Our Five (OK Six) Favorite Santa Fe Museums
Santa Fe is rich in culture, so it is no easy task to choose among the long list of museums in Santa Fe. The lines get blurred when taking into account art galleries, art installations and other exhibit spaces. So, to keep this simple, we consider a museum to be a space for a collection of art and / or historical artifacts that can be viewed by the public and is not for sale. That would exclude galleries. And they would not include buildings whose primary function is not as a museum. That would exclude churches. Of course, Santa Fe's outstanding galleries and churches should be visited in their own right.
Three out of six of our favorites are downtown on or near the plaza, reside in buildings that represent the pueblo revival style of architecture and hold historical significance.
1. New Mexico Museum of Art
In 1917, five years after New Mexico achieves statehood, this museum opened as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico. The growing collection of over 20,000 works celebrate the rich artistry of New Mexican art and its influence on the wider world of art.
107 West Palace
2. New Mexico History Museum
This museum was originally the Palace of the Governors, the building from which the territory of New Mexico was governed. Additions have been added to expand the original space. It's mission is to catalog the history and cultural heritage of the state of New Mexico and to be a research and education center for the public. If you want a rich, interactive telling of the history of New Mexico, the New Mexico History Museum is a must.
105 West Palace Avenue
3. IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art
Residing in the old post office building, the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Art hosts an outstanding collection of contemporary art by renowned Native artists from around the country. Combining a native perspective with contemporary art offers the opportunity to experience art in fresh, exciting ways. If you seek contemporary art, this is a must.
108 Cathedral Place
4. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
The museum opened in 1997 and hosts a collection of over 3,000 works, mostly from O'Keeffe, and others from artists whose works were influenced by her. Visitors can view some of O'Keeffe's most well-known works in the permanent collection and others during the ever-changing temporary exhibits. Get your fix of abstract cow skulls, calico roses, big landscapes, bones, white cliffs and mesas. And enjoy the O'Keeffe Cafe for lunch.
217 Johnson Street
5. Site Santa Fe
Site Santa Fe is the Whitney Museum of Santa Fe. Obviously well-endowed, this distinct warehouse (black stucco with the metal "beak") is the largest exhibit space for contemporary art in the city of Santa Fe. This is a dynamic space, with no permanent collection. Their mission is to present a world-class, cutting edge, contemporary immersive art experience.
1606 Paseo de Peralta
6. Museum of International Folk Art
From their website: "The mission of the Museum of International Folk Art is to foster understanding of the traditional arts to illuminate human creativity and shape a humane world." There are five wings to tour. The Girard Wing displays thousands of pieces of folk art, toys, and miniatures, textiles - a small fraction of the entire Alexander and Susan Girard Collection. .
706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill