Santa Fe's a City of Museums: Discover History, Art, Culture and Fun



For a small city, Santa Fe has a lot of museums. Each has a specific mission. Camino Lejo (aka Museum Hill) is home to four. Two, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Museum of International Folk are owned and run by the state. They share the expansive Milner Plaza also home to the Museum Hill Café. The other two, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, are run by non-profits. While there visit the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. Downtown you’ll discover the state-run New Mexico History Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art as well as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts as well as the small Museum of Contemporary Native Arts run by the prestigious Institute of American Indian Art. Traveling with kids? They’ll love the interactive Santa Fe Children’s Museum and parents will, too. World War II buffs will enjoy the New Mexico National Guard Museum (formerly the Bataan Memorial Museum) which commemorates the horrific Bataan Death March where many New Mexican soldiers lost their lives. Check with the museums for their hours and admission fees as all vary. Downtown state museums are free for everyone on Friday evenings year ‘round from 5 to 7pm and free for NM residents on Sundays. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is free for New Mexico residents and their guests all day on the first Friday of the month.


Santa Fe Children's Museum
Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Children's Museum


The Santa Fe Children's Museum, opened in 1985, offers fun and engaging hands-on experiences to children up to age 8. Although it was targeted to local families, traveling families with young children have embraced it, too. Their mission: to...  Read More


Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


The Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts, opened in 2002, is the only museum in the world dedicated to Spanish Colonial art. What defines Spanish colonial art? It's the art that arose in Spain's New World colonies. Passed down through generations,...  Read More


Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts
Photo courtesy of Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts


The Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of American Indian women. Located just south of St. Francis Cathedral, its mission is to educate about and promote the art work of Native...  Read More


Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
Photo courtesy of Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian


The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian was the first museum on Santa Fe's Museum Hill, now home to four. Boston heiress Mary Cabot Wheelwright, who'd relocated to Santa Fe, and esteemed Navajo singer ("medicine man") Hosteen Klah founded...  Read More


SITE Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


Technically, SITE Santa Fe, opened in 1995, is an "art house" (a museum without a permanent collection). They mount both short and long-term exhibitions. Their mission: to nurture "innovation, discovery, and inspiration through the art of...  Read More


New Mexico Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


The New Mexico Museum of Art sits in a 1917 pueblo revival building adjacent to the Santa Fe Plaza. Its permanent collection is a who's who of New Mexican artists including Taos Art Society names such as Burt Philips and Ernst Blumenschein, and...  Read More


New Mexico History Museum
Photo courtesy of Kitty Leaken


New Mexico has a rich history. The state-run New Mexico History Museum tells the story of the 47th state from pre-historic times to the present. Their permanent exhibition, Telling New Mexico, Stories from Then and Now, traces the state's...  Read More


Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Photo courtesy of Georgia O'Keeffe Museum


The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, opened in 1997, is the only museum in the world dedicated to a single woman artist. Their mission is to "perpetuate the artistic legacy of Georgia O'Keeffe and to the study and interpretation of American Modernism...  Read More


Museum of International Folk Art
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


The Museum of International Folk Art, opened in 1953, shares Museum Hill's Milner Plaza with the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Its collection, encompassing over 150,000 pieces of folk art, is the largest in the world. The colorful Girard...  Read More


Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) shares Museum Hill's Milner Plaza with the Museum of International Folk Art. Their mission is "to inspire appreciation for and knowledge of the diverse native arts, histories, languages, and cultures...  Read More


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Meet Billie Frank

Billie Frank is a freelance travel, food and feature writer based in Santa Fe New Mexico. Her blog, Santa Fe Travelers, is a treasure trove of information on the oldest capital city in the...  More About Billie

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