The Museums at Ghost Ranch

Ghost_Ranch_SignWhen most people think of Ghost Ranch, they think of Georgia O’Keeffe. But the area also is notable for archaeology and paleontology, and Ghost Ranch has two museums devoted to those topics.

GR-Anthro-MuseumThe Florence Hawley Ellis Museum of Anthropology is named for Dr. Florence Hawley Ellis, who worked for more than 20 years at the University of New Mexico and led anthropology courses and fieldwork in the Ghost Ranch area from 1970 through 1991. The museum highlights 12,000 years of habitation of the Gallina-Chama-Rio Grande drainage, as well as contemporary work by American Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo artists of the area. The museum also has an active exhibition schedule of contemporary artist’s work.

The Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology was named after the Ruth Hall. She was the wife of Jim Hall, the first resident director of Ghost Ranch. The Ghost Ranch area had of interest to paleontologists since the 19th century, and the 1947 discovery of a massive graveyard of Coelophysis fossils put Ghost Ranch on the map. The Coelophysis is the state fossil of New Mexico, and research is still being conducted on the area’s fossils. The museum has exhibits of various dinosaurs found in the region, including a fossil that is being removed from rock for visitors to see.

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Location: 1708 Highway 84, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Phone: 877-804-4678 or 505-685-1000
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Closed most days from Christmas Eve to New Years Day. Call to verify hours.
Website: http://www.ghostranch.org
Admission: Adults:  $4, Children: $2 (13 and under), Seniors: $3 (65 and older)
Website: www.ghostranch.org

While at Ghost Ranch, you can hike, take a workshop, stay for Hogans at Ghost Ranchthe night, or stay for a retreat. All of the information about available activities other details are posted on the website.

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Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum and Natural Science Laboratory

Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum opened in the spring of 2000. The museum is designed around the region’s rich heritage as one of the earth’s premier deposits of fossilized ancient life. At the opening the College began the only associate of Arts degree in Palaeontology in the United States and they also opened their foundry to making bronze casts of dinosaur skeletons. The museum holds the world’s largest collection of bronze skeletons, fossils and replicas of prehistoric creatures.

The museum is located in a building that was once a grocery store. The main exhibit hall houses replicated and original fossils, from tiny footprint casts to a 40-foot-long skeleton of a Torvosaurus, a rare carnivore that is related to Tyrannosaurus rex. Recently, the museum  has received donations to augment their collection – most recently, they received a collection of minerals and fossils from Howard Shanks.  A spacious, well-equipped paleontology/geology laboratory (with a large storage area for collections not on exhibit but available for study), a classroom and offices are also located the museum. A large observation window in the laboratory allows visitors to observe students and staff preparing specimens.

Since 2005, its students have discovered four new dinosaur species within 23 miles of Tucumcari; you can see these displayed at the museum. Every summer, one-week field courses are offered to the public (these can be customized for special-interest groups). School tours can be scheduled throughout the year. There is also a children’s area, “Kid’s Digs,” where Bootz, the rodeo dinosaur, lives and can be ridden as part of the children’s play.

The museum’s gift shop sells scientific and educational books, rocks and minerals, fossils, clothing, games, teaching aids, gift items and souvenirs and more.

 

Address: 222 East Laughlin Street, Tucumcari, NM 88401
Phone: 575-461-3466
Hours: Winter (Labor Day through February): Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00 pm to 5:00 p.m. Summer (March through Labor Day): Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.)
Website: http://www.mesalands.edu/community/dinosaur-museum/
Admission: Adults, $6.50. Children 5 to 11, $4.00. Children under 5, free. Seniors 65 and over, $5.50.

Herzstein Memorial Museum

The town of Clayton was established in 1887 as a railroad stop. It started as a tent town with three saloons, a livery stable, two small hotels of sorts and a general store. Clayton was a waypoint for trade caravans and homesteaders traveling on the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail. The first train arrived March 20, 1888, on newly laid tracks. The town became a livestock-shipping center for herds from the Pecos River and the Texas Panhandle.

Herzstein Museum, ClaytonThe Herzstein Memorial Museum is run by the Union County Historical Society. The museum seeks to preserve the history of the city of Clayton and Union County. Named for the pioneering merchant family of Albert Herzstein, the museum is housed in a former Methodist Episcopal Church with a history of its own: The building also once served as a local community center with basketball courts, it housed the public library, and was the venue for many community gatherings. The Historical Society acquired the building in 1972. The museum opened the following year. Continue reading