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What to Expect When Albuquerque Area State Museums and Historic Sites Reopen

September 23rd, 2020

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has announced that state museums and historic sites will reopen on Thursday, September 24. Albuquerque area DCA facilities include Coronado Historic Site in Bernalillo, Jemez Historic Site, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Each facility will operate at 25% of normal occupancy, with modified hours.

Each of the Albuquerque area facilities offers visitors an opportunity to experience a unique piece of New Mexico culture. Most permanent and temporary exhibits spaces are open for viewing. 

Coronado Historic Site, founded along the banks of the Rio Grande in Bernalillo, will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and closed on Monday and Tuesday. Visitors to the site can tour the visitor center, which features 14 original murals on display along with artifacts and information. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor walking trails and historic structures. The 50-person occupancy limit will allow visitors to sufficiently explore this historic site, which was first settled circa 1325 CE.

Jemez Historic Site, one of the most beautiful prehistoric and historic sites in the Southwest, will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and closed on Monday and Tuesday. Visitors to this site will have access to the visitor center and can enjoy the outdoor walking trails and historic structures. The occupancy limit of 40 will allow visitors to safely tour the historic site, which includes stone ruins from a village that was built 700 years ago.

Situated in the historic and culturally vibrant Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque, the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) showcases Hispanic and Latinx art and culture from around the world. The NHCC’s Art Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Monday. “El Peru: Art in the Contemporary Past” is the current featured exhibit at the NHCC Art Museum. On display through Nov. 21 2020, this exhibit celebrates the work of Peruvian artists Baldomero Alejos (1924-1976), Ana de Orbegoso, Kukuli Velarde, and Lorry Salcedo. Each artist explores the Peruvian pre-colonial and colonial past while addressing race, class, and inclusion in the present. Works include photography, sculpture, ceramics, painting, and multimedia in juxtaposition with examples of their historical antecedents. Other exhibits that visitors can check out include “Southwest of Eden: The Art of Adam and Eve” and “Aquí Estamos: New Selections from the Permanent Collection.”

Located just north of Old Town, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science takes you on a journey through New Mexico’s past, from the formation of the universe to the present. The Museum of Natural History & Science will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday. Open for just a short while before the museum closed to the public, visitors have another chance to check out “Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies,” a traveling exhibit that boasts New Mexico’s unique fossils and addresses how dinosaurs gave birth and raised their young. This exhibition has been extended for viewing until at least Spring 2021. Visitors to the museum can also enjoy “Sayaka Ganz-Reclaimed Creations,” centered around discarded and reclaimed household objects used to create animal sculptures made of plastic spoons, spatulas, and other reclaimed objects, on display until Nov. 15. Also available are “Back to Bones,” “Time Tracks: A Walk Through Time,” “Emergence,” and “Bella the Bisti Beast.”

Additionally, from 10 a.m. to noon each Wednesday, most DCA facilities will provide special hours of operation for high-risk populations. This corresponds with DCA’s weekly free day for state residents 60 and older. Online ticket sales are currently available at New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Art Museum.

State museums and historic sites have been closed to the public since March 16 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the reopening process, the DCA has taken the necessary steps to ensure a safe, healthy, and enjoyable experience for visitors when they return to these facilities, in accordance with the current Public Health Order issued by the New Mexico Department of Health.

Entry into facilities will be metered to ensure compliance with the occupancy limits. Based on both historic attendance data and ticketing limitations, facilities will not require timed entry or reservations.

The New Mexico CulturePass, which allows one visit to each state museum and historic site while active, will be extended by six months past the expiration date. Memberships sold through the private National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation and New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation will be valid six months past their original expiration date. The Museum of New Mexico Foundation memberships, applicable to New Mexico Historic Sites, are valid one month past their original expiration date.


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