Portales, the county seat for Roosevelt County, was founded in 1898 as a construction camp for railroad workers. The area was already a ranching center that grew up because of the presence of local fresh water springs. Today, the area is known for Valencia peanuts and dairy production. In 1934, Portales was chosen as the site for a normal school for the eastern part of the state. Eastern New Mexico University has grown to the third largest institution of higher education in the state. There are many small museums located in and around Portales.
ENMU campus, itself, provides a home for four museums, and also has an art gallery, Runnels Gallery, and the Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library both located in the campus library.
Roosevelt County Museum
Founded in 1940, the Roosevelt County Museum is located on northern end of the ENMU campus. The museum documents the rich material culture of Roosevelt County – there is clothing, antique furniture, equipment from local ranches including a peanut roaster from the 1890s, examples of changing technology such as an Edison phonograph, old typewriters, and a dentist’s office. Of particular interest, the museum also owns one of the few examples of a 47-star United States flag.
Address: ENMU campus, near Highway 70 (which is also West 2nd Street).
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Weekend hours vary during summer months.
Admission: Donations appreciated.
Natural History Museum
Miles Anthropology Museum
Miles Mineral Museum
The Natural History Museum and the Miles Mineral Museum are located in adjacent rooms in ENMU’s Roosevelt Hall.
The Natural History Museum features live animals, as well as study skins and mounted specimens from eastern New Mexico and west Texas, with an emphasis on the natural history of the Llano Estacado, the name for the geographic region. There is a systematic research collection shows region’s flora and fauna. The Natural History Museum is part of the University’s biology department.
The Miles Mineral Museum features the mineral collection of Fred and Gladys Miles, who began collecting mineral and fossil specimens along the Pecos River after they moved to Roswell, New Mexico, in 1928. They collected archaeological and anthropological specimens, along with quartz crystals called Pecos Valley Diamonds. For several decades, Mr. Miles displayed his collection in the back room of his Texaco service station on Second Street in Roswell. ENMU purchased the Miles collection in 1966, which included about 2,500 geological, archaeological and anthropological specimens and opened the Miles Mineral Museum in 1969. It now includes additional specimens that have been donated or purchased.
The Miles Anthropology Museum is also located in Roosevelt Hall in a space that was once the first Dining Hall on the campus. The museum is home to various anthropological and archeological specimens collected by Fred and Gladys Miles and to other collections from digs in the region. This museum has irregular hours depending upon the school schedule.
Location: Roosevelt Hall, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM 88130
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday by appointment.