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“Great Museum, Need to Improve Their Tours”

New Mexico History Museum
Ranked #5 of 261 things to do in Santa Fe
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Opened May 24, 2009 just behind the historic Palace of the Governors, the New Mexico History Museum takes over the role of being the state's history museum from the Palace of the Governor's which is now part of the history campus.
Level Contributor
148 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Great Museum, Need to Improve Their Tours”
Reviewed 17 August 2014

The museum itself is fascinating, offering a good overview of New Mexico from pre-historic to modern times. The second floor exhibits, particularly the one on pinhole photography, were well worth the entry fee which, by the way, also gets you into the palace of Governors across the courtyard. The guide seemed knowledgeable but it was difficult to hear her over the sounds coming from the exhibits.
The Palace of Governors (longest standing continually occupied building in the US) was fascinating. Glass covered holes in the floor reveal ruins of the earlier Pueblo building that was discovered when they excavated.

Visited August 2014
Thank foodieschmoodie44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,117 reviews from our community

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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
315 reviews
201 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
“Definitely worth visiting”
Reviewed 15 August 2014

If you're new to New Mexico, you'll get a good orientation to its past by going through the chronological display of New Mexican history, from ancient times through the Spanish colonial era and the Mexican era to the American era. The displays are easy to grasp, and the information is in English and Spanish (a great idea that other museums should follow, as European museums now often have English translations to help tourists). True, the basement displays are disorganized but the main historical material is on the main floor. In summer 2014 the pinhole photography exhibit didn't interest me, but there was a small show of nature photographs by Joan Myers that included brilliant images. You might have to be an art historian or a Roman Catholic to appreciate fully the show of Virgin Mary images borrowed from local and other American museums and churches as well as from foreign owners, but anyone might find the images striking and impressive. Many of the images date from the 18th century. These displays are very well labeled, so all visitors can get whatever information they are likely to want. I didn't rate this as excellent because I think a couple of other places in Santa Fe are even more exciting, but this is really an important place to visit and you'll learn a lot, easily and pleasantly, when you are there.

Visited August 2014
Thank Carol K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
119 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 August 2014

The museum is housed in two buildings, and neither one has a simple, chronological map to guide you. The relatively meager collection does provide an overview of the state's long history, but it comes in clumps and possibly out of order. Perhaps if the volunteer docent had shown up (no-show, no-call) our experience would have been different, but our self-guided tour was jumbled. Also, many of the rooms were kept so cold that they would preserve slabs of beef, so be sure to take a coat or heavy sweater.

Visited August 2014
Thank forsl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
161 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Needed several hours for this one!”
Reviewed 10 August 2014

This was a really interesting museum. We got to it mid-afternoon and then were sent away when we discovered that it was closing. We had only made it to the mid-nineteenth century at that point! The museum is organized in two parts -- the original governors palace and then a brand new interpretive, museum center. We easily spent 2.5 hours wandering around the palace of the governors. You can see reconstructions of the building at various points in history. There are many exhibits of the history surrounding that building and the famous people who lived and worked there. So fortunately they let us back in the next day to tour the actual New Mexico History Museum, which took us another 3 hours. One the best things they do is interpret the events in Santa Fe and New Mexico within the greater context of US and European history. It was well worth the price of admission and a highlight of our trip. Outside along the covered porch of the Palace of the Governors local artists/crafters are allowed by the museum to sell their crafts. I bought a lovely silver bracelet for $80 and it made for a wonderful memento - because I got to chat with the man that actually made it.

Visited June 2014
Thank NeedsNEscape
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
65 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“A great history lesson”
Reviewed 6 August 2014

While it's hard to get away from the shops and galleries, the New Mexico History Museum is so well done that it should be a "first" on everyone's list. You can spend as much time or as little as you like, but you need to get there to set the tome of visiting this extraordinary city. The displays are bright and easy to follow and well lit and accessible to every level of education. The unit on Los Alamos should be a must for everyone.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank grannynanny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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