LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Old objects with great style and functional use are the focus of a new exhibit and a popular annual event at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. One of the slogans at the museum is that it always offers something new — everything from baby animals to new exhibits, and activities. But old things are important, too, and preserving these objects is a critical part of the museum’s mission. The exhibit, “Form & Function: Objects with Flair,” opens Jan. 12. This fun exhibit features 44 objects from the museum’s collections that combine usefulness and style.
Some objects are purely utilitarian in nature, with no real aesthetic appeal. At the other end of the spectrum are objects of art, which serve no functional purpose other than to be appreciated for their beauty, or the message the artist wishes to convey. Somewhere in the middle are those things that have a definite purpose, but which also exhibit a deliberate sense of style. That’s what the objects in this exhibit have in common. It includes everything from woven items such as Navajo rugs to Apache and Pima baskets, to vases, pots and bowls, as well as saddles, guns, and furniture.
The exhibit will be in the museum’s Traditions Gallery through July 8. The opening of “Form & Function” coincides with the annual Antique Treasures Show. This popular event highlights the collection and preservation part of the museum’s mission. Antique Treasures Show is from 12-4 p.m. on Jan. 21. Regular admission applies: $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for children 4 to 17, $2 for veterans, and free for children 3 and under. The fee includes admission to all of the museum’s offerings, including the milking demonstration at 3 p.m., the blacksmith demonstrations, and cart rides to see the animals.
Visitors to the museum on this afternoon are encouraged to bring their antiques and heirlooms to learn more about them and how to preserve them (not too big, and only two per person, please). An independent appraiser will be on hand, and vendors will be on site with antiques and collectibles for sale. The museum’s collections manager, Holly Radke, will have various items from the Collections Storage Room on display in the gallery next to the Form & Function exhibit with information about how best to preserve them.
The public also is invited to play “Stump the Curator” with unusual objects they bring with them. Prizes will be available.
For more information, please call (575) 522-4100.
About the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum:
The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for children ages 4 to 17, and $2 for active U.S. military members and veterans. Children 3 and under, and members of the Museum Friends receive free admission. The Museum is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
For more information:
(575) 522-4100, ext. 101
Photo: Featured in the attached photograph of some of the 44 objects in the “Form & Function” exhibit: Chimayo-pattern rug, woven by Juanita Martinez (1930s); quirt (circa 1920s); Western Apache basket (1890-1910); San Idlefonso-style olla (1920-40); carnival glass bowl (1910-30); and Colt single-action Army revolver, .45 caliber (1906).