World War II and further refined his talents working with leather. Slim Green was a co-founder of the Rodeo de Santa Fe, taught Tesuque elementary kids leather craft, and produced custom-made saddles for people all over the country. We’re lucky to have one of his saddles!

You can see more of Slim Green’s work at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, where his workshop and tools permanently reside.

Check out this 2012 post on Slim Green and our beloved Cowboys exhibition. 

The Things They Gave (2010 Donations to the Museum)

Behind a secure door in the lower level of the History Museum sits a cavernous storehouse reminiscent of that final warehouse scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The museum’s collections storage area boasts some of the most state-of-the-art qualities for preserving everything from ancient Pueblo artifacts to the recently honored Centennial license plate. Despite the bounty the museum already owns, we still actively collect items for future exhibitions, for researchers, and to ensure we have representative samples of every era of our history.

Thanks to our devoted fans, we came into quite a few “new” items in 2010, and thought you’d enjoy perusing the full list–everything from WPA chairs to a printing press to a commemorative bottle of Jim Beam liquor with, yes, the liquor still intact. (By the way, if you have something you think might be of interest, slip an e-mail to our Collections Manager and Registrar, Wanda Edward at

Drumroll, please:

National Park Service hat and original storage box.

Dress, early 1970s.

Three framed artworks by unknown artists from the Santa Fe Indian School.

Portfolio:  When the Two Came to Their Father,  Princeton University, 1943, Princeton, NJ.

These are 18 serigraph plates (18 x 24 inches) in a portfolio, based on original works that were executed in cornmeal and pollen on buckskin. They document a ceremony that was revived at the outset of WWII to prepare young Navajo men for military service. Jeff King was a tribal religious leader who revived the ceremonial and celebrated it for Navajo soldiers leaving for war. Text and paintings were recorded by Maud Oakes. Introduction is by Joseph Campbell.  This was the very first publication issued in the distinguished Bollingen series issued by Princeton University.  This rare first edition is not listed in any Museum of New Mexico library collections. This original edition became available after the purchase of  a reprint portfolio, and includes the accompanying book by Oakes and Campbell.

Polaroid prints taken in the 1970s.

Artist H. Joe Waldrum first began taking SX-70 Polaroid prints to capture details for his paintings.  Over time the Polaroid prints began to take on an art form of their own.  The result is this collection of almost 8,000 prints of churches, flowers, fruit, architecture and people.  This priceless collection documents many of the churches of New Mexico.  The Polaroid prints are the first of several planned donations from the estate of H. Joe Waldrum. (They were recently featured in the museum’s exhibit A Passionate Light.)

Museum of New Mexico Film and Video Collection and equipment. Transferred from Museum Resources to Photo Archives.

Priest’s cassock and sash.

Brown Franciscan robe with white knotted cord.

Thirty- eight 8 x 10 silver gelatin prints.

Two 1930s photographs of the Alamogordo Dam project.

Seven 16 x 20 photographs by Anne Noggle.

Women’s clothing.

The donor’s family has lived in New Mexico for several generations.  The donation includes a wedding crown, pink dress (1962), sheer navy dress (1930-1940s), navy and blue mantilla (1950s?) and 1 digital copy of the donor wearing the wedding crown for her wedding in 1972.  It was worn by donor’s grandmother for her 1912 wedding.  This will be the second wedding crown in the museum’s collections.

Boy’s clothing and toy.

The donor was born in Las Cruces on July 20, 1940.  He wore this suit for his first birthday.  The donation also includes his hand-knitted sailor hat and toy dog.  We have a digital photo of Dodson wearing the suit and standing in front of a marshmallow bunny cake.  This donation will broaden our collection of WWII era children’s’ clothing.

Silver and turquoise business card holder.

This silver holder with a piece of turquoise was given to the Director on the opening of NMHM by Ben Lujan, Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Material associated with the issue of the Bill Mauldin stamp.

Bill Mauldin, well known cartoonist, was born in New Mexico.  The ceremony unveiling the stamp was held at the New Mexico History Museum.  Materials include first day of issue stamps and envelopes and a framed display of the stamps with Bill Mauldin’s image.

Four First day of Issue stamps on envelopes.

The stamps all relate to New Mexico: Georgia O’Keefe, Spanish Settlement, Palace of the Governors, and Dennis Chavez.   They will be added to the library’s growing collection of stamps honoring New Mexico.

Formed display of new Zia New Mexico Stamp.

The First Day of Issue ceremony was held at the New Mexico History Museum.


The uniforms are from the New Mexico Military Institute and the National Park Service, Bandelier.  They were worn by the donor and date from 1996-98 and 2000 respectively.

Photographs by Dimitri Baltermants.

Scrapbook created by Fray Angélico Chávez relating to Chávez family.

Scrapbook relating to the Paul A. F. Walter Jr. family.

Walter, son of Santa Fe newspaperman Paul A. F. Walter Sr., was assistant director of the Museum of New Mexico and the School of American Research. He became the first director of the University of New Mexico Press and was the longtime editor of El Palacio magazine.

Papers relating to Olivia Tsosie.

The 9 boxes of materials pertain to the Santa Fe River Project, Agua Fria Village, Spanish horses, and family materials.

Papers and one dress belonging to Jesusita Acosta Morales.

Morales was New Mexico Secretary of State in 1928.  The donation consists of 4 boxes of newspaper clippings, photos, letters, embroidery art work and a flapper–style dress.

Small NM flag and paper ephemera associated with the commissioning of the USS New Mexico submarine in 2010.

Cap with insignia of USS New Mexico submarine.

CDs of interviews of 40 individuals who served in the battleship USS New Mexico during WW II.

Commemorative objects relating to the newly commissioned submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779).

Cap, patch, poster, mug, and pin, all with the submarine’s logo.

Donation of two towels with the USS New Mexico (SSN 779) crest and two DVDs on the commissioning of the submarine.

Materials pertaining to John Stewart Harvey Sr. and the Fred Harvey Company.

Donation of papers associated with Fred Harvey and other family members.

Materials include date books, letter books, code books, clippings, photographs, and letters dating from the 1860s-1880s.

Donation of Fiesta clothing for men, women and children; also a black dress worn by Emma Dixon in the 1920s.

Book, Trail of an Artist Naturalist: the Autobiography of Ernest Thompson Seton.

Framed print of clay sparrow by Ernest Thompson Seton.

A framed letter from the director of the Office of Indian Affairs, dated February 24, 1923.

Four boxes of papers pertaining to La Herencia magazine; correspondence, essay drafts, photographs, and financial matters.

La Herencia began publication in 1994 in Santa Fe.  La Herencia, a quarterly publication, was founded by Santa Fe native Ana Pacheco, in response to the rapid decline of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture of New Mexico.   The magazine has ceased publication.

Papers pertaining to the Johnson family, collected by Dove Brown.

Abstract of Title, plat maps, legal and tax documents, correspondence, postcards, and miscellaneous documentary items for Colorado, Illinois and New Hampshire.

Three linear feet of papers from Tigges Planning Consultants.

Traffic, development and master plans.

Framed hand-painted photographs from the Ulibarri family in New Mexico; Ana Maria Montano and Jose Eluojio Ulibarri.

Four archival pigment prints of New Mexico scenes, 2006-2007.

Richard Wilder photograph of Laura Gilpin’s House, 1980.

Production photographs from the Santa Fe Opera, 1960-1980.

Commemorative Jim Beam bottle depicting the Palace of the Governors, 1610-1960.

Donation of 1960s clothing.

Donation of cap, photograph and La Fonda Hotel brochure dated 1954.

Two boxes of materials pertaining to the Santa Fe Historical Society, 1967-1990s.

Albuquerque aviation medal.

Materials related to Gustave Baumann.

Artwork, wood blocks, hand tools, books, personal items.

Eight Civil War era letters

Twenty six black and white glass slides of pre-revolutionary Mexico, mostly along the border.

Donation of two coins.

One coin is a Spanish silver 2 reales, minted 1775.  The other is an American copper one-cent coin, minted 1850.

Three silver 8 reales pieces.

Donation of papers from the 1960s pertaining to New Mexico and Arizona.

Materials include maps, Santa Fe Opera programs, and research materials on the Acequia Madre.

Donation  of 1960s clothing worn in New Mexico.

Donation of commemorative material associated with the 400th Anniversary of Santa Fe.

Items include drinking glasses, lapel pins, coins, CDs, books, and magazines.

Donation of memorabilia  associated with Governor and Mrs. Bill Richardson.

Items include invitations to the White House and the governor’s inaugurations, name tags and name plate, a scrapbook documenting the governors’ career from 1970-1980, a presentation piece from Mexico, and jackets and vests relating to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Rail Runner, and New Mexico Rodeo Council. Mrs. Richardson has donated the suit she wore to the swearing in ceremony and the gown she wore for the inaugural gala. Governor Richardson has donated the suit he wore for his inauguration.

Donation of furniture made in Mexico and New Mexico including a chest, table, mirror, two silver sconces and three New Mexican tin lamps.

Donation of a painted tin ex-voto of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Purchase of  a retablo with an image of Santa Barbara painted by Don Bernardo Miera y Pacheco (1714-1785).

Miera y Pacheco was one of the earliest Santeros in New Mexico to be known by name with documented works associated with him. The purchase was made possible through generous donations by Kay Harvey, Marilynn and Carl Thoma, Terra Foundation, Linda and Leroy Clark, and an anonymous donor.

Donation of a medallion commemorating Carlos V.

Presented to the director of the museum by SEACEX while she was in Spain.

Purchase of a Christmas ornament depicting the New Mexico Capitol Building.

Donation of  the Quentin Hulse Collection which includes books, artwork, photographs and personal items.

Quentin Hulse (1926-2002) was a well-known ranger, hunter, trapper, and guide who lived and worked at the bottom of Canyon Creek in the Gila River Wilderness for over 50 years.

Donation of a collection of books and periodicals on photography.

Donation of photographs of the mining town of Hagen, New Mexico.

Donation of photographs of New Mexico doors by Gustavo Castilla.

Donation of a collection of photographs including stereo views, cabinet cards, cyanotypes, and postcards of New Mexico scenes and pueblos.

Donation of a panorama photograph of Deming, New Mexico, 1917.

Donation of two home movies recording ceremonial dances at the Palace of the Governors with singing by Maria Martinez (1960s) and a Gallup Ceremonial.

Donation of a collection of photographs of the Santa Fe Opera, 1967-68.  Gift of Randall Bell.

Donation of a collection of photographs, papers from the Photographic Society of America and the Santa Fe Camera Club, 35mm slides, and cameras from the estate of Roy Elliott Barker (1911-2005).

Barker worked for the New Mexico Fish and Game Department from the 1930s until he retired in the 1960s.  He produced over 25, 000 slides of the Barker family in New Mexico, the vernacular architecture of the state, and scenes of landscapes and wild life.  His work was published in the New Mexico Magazine and Arizona Highways.

Donation of photographs of New Mexico, 1920s.

Donation of photographs of buildings in Santa Fe, 1918-1925.

Donation of photographs produced by Miguel Gandert and Anne Noggle.

Collection of clothing worn in New Mexico in the 1970s.

Donation of a Bobcat Press.

Gift of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System.

Donation of a rosary created by a prisoner in Central New Mexico Correctional Facility.

Donation of items from Diane Denish’s term as Lieutenant Governor.

Framed bill signed by her, 2 portraits, gavel, and a shovel used in the ground breaking for the Navajo Nation water project.

Donation of original and photocopied items pertaining to the history of the USS Santa Fe, 1940s-1990s.

Donation of 0.25 linear feet of materials pertaining to the St. James Hotel and Cimarron, NM, including photographs, scrapbook, and newspaper clippings

Donation of silver gelatin prints by Barbara Van Cleve.

Donation of original signed prints by Henry Tefft (12 binders, 3 boxes).

Donation of photographs taken between 1868 and 2008, including images produced by William Henry Jackson and Memphis Barbree.

Donation of bottle opener from the De Vargas Hotel (1920s).

Donation of materials pertaining to the SS Columbus (the German crew was held at Ft. Stanton during WW II).

Donation of silver gelatin prints (1930-1940) created by Jack Hull, editor of the Clovis Times and diaries (1941-1947) of Iretus D. Johnson, only dentist in Clovis at that time.

Donation of four chairs made by WPA artist Eliseo Rodriguez, circa 1938.

Donation of an iron hide scrapper and iron spoon.

Donation of 1970s iconic pins and badge