Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

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Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe NM.jpg
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
LocationSanta Fe, New Mexico
TypeAnthropology museum
DirectorDella C. Warrior
Laboratory of Anthropology
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is located in New Mexico
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is located in the United States
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
Location708 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Coordinates35°39′52″N 105°55′28″W / 35.66444°N 105.92444°W / 35.66444; -105.92444Coordinates: 35°39′52″N 105°55′28″W / 35.66444°N 105.92444°W / 35.66444; -105.92444
Arealess than one acre
Built1931 (1931)
ArchitectJohn Gaw Meem
Architectural styleSpanish Pueblo Revival
NRHP reference No.83001630[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 12, 1983
Designated NMSRCPDecember 1, 1982

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology is a museum of Native American art and culture located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is one of eight museums in the state operated by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums as part of the Museum of New Mexico system. The museum and its programs are financially supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.[2]

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is dedicated to the accurate and culturally sensitive presentation of southwestern Native American cultures. Its mission statement emphasizes its intention to work closely with the Native communities of the region. Their director is Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria).[3]

The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology, through close collaboration with Native Communities, commits to respect Indigenous traditions and to inspire appreciation of the unique cultures of the Southwest.

The museum pursues collection development and preservation; conducts public education and outreach; facilitates research; and creates interpretive exhibitions of the arts, cultures, and histories of the American Southwest.


The following description of the museum's history is from the museum's Web site: [1]:

In response to unsystematic collecting by Eastern museums, anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett founded the Museum of New Mexico in 1909 with a mission to collect and preserve Southwestern Native American material culture. Several years later, in 1927, John D. Rockefeller founded the renowned Laboratory of Anthropology with a mission to study the Southwest's indigenous cultures. In 1947 the two institutions merged, bringing together the most inclusive and systematically acquired collection of New Mexican and Southwestern anthropological artifacts in the country.

The Laboratory's collection continued to expand but was largely unavailable to the general public for lack of adequate exhibition facilities. In 1977, the New Mexico legislature appropriated $2.7 million for the design of a new Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. The MIAC opened ten years later in 1987, immediately adjacent to the Laboratory, as the 31,000-square-foot (2,900 m2) exhibition facility for the Lab's extensive collections.

In the following years, planning began for additional exhibition and collections storage space in the 21,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) Amy Rose Bloch Wing and the revolutionary new exhibition Here, Now & Always, which opened in August, 1997. This groundbreaking permanent exhibition, developed by a core curatorial team composed of Southwest Indian peoples and museum professionals, incorporates the voices of more than 75 Native Americans. Here, Now & Always tells the rich, complex and diverse stories of Native Americans in the Southwest through their own words and some 1,300 objects drawn from the Museum's collections.

In January 1930, Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur approved the appointment of archeologist Jesse L. Nusbaum, Director of the Mesa Verde National Park, as the first Acting Director of the new Laboratory of Anthropology. Jesse L. Nusbaum has already worked on several projects under archeologist Edgar Lee Hewett, particularly on Mesa Verde National Park.


External video
video icon Santa Fe's Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (6:55), C-SPAN[4]

Object collections at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture are divided administratively into "Individually Catalogued Collections," which include typological collections of Southwestern textiles, pottery, baskets, jewelry, contemporary art, and artifacts chronicling the everyday life of New Mexico's long period of human habitation. As the state repository for archaeological materials, the Museum has the responsibility to care for and maintain all artifacts excavated on state-owned land. Its Archaeological Research Collection contains artifacts numbering between 5 and 10 million. (As these artifacts are stored as "bulk" collections, and not catalogued individually, an exact count is unknown.


The Museum has a regularly changing schedule of temporary exhibitions, which draw on the strengths of its collection. Long-term exhibitions on view at the museum include:

The Buchsbaum Gallery of Southwestern Pottery, which contains nearly 300 ceramic vessels created by artists of the Pueblos of New Mexico and Arizona. Objects on display range from those created near the inception of pottery-making in the Southwest up to the present.

Here, Now & Always, a major exhibition that documents the Southwest's indigenous communities and their challenging landscapes. Here, Now and Always includes more than 1,300 objects from the Museum's collection accompanied by poetry, story, song and scholarly discussion.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Museum of New Mexico Foundation
  3. ^ "Indian Education Leader Della Warrior to Direct Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/New Mexico Laboratory of Anthropology." Southwest Indian Archaeology Today. Retrieved 12 Aug 2013.
  4. ^ "Santa Fe's Museum of Indian Arts and Culture". C-SPAN. January 10, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.

External links[edit]