Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art (750 Camino Lejo, 505/982-2226, www.spanishcolonial.org, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $6) opened in 2002 with a strong collection of folk art and historical objects dating from the earliest Spanish contact. The collection had been growing since the Spanish Colonial Arts Society was established in Santa Fe in 1925, and it now has about 3,000 pieces.
The one-of-a-kind treasures—such as the only signed retablo by the 19th-century santero Rafael Aragón—are shown alongside more utilitarian items from the colonial past, such as fine tortoiseshell combs, silk mantas, wool rugs, and decorative tin. New work by contemporary artisans is also on display—don’t miss Luis Tapia’s meta-bulto, The Folk-Art Collectors.
The museum is also open Mondays in the summer.
One of the city’s best tourist deals, a $18 museum pass, good for four days, grants access to three of the institutions on the hill (the fourth is free), as well as to the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico Museum of Art on the plaza. You can buy it at any of the five participating museums.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition