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Albuquerque Museum Tells the Story of the City's History Through Artwork

By Pamela Sosnowski

Since prehistoric times, the area now known as the Southwestern U.S. has been inspiring artists. Helping to preserve and showcase this artwork of the Rio Grande Valley area is the Albuquerque Museum, an institution that turns 50 years old next year.

"Since the arrival of humans more than 13,000 years ago, New Mexico has been a center for artistic production and creativity," says the museum's communications manager, Denise Crouse. "No other place in the United States can celebrate such an important and continuous history of art making, from pre-history to the experiments of the current moment.

Art in New Mexico is characterized by celebration of tradition, innovation within heritage, and groundbreaking developments of new forms and ideas. People of diverse cultures have lived together and influenced each other through the centuries."

The museum is located in the heart of the city's Old Town neighborhood just off the historic Route 66 highway. It contains 10,000 works of art, 27,000 historical objects, and more than 130,000 photo archives.

Named one of the Top 10 Arts and Cultural Venues in Albuquerque by The Guardian, the museum's mission is to be a rich voice of culture in the Southwest region and present global exhibitions as well as exhibitions on local history and art. It also strives to make each visit enjoyable for guests by making its displays fun, engaging, and interactive. The building was designed by American architect Antoine Predock and greatly expanded in 2005 to accommodate the growing exhibits.

Some of the exhibitions of its permanent collection include Common Ground, Only in Albuquerque, and a sculpture garden, the latter of which encompasses 60 outdoor pieces by notable local sculpture artists. Only in Albuquerque presents a story of the city that stretches back four centuries. Some of the artifacts on display in Common Ground include a velvet wall hanging given to the city by the 18th Duke of Albuquerque, a concho belt designed by Roger Skeet and Lambert Homer, and an Alvarado Hotel pie case created by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter.

"Along with the presentation of our community's stories, there are lots to learn and do," explains Crouse. "Visitors can make their own family coat of arms, electronically send a Route 66 postcard to a friend, create a personal "quilt" of images from the museum's collections, and record a story to share in the museum and with friends."

The museum makes visits enriching and reaches out to the local community by providing lectures, tours, classes, concerts and exhibition openings, and sees nothing but expansion ahead in the variety of its exhibitions. "Albuquerque Museum offers visitors a wide array of locally curated and world-class traveling art and history exhibitions," says Crouse. "The Museum is the rock-solid cornerstone of Albuquerque's cultural community and in its short history has had unprecedented growth in the quantity and quality of its collections."

For more information feel free to visit their website at www.albuquerquemuseum.com.

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