Centrally located on the Santa Fe Plaza, the Palace of the Governors is a historic adobe structure that stands as an iconic symbol of the history of New Mexico and is thought to the oldest continuously occupied public building in the country. Originally built in the early 17th century, the palace was designed to be the Spanish seat of government for New Mexico and the surrounding region, which is known today as the American Southwest.
The Palace of the Governors went on to survive the next 400 years and five seats of government and is now a state history museum and Registered National Historic Landmark. The traditional one-story adobe structure chronicles the history of Santa Fe, as well as New Mexico and the surrounding region, and serves to preserve and interpret the heritage of the people who have called New Mexico home over the last four centuries.
The construction of the Palace of the Governors was begun in 1610 by the newly appointed governor of the Spanish territory, Pedro de Peralta and the building became the seat of government of the Spanish colony of Nuevo Mexico. The Palace changed hands and ownership over the years and survived many revolts and conquests and finally became New Mexico's first territorial capitol when New Mexico was annexed as a U.S. territory. The Palace of the Governors was declared a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1960 and became the site of the state history museum in 2009. The New Mexico History Museum was opened next door to the building in the same year.
Exhibits / Collections
The Palace of the Governors features an array of archives, collections, and exhibits that reflect various periods of history ranging from the Spanish colonial era (1540-1821), and the Mexican period (1821-1846), to the time of the U.S. Territorial annexure (1846-1912) and statehood (1912-present). The Museum’s collection houses over 15,000 cataloged objects, including paintings, papers and documents, historical artifacts and objects, furniture, clothing, and more.
Signature items in the collection include the Segesser Hide Paintings, which are the first known portrayals of Spanish colonial life in America and depict the ambush of a 1720 expedition led by the Lt. Governor of New Mexico in present-day Nebraska.
The State Seal was made to memorialize New Mexico's entrance into the Union in 1912 by the Shapleigh Hardware Company of Missouri and is made up of spoons, quills, tacks and other pieces of hardware.
The ‘Pancho’ Villa Clock was hung in Columbus’ railway station and was frozen at 4:11 am when the clock took a bullet through its face in the early moments of the Villa raid and left the clock inoperable.
Other signature pieces are a 19th-century office-in-a-desk that once belonged to a prominent Jewish merchant, Charles Ilfeld, and 16th-century Morion helmet with a vivid religious depiction.
The New Mexico History Museum, which is adjacent to the Palace, offers a wide range of educational programs and partnerships, and onsite and outreach activities that take an in-depth look at New Mexico history. Activity guides are designed for children of all ages to explore the museum and participate in the exhibits, encourage family discussions, and participate in games to find the hidden images located throughout the presentation. Other programs include lesson plans and curricula for educators and parents,
The Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum is located on the Santa Fe Plaza and is open to the public daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, May through October, and closed on Mondays November through April. Free docent-led tours are available for visitors on request, and self-guided visits to the Palace of the Governors and New Mexico History Museum are offered daily.
105 W Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501, Phone: 505-476-5100
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