The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe is an independent museum that is dedicated to showcasing historic and contemporary Native American art. Founded in 1937, the Museum is New Mexico’s oldest independent museum and best known for little-known genres and solo shows by living Native American artists.
The Museum is world renowned for being home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of Navajo and Pueblo jewelry in the world, which is housed in the Jim and Lauris Phillips Center for the Study of Southwestern Jewelry. The Museum also features the Case Trading Post shop, which was established in 1975 and is one of the region’s oldest operating galleries of Native American art. Visitors to the store can purchase a range of contemporary craft and fine arts by Native American artists, ceramics, vintage and antique jewelry, and textiles.
The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian was founded in 1937 by Navajo singer and medicine man, Hastiin Klah and Bostonian Mary Cabot Wheelwright. The Museum building was blessed and built in the early 1930s and named as the House of Navajo Religion and the Navajo House of Prayer before being renamed as the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art and opened to the public. After the sweeping repatriation changes of the 1960s and 1970s, when the Navajo Nation exerted its independence, the museum changed its name to the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in 1977. Today, the Museum maintains its ever-growing, world-renowned collections that chronicle and display Navajo art and culture from 1850 to the present and presents evolving displays and exhibits on traditional, contemporary and modern Navajo and other Native American arts and crafts.
Exhibits / Collections
The Wheelwright Museum’s collection includes a variety of contemporary and historic Native American art, ranging from folk art, carving, kachina dolls, basketry, metalwork, jewelry, and textiles of the Rio Grande Pueblo, the Navajo, and other peoples native to New Mexico. The Museum also has archives of historical papers, documents, and publications from noted artists and scholars.
The Museum also houses collections of sand painting textiles by renowned artist Hastiin Klah, as well as other materials containing religious and ceremonial imagery, which are considered culturally sensitive by the Navajo Tribe and can be accessed with appointment through the Historic Preservation Department of the Navajo Tribe.
The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is located at the 704 Camino Lejo in Santa Fe and is open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is free to the public the first Sunday of every month and guided docent-led tours of the Museum are offered on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sundays at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.
The Museum features the Case Trading Post shop, which was established in 1975 and is one of the region’s oldest operating galleries of Native American art. Visitors to the store can purchase a range of contemporary craft and fine arts by Native American artists, ceramics, vintage and antique jewelry, and textiles.
704 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, NM 87505, Phone: 505-982-4636
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