When 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.
The 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.
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.
Admission: Adults: $4, Children: $2 (13 and under), Seniors: $3 (65 and older)
While at Ghost Ranch, you can hike, take a workshop, stay for the night, or stay for a retreat. All of the information about available activities other details are posted on the website.
The Newcomb area is known as the home of the Two Grey Hills style of weaving that is known for its very finely spun thread from wool from local sheep and very intricate patterns. Toadlena Trading Post is an active trading post that operates in the same way trading posts have since the 1870s – trading directly with local weavers and selling their work to the public. The weavers keep credit accounts at the store. They pay their bills with their rugs. While you are there locals might come in for supplies, to chat, to pick up messages and mail, or to do their banking.
Inside the trading post, the Two Grey Hills Weaving Museum, filled with old photographs of weavers, weaver genealogies and some spectacular rugs and other textiles. There is a large showroom of rugs for sale and almost always, you can find a weaver working on a project.
Address: From Gallup, drive 1 hour north on Hwy 491 (old 666).
Take the second entrance to Toadlena at the Shell Gas Station.
Follow the signs from the Shell Gas Station.
Phone: 888-420-0005 or 505-789-3267
Hours: Summer: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Winter: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Admission: Donations appreciated.
The Chimayó Museum is located on Plaza del Cerró, the center of a Spanish Colonial settlement established in 1740. Plaza del Cerró is enclosed by contiguous adobe buildings. Its three entrances are only wide enough to admit people on foot and animals, making it easy to defend. It is one of the last fortified plazas in New Mexico.
The museum building is a classic adobe with viga ceilings and dirt floors – the traditional style that is the foundation of contemporary Southwestern architecture.
The building was originally home to Jose Ramon Ortega and Petra Mestas Ortega, ancestors of the world-renowned Ortega family of Rio Grandé weavers. The couple raised 14 children in the building.
The museum is dedicated to educating the public, particularly young New Mexicans, about the history and culture of Chimayó and its surrounding communities, and to supporting the work of established and emerging local artists.
The museum has a collection of photographs dating to the late 1800s and early 1900s that show the everyday lives, work and faith of Chimayó’s people.
The museum also display contemporary work, including the Española Student Art Show and Los Maestros.
The museum is run by the nonprofit Chimayó Cultural Preservation Association.
Address: Plaza del Cerro, Chimayó, NM 87522
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed October through April
Admission: By donation