What Is the Albuquerque Museum?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

The Albuquerque Museum is an art and history museum located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The museum focuses primarily on the art traditions and cultural history of the American Southwest, particularly in New Mexico. In addition to permanent and revolving exhibits, the Albuquerque Museum features many educational and entertainment programs for local residents and visitors.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Founded in 1967, the museum was initially housed in New Mexico's largest airport, the Albuquerque International Sunport. After a ten years of growth, the collection was moved to a custom-designed location in downtown Albuquerque in the late 1970s. Following three more decades of significant collecting, the structure was expanded in 2005 to house the vastly improved collection of art, history, and photography exhibits.

The Albuquerque Museum is open year-round, with a limited holiday schedule. Discounted admission is available for military personnel, large groups, and young students. The museum also offers free admission on some days of the year; information is regularly updated on the museum's website.

The art housed in the Albuquerque Museum features a wide variety of styles and media that focus on New Mexican and Southwest traditions. Exhibits include paintings, miniatures, sculptures, and decorative arts. With more than 7,000 pieces of art, the museum includes examples of Native American, colonial Spanish, Latin American, and contemporary regional art. In addition to the permanent collection, temporary exhibits are displayed at the museum, often highlighting the work of a particular artist or tradition.

The permanent historical collection at the Albuquerque museum is centered around artifacts and items from the last four centuries of New Mexican history. Emphasis is placed on early Spanish settlements in the region, and the development of trade routes throughout Albuquerque and New Mexico. Exhibits include maps, armor, and life accounts of settlers in the region. A large photo-based archive helps track recent history, with some acquired photographs dating back to the 1880s. The historical collection also features rotating exhibits that relate to their central theme.

In addition to the main art and history programs at the Albuquerque Museum, it is also a venue for events, education, and entertainment. Throughout the year, the museum hosts nights of live music, including salsa and jazz evenings. Students of all ages can enroll in classes that focus on art and history at the museum on a regular basis. School tours for elementary and secondary students are also offered as enrichment. The entire facility can also be rented out for special events, and is a popular wedding venue.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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