Silver City Museum

The site where Silver City is now situated was first used as an Apache campsite and later as a Spanish copper mining center. Silver City itself was founded about 1870 after the discovery of silver. The 1870s were tumultuous and the town was the site of the first crime committed by a local kid, known at the time as William Bonney, and more widely known as Billy the Kid. Silver City became a commercial center for local mining operations and also became an education center for the southwestern part of the state with the building of the New Mexico Normal School (now Western New Mexico University) in 1893.

Silver City Museum The Silver City Museum has a permanent exhibition on Silver City’s history, including a display of an 1880s parlor and a reconstructed office from the nearby mining town of Tyrone. Other permanent displays tell about southwest New Mexico’s mining history and Silver City’s early mercantile commerce.
The museum hosts frequently changing exhibits as well as lectures and special events.

The museum’s collection includes some 20,000 objects relating to the peoples and history of southwest New Mexico. The museum also has a research library that is available to the public, along with a bookstore/gift shop.

The Silver City Museum opened in 1967. The museum is housed in the restored 1881 Mansard/Italianate H.B. Ailman house. The house was built for Harry Ailman, a prominent Silver City miner, merchant and banker. During the early 1920s, the city purchased the house for use as the town hall. In 1931, the town added a firehouse garage to the back of the building. The building was used as a fire station until about 1970.

Address: 312 W. Broadway, Silver City, NM 88061
Phone: 575-538-5921, 1-877-777-7947
Email: info@silvercitymuseum.org
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Closed Mondays.
Website: www.silvercitymuseum.org/
Admission: $3 suggested donation

 

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Western New Mexico University Museum

Western New Mexico Uuniversity MuseumThe Western New Mexico University Museum has the world’s most comprehensive permanent exhibition of prehistoric Mimbres Mogollon pottery and artifacts. Exhibits include separate displays of basketry, footwear, cordage, stone tools, and stone and shell jewelry.WNMU Museum exhibits

The museum also has exhibits about the history of WNMU and the Silver City area, the Scott Nichols Buggy Collection, American Indian tourist items, and a collection of mining tools.

The museum is located in Fleming Hall on the WNMU campus. The building was built between 1916 and 1917 to house the gymnasium and a science hall for what was then the New Mexico Normal School. Fleming Hall later served as the University library before it became home for the museum in 1974.

Address: Western New Mexico University Museum, Fleming Hall, 1000 W. College Avenue, Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-534-2222
Email: Info@wnmumuseum.org
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Website: www.wnmumuseum.org
Admission: Free

Also worth seeing while in the area:

The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, operated by the National Park Service, are what remains of a series of interlinked dwellings built in five cliff alcoves. The dwellings were built by the Mogollon peoples, probably around 1300.

Visiting the dwellings requires hiking a well-traveled, 1-mile trail loop with several foot bridges over a stream. The walk takes about an hour. The first half of the trail, which takes you to the dwellings, is up hill. Some of the trial is steep. After you visit the dwellings, the trail is all down hill.

There’s a small museum near the trailhead with displays about nature and wildlife. The visitor center, which is a few miles from the trailhead, also has a small museum that focuses on the dwellings. A looping video tells the story of the cliff dwellers.

Address: 44 New Mexico 15, Silver City, NM 88061
The cliff dwellings are in the Gila Wilderness within the Gila National Forest on NM 15. Although the distance from Silver City is 44 miles, the drive takes about 2 hours because of the winding mountain road. (An alternative is along NM 35 through the Mimbres Valley, which is 25 miles longer but less winding and easier to drive, so it takes about 2 hours, too.)
Phone: 575-536-9461
Hours: Cliff Dwellings: Daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Last visitors are allowed on the trail at 4 p.m., and must be off the trail by 5 p.m.)
Visitor center: Daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Website: http://www.nps.gov/gicl/index.htm
Admission: Fees are collected at a self-self station at the trailhead to the cliff dwellings, so bring exact change or a check. (You can pay by credit card at the visitor center.) Families, $10. Adults, $3. Children age 15 and younger, free.