Museum of International Folk Art

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by MikeInTown on March 22, 2008

The Museum of International Folk Art is a tribute to the common or folk people from around the world. Browsing the exhibits here can keep you occupied for at least 3 hours.

The museum is not far from the Santa Fe Plaza but far enough you will need a vehicle to get there. It is located in the Museum Hill complex along with the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. Multi-day passes for all the museums can be purchased. Since we were limited on time, we only bought tickets for the Museum of International Folk Art.

We started off at the Girard Wing. Alexander Girard collected figurines and dolls from all over the world and put them on display in a huge room inside the museum. The pieces are displayed in detailed scenery much like a model railroad layout. There are replicas of Spanish marketplaces, African street scenes, European castles, and more. Some of these scenes contain hundreds of figurines.

While making our way through this exhibit, an enthusiastic lady invited my wife and me to join her overview tour. She led us through the whole museum at lightning pace. I was glad we took her tour because she provided some great information without us having to read every posted description. This allowed us to circle back on our own to learn more about the items that interested us.

The guide started off showing us the highlights of the Girard Wing we were already in. She pointed out interesting angles at which to view the layouts. From there, she took us through the Hispanic Heritage Wing. This wing is dedicated to the Spanish that colonized what is now New Mexico during the 17th and 18th centuries. They were pretty much cut off from Spain so they had to rely on family, faith, and ingenuity to survive. This wing contains the furniture, tools, jewelry, and tinwork of these early settlers. They made some impressive religious relics from tin.

Our tour guide skipped the temporary Needles and Pins exhibit because it just wasn't her cup of tea. Instead, she finished her tour by zipping us through the temporary Bamba exhibit that displayed a collection of Senegalese street art dedicated to the memory of the highly revered Islamic leader, Sheikh Amadou Bamba.

After the tour, my wife and I wandered the museum on our own visiting some of the displays that caught our eyes earlier. We spent most of this time in the Girard Wing and the temporary Bamba exhibit. We even took a stroll through the Needles and Pins wing that our tour guide neglected. It wasn't as bad as she made it sound. It contained examples of weaving looms, quilts, and clothing from all over the world.

We ended our visit to the museum in the gift shop with my wife perusing the jewelry counters and me skimming books about world cultures. Neither one of us bought anything.
Museum of International Folk Art
Museum Hill
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 875042087
+1 505 476 1200

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