Trails, Rails, and Highways Exhibition Tour
This exhibition examines how trade transformed the arts of New Mexico through centuries of modifications, from the ancestral Puebloan trails of prehistory to the cyber trails of today. Six themes, traced chronologically, fill most of the galleries in the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Among the 101 pieces on display, all but one are from the Society’s permanent collections and nearly half are by former and current Spanish Market artists.
Spanish Market Youth Artists Gallery Tour
This exhibition is located in the historic kitchen of the Director’s Residence, now the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Twenty-eight pieces representing eight of the Spanish Market art categories are displayed. The youth artists range in age from seven to eighteen years old. The quality of the artwork is truly adorable and highly accomplished. Several youth artists continue within their artistic traditions and jury into Spanish Market as adult artists.
Behind-the-Scenes Permanent Collections Tours
Bultos and Straw Appliqué Vault Tour
This vault houses our bulto (3-D saint sculpture) and straw appliqué collections. The bultos range from the late 18th century to contemporary Spanish Market examples with both painted and unpainted works and comparative painted bultos from other Spanish colonies. The straw appliqué collection reveals the simple beginnings that have been expanded through the years into elaborate variations of form, subject, and color.
Retablos, Tinwork, and Precious Metals Vault Tour
This vault houses our retablo (2-D saint painting), tinwork, and precious metals collections. New Mexican wood panel retablos range from the late 18th century to contemporary Spanish Market examples. Mexican tin and copper plate retablos are also represented. The extensive tinwork collection is visible at a glance on wall-mounted screens. Precious metals are used primarily for jewelry and the filigree work is exquisite. Other luxury items and devotional accessories for personal and congregational activities are also represented.
Textiles Vault Tour
This vault houses our flat and constructed textiles. Noteworthy among them is the published H. P. Mera collection of historic Rio Grande weavings that are enhanced by contemporary Hispanic weavings and historic Mexican weavings. Included in this vault are jerga floor coverings, colcha embroideries, and silk shawls, along with a small but important collection of hide paintings.
Furniture and Large Artifacts Storage Tour
This large storage room houses our furniture and oversized collections. The furniture is arranged by form with multiple examples of cabinets, chests, boxes, tables, benches, chairs, and shelves. Among the oversized items are large canvas paintings from South America and death carts with Doña Sebastiana, several from northern New Mexico moradas. Also located in this storage area are metal vessels, tools, and agricultural/livestock items.
The historic building that houses our display galleries, known as the Director’s Residence, is an outstanding example of Santa Fe’s Pueblo-Spanish Revival architectural style. This tour highlights the basic tenets of Santa Fe Style, describes the influential architects and historians who formulated these design efforts that transformed the City, and examines the architectural features of this building, especially those Spanish-derived details that inspired the architect’s draftsmen.
The Santa Fe Trail, connecting transportation and trade routes from the eastern states to Mexico and the West, traveled through southeastern Santa Fe into the center of town. In the area around Museum Hill, the braided Trail found many routes around obstacles like drainages and dense vegetation. Our site contains three archaeological easements that preserve these fragmented segments. This tour highlights the significance of the Santa Fe Trail and reveals our best segment.
Landscape and Gardens Tour
This tour examines the natural landscape and cultivated gardens surrounding the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. The variety of plants that create the typical pinyon-juniper woodland are described. Through the seasons, the garden plants provide flowers, fruits, and leaves that add color to the landscape. The Artsts’ Garden and the Mexican House are highlights along the way.