Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

What's on View at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Opened in 1998, the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum highlights the state's rich agricultural history and heritage. This interactive museum is a favorite with children for its blacksmithing, cooking, craftmaking, and milking demonstrations, as well as for the livestock that live on the museum grounds. Rotating exhibits also offer artistic interpretations of local culture and terrain, while film screenings and educational programs are available throughout the year. Communications Manager Craig Massey took us on a virtual tour of the museum and its many highlights. Below, in his own words, are a few favorite features.

The Historic Green Bridge. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

The Historic Green Bridge is the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s largest artifact. Listed on the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties in 1997, the bridge was identified in a 1987 bridge survey as New Mexico's oldest and longest Pratt through-truss bridge with pinned connections, the second-oldest surviving highway bridge in the state, and the state’s oldest steel highway bridge. The structure, which has delivered New Mexicans across rivers since 1902, is 133 feet long and 16 feet wide. The museum is its third and final home, where it provides access across the Tortugas Arroyo to the museum’s South 20 exhibits.

Chile peppers. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

The exhibit, Red or Green? The Origins and Cultural Significance of the Chile Pepper in New Mexico, is one of the more popular temporary exhibits the museum has had on display in recent years. The exhibit focuses on New Mexico chile varieties, their history and evolution, and how they came to have such a central place in the state’s culture. The exhibit is on display through Sept. 18, 2011.

Image from the Dust Bowl era. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

The Dust Bowl not only was a national story, but also a New Mexico story. A temporary exhibit at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum revisits this dramatic time in our history and sheds light on the causes, effects, and aftermath of the environmental and human disaster that crept into the eastern edge of the state in the 1930s. The Dust Bowl: Dark Times in New Mexico is on display through Aug. 21, 2011. Through the use of text, dramatic photographs, and oral histories, visitors are introduced to a story that came to symbolize the despair of the Great Depression era.

Billy Provence giving a demonstration in the blacksmith shop. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

The blacksmith shop is one of the more popular stops for tour groups. The blacksmith gives demonstrations each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, explaining the importance of metal work in the development of the West. Blacksmithing is one of several regular demonstrations at the museum.

A milking demonstration. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

Twice each day, a cow is brought into the barn for a milking demonstration. This activity is especially popular with the many groups of schoolchildren that visit the museum. Aside from dairy cattle, the museum has beef cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, sheep, and goats.

New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum
4100 Dripping Springs Road
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011

Categories: 

Add new comment