The New Mexico History Museum is a sparkling new (it opened on May 24, 2009), architecturally beautiful showcase of the Land of Enchantment’s singular, eclectic and culturally diverse history, covering the last 400 years. It is a sometimes turbulent, sometimes peaceful, but always a fascinating history.

It is also a relatively long history. The state’s capital city of Santa Fe bills itself as The Oldest Capital in the United States. This singular southwest American town is literally colorful and so is its history, as you will discover on your first visit to the New Mexico History Museum, located at 113 Lincoln Avenue in the heart of Santa Fe’s historic Plaza. Santa Fe was initially inhabited by a group of American Indians from the Pueblo tribe between the years of 1050 to 1150.

Exhibitions in the 96,000-square-foot New Mexico History Museum enlighten and broaden the horizons of residents and visitors alike about a vast expanse of the state’s colorful settlers, from the Spanish Conquistadores and Mexican pioneers, up to and through the period in which the legendary Santa Fe Trail guided a generation of settlers headed to all points west.

As you casually stroll among the exhibits, interactive multimedia displays and mesmerizing photographs, the artwork and handcrafted jewelry, you are bound to come across some names that just might be familiar to you, such as Kit Carson, Billy the Kid and Robert Oppenheimer.

The New Mexico History Museum strives to achieve a relatively new position within the community of Santa Fe and New Mexico as a whole. Its mission, as stated on its website, is to provide more to residents and visitors than dusty old artifacts and obscure objects. It serves as a civic hub and educational partner, actively engaged in the social life of the community.

One of the methods by which the museum is striding confidently toward its goals is through the efforts of the staff and variety of the offerings at its other campuses, such as the Palace of the Governors, the Fray Angelico Chavez Library and the Palace Press.

Hours and Admission


10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday

Open on Mondays from Memorial Day through Labor Day

Open until 8 p.m. on Fridays


$9 for out-of-state visitors

$6 New Mexico residents

Free on Sunday for New Mexico residents

Free on Wednesday for New Mexico senior citizens

Free all open dates for Museum Members and children under 17

Free Fridays from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.