Albuquerque Museum offers journey through New Mexico history

July 14, 2019 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of items representing centuries of New Mexico history will be on display as part of a new exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum.

The items range from letters written by outlaw Billy the Kid to more contemporary objects that are part of the Palace of the Governors extensive collection.

The Albuquerque Museum’s curator of art, Josie Lopez, tells Albuquerque television station KRQE that the exhibit — titled “A Past Rediscovered” — is like a journey through time that starts with the 1700s.


“There’s culture, there’s conflict, there’s art, there’s beauty, but there’s also challenging moments in history,” Lopez said.

Items in the exhibit include photographs from 1843, just years after the invention of photography, as well as a printing press and a rare painting on bison hide that depicts the 1720 defeat of Spanish troops and their allies in present-day Nebraska.

The letters signed by William H. Bonney — better known as Billy the Kid — involve him wanting to testify about a killing that he witnessed in exchange for his freedom. Lopez said the first letter was written before the gunslinger was captured and later escaped.

He pleads in a second letter that he still wants to make a deal.

“It turns out that second letter was written just a couple of months before he ended up being killed,” Lopez said.

Addressed to then-New Mexico Gov. Lew Wallace, the letters exhibit articulate penmanship.

“One of the questions I get when I discuss those letters with our audience is, ‘Did he really write those? Because the penmanship is beautiful,’” Lopez said. “His mother was actually a school teacher in Silver City so Billy the Kid was actually pretty literate.”

The museum said the artifacts provide an interesting perspective of the state’s past and represent a sampling of one of the most important collections in the state. The Palace of the Governors’ collection consists of more than 15,000 catalogued objects, many of which were donated to the Museum of New Mexico in the 1970s by the Historical Society of New Mexico.

The exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum will run through Oct. 20.


Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com