Sunday, November 07, 2010

New Mexico History Museum

I toured the new New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe this week--what a terrific museum!  Lots of interesting exhibits, clear and easy to follow history, and an established route through the museum that means you can pay attention to the displays instead of wondering where to go next.  I had seen a lot of the material when it was in the smaller exhibit space in the Palace of the Governors, but there is so much more to see in the new space.  It uses a lot of new thinking in museum design--audio and video displays, tactile exhibits, and comparative timelines.

There were many things I liked in this museum but the exhibit I wanted to share with you today is a sterling silver cigar humidor that's a model of the Taos Pueblo. It was manufactured in 1917 by Tiffany--part of a 56-piece set made for the ward room of the battleship USS New Mexico. It's just so beautiful!

Cigar humidor in shape of Taos Pueblo

The photo below, from 1919, shows the table and sideboard in the USS New Mexico ward room set with silver pieces from the collection.

USS New Mexico ward room 1919

And here is the ship itself, at the Panama Canal in 1919.

USS New Mexico, Panama Canal 1919

Illustration Credits and References

The wardroom photo was published in 1919 by A.M. Simon, 324 E. 23rd St., New York City, as one of ten photographs in a "Souvenir Folder" of views concerning New Mexico. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 105048. Donation of Edwin C. Finney, Jr., 2007, from the collection of J. Louise Finney.

The photo of the battleship USS New Mexico, Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 75719, now in the collections of the National Archives.