Museums & Historic Sites
As the nation’s second oldest city (after St. Augustine, FL), Santa Fe has a lot to offer when it comes to museums and historical sites. While its history is visible in its buildings, streets, festivals, cuisine and art, there’s no better place to explore the Native American, Spanish and Western heritage of the city that in its museums.
A good place to start is the historic Plaza, home to the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History museum. Here you will find modern exhibits covering the State’s history from the time of the Spanish explorers to today as well as the painted Segesser hides believed to originate in Santa Fe in the early 1700’s and are the first know depictions of Spanish colonial life in the United States.
If its art that you are interested in, the New Mexico Museum of Art next door to the history museum is where you should start. Among their 20,000-piece collection are works from the Taos and Santa Fe Art Communities, Gustave Baumann, Fremont Ellis, John Sloan, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams and the extensive New Deal Art Collection.
Just a bit to the west of the New Mexico Art Museum is the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The museum opened in 1997 and has a collection of over 3,000 of her works, the single largest collection of her art. Visitors are treated to viewing a changing selection of her works along with special exhibits that frequently show her works next to those of her American modernist contemporaries or currently living artists of note.
The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts rounds out the museums located in the historic Plaza area. This museum is the country’s only place for exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the most progressive work of contemporary Native North American artists.
The Plaza area and surrounding streets are home to many significant historical landmarks including the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis de Assisi, the Loretto Chapel, the historic Fred Harvey La Fonda Hotel, San Miguel Mission Church, and the Santuario de Guadalupe. Directly south of the Plaza near each of our inns is the 1966 built New Mexico State Capital that houses a noteworthy art collection and the Governor’s Gallery, both available at no cost for viewing.
Four additional museums located a short distance from the Plaza on Museum Hill are described on our Four Kachinas web site. Furthermore, we detail additional historic sites near to Santa Fe.
San Miguel Mission
Old Santa Fe Trail