NM Farm and Ranch Museum

It isn’t very often I am exceptionally impressed. I happen to have been so impressed by the Farm and Ranch Museum yesterday, I am doing a double post on both blogs.

Originally we were going for their once a year Antiques Day where they open up thier curatorial storage. The events listing I read said it was the 12th, Saturday. Nope. It was the 13th, Sunday. I’m so glad we decided to stay anyway. 

The lobby is nice, open and airy. It is very welcoming. I noticed through the lobby’s wall of windows, there was a presentation area set up in their courtyard. Later we were to notice the large dining area fully set for a function. The receptionist went beyond welcoming us and taking our entry fee. She took the time to explain the museum, point out various things on the map and tell  us about the trolley. (Very good since as we pulled into the parking lot, I realized I was one of those women who wore heeled sandles.)

The first exhibit was called What in the World. This is a collection of objects from the about mid-19th century to about the mid-20th century. This is the exhibit that caught my attention. It was wonderfully interactive.  As you enter the exhibit, there is an introduction and a rack of clip-boards on the right. The clip-boards held your answer sheet. It was a game to see how many objects you get right. The objects were broken down into true/false, matching, word scrambles and multiple choice. Just looking at the break-down, one might think it is like a quiz. But, when you combine it with their displays, it was definitely fun. Each well displayed  lighted object was simply numbered. For the true/false there was a simple statement about what an item was. You decided if it was true or false. Then you could flip up the text plaque to see if you were right. Similar flip-up methods were used for the matching with a group of objects and a group of text plaques with what they were used for. Under the flip-up was a further explanation. They also used a spinning roller with a selection of answers in combination with a covered window to reveal whether you are correct, and a type of turn disk where you move a small knob to reveal the answer.  When you are done, you add up your score. We were meant to be curators based on our score. I’ll admit, I was not good at the word scramble. I had to just look at the object. Dan figured out the scrambles. There was one object I was able to point out to Dan that I would love to have; the crimper for doing edging. This room really showed well that interactive exhibits aren’t just for kids. I would love to see about doing something like this for an event public program or a seminar program.

The next exhibit was the one I was least familiar with, the Colcha, Embroidery. It reminded me most of Berlin work. Three things stood out, the interactive how-to section, the display of Colcha Christmas ornaments available for purchase and the feedback stand. The interactive piece caught my attention because it would have worked nicely for PDC camp. They took plastic canvas. Framed it with a solid 1″ frame on both sides. Drew the outline of a flower on the canvas. Attached a plastic needle and thread. On the wall was a nice directions board.  (This is also the room where we notice the no photos sign. So, sorry, no pictures.)

The halls between the exhibition rooms were used nicely as display areas of vintage quilts, artwork, and a photo history of school houses.

The large exhibit room traced 3000 years of agriculture in the Rio Grande water shed area. My compliment on this room is how they created multiple levels with walking ramps that made the room feel like more then just a big gallery. The displays were well done with great textual explanations that weren’t to long but created a nice story. They recreated an early 20th century store and post office as well as a kitchen and parlor. Those were fun for me because it showed both items I remember using at home while growing up (no I’m not that old, we just had vintage and antique items everywhere.) and it showed items we see at mid-19th century events in a more appropriate setting. I really wish I could show pictures of that for references for people. The far other end of the room had the modern agriculture. I have to admit, I still just don’t get it, the dryness, the routing of the water in a completely different way than I am accustom. I think I really would have needed my brother there to talk through it to fully appreciate the concept.  The only criticism is on Dan pointed out. There wasn’t a flow that we caught on to. I don’t know if we entered the time line wrong or what.

Next we went across the building and outside to the blacksmith shop. I was initially curious to see how similar or different it might be to the blacksmiths I am used to in the 19th century. We didn’t even get to the building before we got pretty excited. There was an area filled with wrought iron for sale. Then as we entered the building there was more, lots more. Oh, how I wish we had pockets of cash to spend. Now, if it ended at the items for sale, I would have been happy. But, the apprentice working that day gave a solid, informative and interesting presentation. The coolest thing is how much they recycle. He started telling us how they use the railroad spikes and horse shoes. Showing us the starting product and the finished product from the displays (for sale). Then he moved on to what must have made my jaw drop; the items made from garage door springs and truck springs. This was fabulous. As he talked and made his nail, he had my full attention. This is not an easy feat. Before we left, I had a mental list – folding grill, awesome tri-pod, several S hooks, simple letter opener. Dan wanted one of the railroad spike knives. I also asked if he could make things on request. Yes! I’m going to bring him a drawing of Grandma’s rug hook I lost at Granger to see if he can make it.

All in all, very happy with the visit.

Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 10:47 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. SO glad you are finding New Mexico treasures to enjoy! Eventually, you will come to appreciate the humidity you have now. Here on Route 66, we’ve had up to 98% humidity this week.

    I’ll be watching my mailbox for From Field To Fashion!

    Ms. Jean
    Route 66

  2. Hi Jean,
    I was delighted to find the Farm and Ranch Museum. Actually, Dan & I had seen it just after I got here but decided it was to hot that day. Then we never got back until this visit.
    I will have a blog post about the museum in Cloudcroft soon, probably right after the book contest is over.
    This recent humidity is great. I love watching storms (when the air pressure change doesn’t put me to sleep) and feeling the moist air.

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