Museum to Unveil NM Centennial Exhibit

LAS CRUCES — The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces is about to unveil a much-anticipated exhibition called: “The Land of Enchantment: Commemorating the Centennial of New Mexico Statehood.”

The exhibit features the state’s largest collection of statehood celebration memorabilia of past events (40th, 50th, 60th and 75th).

The opening reception for the exhibit begins at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 and is open to the public with free admission. Santa Fe artist Ron Kil, whose work is featured in the official New Mexico centennial calendar, will be at the reception to sign copies of the 2012 calendar. One of Kil’s paintings is the official centennial poster and the original painting will be on display.

Also part of the reception program on Nov. 17, Jon Hunner, the chairman of the New Mexico State University History Department and Director of NMSU’s Public History Program, will speak in the Museum’s theater at 7:10 about New Mexico’s journey to statehood.

The exhibit is an eclectic look at the last 100 years of New Mexico through historical photographs and artifacts. The exhibit includes depictions of the state’s important events and characters since 1912, and features 100 years of New Mexico license plates, and rare flags of the first years after statehood.

The large collection of memorabilia items includes everything from coins and license plates to a decorative decanter celebrating New Mexico’s 60th year (1972). There are about 100 license plates in the collection, dating back to 1912.

The exhibit also includes first day postal covers, a 10-feet by 7-feet 1962 hand-made banner celebrating New Mexico’s first 50 years, a 47-star flag on loan from the Philadelphia Flag Day Association, a 1915 flag, and many photographs, objects and panels that tell the story of New Mexico, and explain why it took so long for it to become a state.

The exhibit will be on display in the Museum’s Legacy and Traditions galleries through Sept. 16, 2012.