Programs & Services

On Exhibit: Designs That Defined the Museum of New Mexico

August 8th, 2018

(Santa Fe, New Mexico) -- On Exhibit: Designs That Defined the Museum of New Mexico, presents a fascinating look back at more than a century of changing exhibition design in the historic state museum system. This “exhibit about exhibits” reveals how presentation techniques evolved over the years and helped establish the unique character of the Santa Fe’s museums. Starting in 1885 with the first public museum space in the Palace of the Governors, On Exhibit shows how creative design techniques made exhibitions progressively more accessible and visitor-oriented up through the 21st century. On Exhibit: Designs That Defined the Museum of New Mexico opens at the New Mexico History Museum, Friday, October 26, 2018 and runs through July 28, 2019.

Santa Fe is widely recognized as a city of museums. These beloved institutions and their exhibitions have long been integral to the fabric of local culture. While there have been thousands of exhibitions mounted in Santa Fe since the early days, most have been short-term engagements, coming and going so often that the public may not fully appreciate the immense body of work that has been presented over the years. On Exhibit shines a spotlight on those exhibition milestones and invites visitors to consider the importance of visual design in the public space.

On Exhibit celebrates Santa Fe’s long legacy of museum design by presenting a unique combination of historic photographs placed alongside reconstructed vignettes depicting early exhibition displays. Sections on graphic design, production techniques, and tools of the trade highlight the creative talent and skill necessary for effective exhibits. Video interviews with museum staff, past and present, reveal behind-the-scenes stories about the Santa Fe museums not previously known. This installation includes examples from the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and selected New Mexico Historic Sites.

Developed by the Exhibit Services team from the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, On Exhibit: Designs That Defined the Museum of New Mexico shows that effective exhibition design is more than just arranging objects in a space. Design serves as the bridge between a curator’s scholarship and the visitor’s comprehension. At its best, exhibition design creates immersive environments that evoke curiosity, facilitate learning, and provide enjoyment for all visitors.

On Exhibit: Designs That Defined the Museum of New Mexico opening reception is from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26 in the atrium lobby of the New Mexico History Museum. From 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served by the Women’s Board of the Museum of New Mexico.

About Exhibit Services: Exhibit Services is the design and production arm of Museum Resources, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. Since 1964, this centralized services group has designed, built, and installed thousands of exhibitions, working in tandem with curators and staff from each of the Museum of New Mexico system museums in Santa Fe and New Mexico Historic Sites statewide. The Museum of New Mexico system includes: Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, New Mexico Historic Sites, and the Office of Archaeological Studies.

About the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs: http://www.newmexicoculture.org/   Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs represents New Mexico’s dedication to preserving and celebrating the cultural integrity and diversity of our state. The Department oversees a broad range of New Mexico’s arts and cultural heritage agencies which include 15 divisions representing a variety of programs and services. Among its primary functions is the management of the largest state sponsored museum system in the country. New Mexico’s historic sites and state-run museums are located across the state and include: New Mexico Historic Sites, Statewide; New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe; Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo; New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque; New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces; and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque. The Department also oversees the New Mexico State Library, Historic Preservation Division, New Mexico Arts, and the Office of Archaeological Studies.  Events, news releases and images about activities in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at media.newmexicoculture.org.       

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The Artists Record: The Western Scene, 1966. New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, An exhibition of paintings from the museum’s permanent collection. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, NMHM, DCA, 138890.

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