My daughter, Shyanne and her boyfriend were recalling one evening to each other memories of the family vacations of their youth. His family takes daring, exotic vacations that sound thrilling. They took Shyanne with them to go zip-lining in Costa Rica and they went deep sea fishing in the Florida Keys. Shyanne described to him the streets around the Plaza and the views across New Mexico. And the museums. Our kids went to museums on family vacations. Art, history, children’s, aquatic, zoos, outdoor sculpture parks. We love them. We seek them out. But you don’t have to go on vacation to go to museums.
In your town or a town near you there will be hidden a gem of history, of art, of culture. An inexpensive place to explore. To be enriched. To be inspired.
I was asked to speak at the Trinidad History Museum this last weekend on indigenous plants and remedies for the opening of their exhibit, Borderlands of Southern Colorado; Remedios, Medicine and Health. Trinidad is an hour south of us and we enjoyed seeing a new place and a new museum.
We adore old houses. The architecture, the story, the ghosts that live within, the décor; it all speaks to us. We learn the history of a place, the hopes and dreams of its settlers, the story behind sepia faces in old photographs.
We get decorating ideas. We imagine what life would be like back then. We walk from room to room imagining life a hundred years or two hundred years ago. The Bloom mansion was built in 1882. It is a spectacular home and living exhibit.
We walked through the gardens to the adobe building that houses the gift shop and the current exhibits. The beautiful dancers from Folklorico spun and tapped and smiled as they entertained the crowd.
Inside, we walked past faces from the past- miners and cattlemen, Native Americans and Scots. Artifacts, tools, Catholicism, remedies, furniture all set up in a way to help us understand and imagine life in a small western town just north of the border. How people lived. How people survived. How people thrived.
Kit Carson’s intricately embroidered coat is on display. Documents and historical pieces that bring to life old stories and articles. That make these images tangible and teach us about human nature and about ourselves.
The Baca house was a real treat. It is closed for restoration but we were able to walk through and get a glimpse. This adobe house was built in 1873 by Felipe and Dolores Baca. They traded 22,000 pounds of wool to have it built. That is a lot of wool!
The affluence of the family can be felt in the details. There is a widow’s walk, Victorian and Greek architectural additions and furniture. Felipe died rather young and Dolores dressed in black the rest of her days there. A love story behind the intricate details a home with cracking mud walls.
Museums like the Trinidad History Museum on the Historic Santa Fe Trail often offer children’s programs, community events, and learning opportunities. You can find my books and many other wonderful literary works and children’s books in the gift shop, as well as unique gifts and art.
So, perhaps this weekend, you might seek out a nearby museum. Walk through its gardens, its gates, its doorways. Listen to the whispers of another time and let it change you, influence you, inspire you, educate you.