Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Preserving the Palace of the Governors | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Preserving the Palace of the Governors

Palace of the Governors remodel, 2019. Photograph by Harvey Kaplan.

The historic Palace of the Governors is expected to reopen in early 2020. During the closure, the museum has been able to complete the next phase of the multi-year remodeling project. The New Mexico History Museum, the Palace Press, the History Library, and Photo Archives remain open throughout the duration of the Palace closure.

In August 2018, the Palace closed to the public for the installation of a comprehensive HVAC (Heating-Ventilation-Air Conditioning) system and fire safety construction. The temporary closure for this installation also required the complete deinstallation of all of the Palace exhibits and has enabled the History Museum’s curators and educators to rethink the Palace’s interpretive plan.

The Palace of the Governors is a National Historic Landmark and in 2014 was designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Palace has played a significant role in our New Mexico communities since it was first built in 1610.

Following The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings, the museum staff is working to ensure they identify, retain, and preserve historic materials and features.

In recent years, both Brazil’s Museu Nacional and the Glasgow School of Art were lost to fire, and this year, in April, it was the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris that burned. To protect the Palace of the Governors, the museum administration has been working closely with the architects of Atkins Olshin Schade and also collaborating with the office of the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division to design and install systems that will protect the Palace for future generations.

During the closure, the Palace has remained open for a monthly open house for the community to enjoy the Palace in the Raw lecture series focusing on the fascinating aspects of the Palace’s history.

The New Mexico History Museum is open Tuesday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. October through May, closed Mondays November through April. Admission $7 for New Mexico residents. $12 for non-residents, free for children under 16. The first Sunday of each month is free for NM residents with ID. Wednesdays are free for NM resident seniors (60+) with ID.

Shoulder to shoulder, women from different backgrounds performing non-traditional jobs are the featured topic of the New Mexico History Museum’s new exhibition We the Rosies: Women at Work. The exhibition runs through Feb. 29, 2020. Paired with the photos and stories is a six-foot tall, 3D-printed sculpture of Rosie the Riveter.

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