Originally opened in 1986 inside the Mesilla Valley Mall, the Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science was moved in November of 2012 to its new location in Historic Downtown Las Cruces. Kim Hanson, Curator of Education, radiates with contagious enthusiasm when talking about the museum and all it has to offer.
“I love talking and teaching about science, especially when you see the “ah-ha!” moment when people make a connection or learn something new.”
Part of the museum’s mission statement is to inspire curiosity about the sciences, which is why they do an average of 3,000 tours a year, a lot of which are field trips. Inspiring people of all ages is passion of Kim’s. After speaking with Kim, I learned why Pluto is not considered a planet, and also that the Carlsbad Caverns used to be underwater caves.
There is something special here for kids and adults of all ages, and there is always someone friendly and helpful around to give you more information on any of their displays. They have live animals, fossils, some hands on activities, and, my personal favorite, the magic planet room, shown in our video. Right now they have four long term exhibits on display: Paleozoic Trackways, Space in New Mexico, Chihuahuan Desert, and Nanoscience.
Hours at the Museums
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
First Friday of each Month 10:00 am – 7:00 pm (Downtown Arts Ramble)
Thursday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday, Monday Closed
The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum always has something fun going on. Agriculture is very important to the history of New Mexico, and to Craig Massey, Communication Manager at the museum. Having worked at the museum for the past 17 years, Craig is dedicated to preserving and sharing the story of his ancestors, as both his parents and his grandparents were farmers. The museum is 47 acres with exhibits, as well as livestock to explore. Pony rides are available for children on Saturday mornings with Daisy, Bubbles, and their newest addition, Paulie. They have three large playgrounds as well, one of which is indoors. Demonstrations are done often with the blacksmith, as well as sewing demonstrations, wood spinning, weaving, quilting, and dowsing. Galleries are a big part of what this museum offers, with both permanent and changing exhibits. Tours are available, along with workshops, classes, and lectures. Always check in for upcoming events, like the annual Cowboy Days in March, Summer Day Camps for Kids, and the Ice Cream Sunday in July. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. There is a small entrance fee for adults, and children are free.
The Branigan Cultural Center used to be home to our public library. It became a cultural center, home to traveling galleries and exhibits when the library built its new location in 1981. Right now it’s a temporary home to an exhibit by Lois Duffy from Silver City, called 3-Dimensional Journey, and a traveling gallery titled Reflections.
Reflections is actually a widespread collection of different types of works, all brought together by a women named Myrna Colley-Lee. Whether it be a drawing, a sculpture, or a photograph, all the pieces have the theme of being connected to African American life. Upon her passing, she donated her collection so that people around the world could enjoy it.
The 3-Dimensional Journey is a fun cube art exhibit, a favorite among the children and young at heart. Duffy has taken blocks and painted them on all multiple sides, placing them together to create an image and to tell a story.
The artwork on display changes often so that something new is available to the public every couple of months. Garland Courts, the speaker in the video above, is the Museum's manager and his favorite exhibit was the King Tut exhibit from 2006. It displayed replicas of King Tut's treasures. Their exhibits are free and everyone is encouraged to come explore. Right next door is the Museum of Art, which offer a number of classes to the public, as well as their own galleries and exhibits. Here is a list of the classes they are offering in Spring 2016.