David and I visited downtown Santa Fe, called “The City Different”, in October of 2017 with our New Mexico RVing friends, Glenn and Marsha. We saw the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum then but, unfortunately, some of the museums were closed due to renovations at that time and we were not able to visit them. Since we were only about an hour from Santa Fe in Abiquiú, we decided to make another trip to the city of Santa Fe and stay for a few days.
There are many, many museums in Santa Fe; some are downtown and some are on Museum Hill. The Museum Hill complex is in the city but is not in the center of the city. There are four museums (the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art) and the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. We decided to check out the Museum of International Folk Art since it has over 130,000 pieces from over 100 countries. This museum has the largest folk art collection in the world.
Alexander Girard was a famous fabric designer and interior architect. He traveled all over the world working on different projects. The folk art that he saw in other countries intrigued him and he began collecting pieces starting in the 1930s. He continued collecting objects throughout his lifetime. In 1953, Girard, his wife Susan, and their two children relocated to Santa Fe. That was the same year that the Museum of International Folk Art opened. In 1979, Girard decided to donate over 100,000 pieces (toys, miniatures, textiles, and more) to the museum. This donation increased the museum’s collection exponentially.
The Girard Wing now displays about 10,000 of the 100,000 pieces in an exhibit called Multiple Visions: A Common Bond.
The Museum’s other wings also have some fascinating exhibits. The Bartlett Wing highlights traditional pottery from all over the world. Many of the ceramics are exquisite.
The Neutrogena Wing displays textiles that are beautifully designed.
The Museum also endeavors to bring artists from different countries to Santa Fe for short periods of time. During their visits, the artist share ideas and create artwork collaboratively. Their art work is displayed in another wing of the Museum.
In addition to the exhibits, there is a café, a children’s play area, educations spaces, a gift shop, and a library. Truly, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Museum of International Folk Art.
After touring the Museum, we headed to downtown Santa Fe. There is a free shuttle bus that stops at Museum Hill and it will take you to the city’s main plaza. There is another bus that you can take as well for a small fee, the M bus. Parking is difficult to find and expensive when you do so we opted to take the bus and leave the Silver Fox, our truck, parked at the Museum complex.
The bus dropped us off near the New Mexico Museum of Art, another place that we wanted to see. After a delicious lunch on the patio at The Shed, we returned to the Art Museum. The Museum is in a Spanish Colonial style building with a lovely central courtyard. Along the interior walls surrounding the courtyard are a series of murals and in the center is a large water feature. The exhibits are on the first and second floors. Among the Museum’s collection are works by Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Ansel Adams. They also have many sculptures and an outside sculpture garden for larger installments. We had a great time New Mexico Museum of Art. We were glad we got to see more of it this time.
The Museum of Art is adjacent to the Santa Fe Plaza. This focal point of the city is a pedestrian area that bustles with vendors in the porticos of the buildings that surround the plaza. There are many shops, restaurants, churches, and other interesting stops within walking distance of the square.
On Saturday morning, we went to the Farmers Market. Located along side the railroad tracks, in an art district called Santa Fe Railyard. The Market has an area with fresh produce and food, plus in another area nearby, there are many artists who display and sell their artwork. Also, there were several entertainers present who kept things lively. The market was a very busy place. We purchased some gifts and some fresh produce for the week.
To celebrate Father’s Day, we went to eat at Tomasita’s Restaurant near downtown Santa Fe one night. Since it was our New Mexico friends favorite eatery, we had to try it. It really was delicious and the portions were enormous. Thanks Glenn and Marsha for this great suggestion!
After two weeks in the more remote area of Abiquiu, we needed to stock up on supplies for the next few weeks. We also decided to get new tires for the Bighorn after all the miles we have driven in the last two years including our trip to Alaska. We boondocked the entire time we were in Santa Fe so we got to try out a couple of improvements David had made to our solar setup. Perhaps the most important, Amazon has a shipping locker in Santa Fe so we could get some items that we needed.
Santa Fe is a great place to visit and at 7,200 feet the weather was nice and mild. Although we were there for a week, we still did not get to see and do all of the things that this historic capital has to offer. We might just have to make another trip to “The City Different.”