A flight of hand-crafted arrows enlivens the Museum’s Pueblo Revolt display.
A volunteer meticulously hangs arrows as Dave Brewer examines the creation of the exhibit.
The Pueblo Revolt: an awe-inspiring exhibit
It took more than a review of the facts for the New Mexico History Museum to tell the story of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. It also took the patient efforts of volunteers who created an awe-inspiring exhibit within the Museum that opened on May 24 at 113 Lincoln Avenue on the Santa Fe Plaza.
About twenty volunteers and staff from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Friends of Archaeology and the state’s Office of Archaeological Studies helped craft three hundred replica arrows that dangle in a mass from the ceiling via nearly invisible fishing line.
Pointed toward a mock-up of a burned and crumbling building (in real life, the Palace of the Governors), the arrows symbolize the drama and tension that pierced the battle between Native Americans, Spanish soldiers, and settlers during the Revolt. The reaction of visitors who enter the exhibit is near-universal: They tilt their heads back, look up, and say, “Wow!”
“We want this Museum to expand people’s understanding of New Mexico history, but we also want to do so in a way that engages their emotions,” said Dr. Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum. “These volunteers understood that, and their commitment to step forward and contribute their talents makes this an exhibit people will talk about for years to come.”
The arrows were made in the styles and with the raw materials that were current during the seventeenth century. The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge allowed the collection of cane and willow shaft materials, and various turkey ranchers and hunters provided feathers for the fletchings. Most of the stone arrow points were crafted by Tommy Heflin, a skilled flintknapper from Portales, New Mexico, while others were donated by archaeologists throughout the state who make stone points in their spare time. Metal points were crafted by Gary Williams, a Corrales blacksmith, and Dave Brewer, one of the Santa Fe volunteers.
In addition to the Friends of Archaeology, several artists and religious leaders from New Mexico’s nineteen pueblos provided handmade arrows, further enhancing the exhibit’s powerful message and authentic materials.
“When we first heard about the vision of the exhibit designers, we knew that we wanted to be involved in some way” said Eric Blinman, director of the Office of Archaeological Studies. “First it was the challenge, excitement, and gratification of learning how to make high-quality arrows that would really fly. Then it was the challenge of designing and executing their flight within the museum display.”
The New Mexico History Museum gives visitors the chance to explore the rich history of the Southwest in comfort and style. It is located at 113 Lincoln Avenue, just behind the Palace of the Governors on the Santa Fe Plaza.
Learn about the Old Santa Fe Trail
The Friends of Coronado State Monument are sponsoring a lecture and PowerPoint presentation by Pat Kuhlhoff entitled “Old Santa Fe Trail” on Sunday, June 21 at 2:00 p.m.
The presentation will be about the geography, the people, the animals, and the goods on the Old Spanish Trail. Come and learn more about this trail in preparation of the four-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Villa de Santa Fe.
Ms. Kuhlhoff is a member of the Santa Fe Trail Association, the Old Spanish Trail Association, and the Bienvenidos Division of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce.
The program will be held at the Sandoval County Historical Society DeLavy House on Edmond Road in Bernalillo. To reach DeLavy House, take Highway 550 past Coronado State Monument and turn north immediately after the Phillips 66 station onto a gravel road (Edmond Road). Follow the road to its end. Signs will be posted.
This lecture is open to the public. No reservations are needed for the program. Admission is $5 per person and is free to members of Friends of Coronado State Monument.