Dye Demonstration

Oct. 5, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

How does wool yarn come in so many vibrant colors?  This demonstration will show the process of dyeing raw wool and yarn with acid dye. This activity is free with regular admission ($5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for children 4-17).

Culture Series:

Raiding and Revenge: Two Tales of Spanish and Apache Relations in New Mexico, 1754

Oct. 10, 7 p.m.

Farm & Ranch Museum Director and award-winning author Mark Santiago is our speaker for this month’s Culture Series. His talk will examine two separate but related incidents that demonstrate the complex and violent interactions between the Apaches and the Spanish in New Mexico during the mid-18th Century. In 1754, Spanish authorities in Santa Fe were surprised when their allies at Zuni Pueblo delivered a Spanish subject from the neighboring province of Sonora. The Zuni had liberated this captive after they had attacked an Apache encampment in what is now southwestern New Mexico. The odyssey this man endured illustrated for the Spanish authorities the vast distances over which their seemingly never-ending war with the Apaches truly encompassed. Several months later, the Spaniards launched a punitive expedition of their own, when they dispatched a substantial force from Santa Fe to harass the Apaches. Disguising their movements by mixing with the yearly caravan that travelled to El Paso for trade and supplies along the Jornada del Muerto, Spanish soldiers were able to surprise and destroy two large encampments of Apaches. Despite their success, in the long run these actions merely perpetuated the vicious cycle of raid and counter-raid, and the need for revenge, that would be the hallmark of Spanish and Apache relations for decades to come.               

Mark Santiago has served as the Farm & Ranch Museum’s director since 2006, and was director of the New Mexico Museum of Space History for six years before coming to Las Cruces. A native of Arizona, his most-recent book, “A Bad Peace and a Good War: Spain and the Mescalero Apache Uprising of 1795-99” earned him the 2019 Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award, which is presented annually by the Historical Society of New Mexico to the author of an outstanding publication in New Mexico or Southwest borderlands history.  He also is author of “The Jar of Severed Hands: Spanish Deportations of Apache Prisoners of War, 1770-1810.”

New Exhibit:

Home on the Range: From Ranches to Rockets

October 25

A new exhibit at the Museum explores the dramatic transformation of life in the Tularosa Basin in the 1940s and beyond.

“Home on the Range: From Ranches to Rockets” stretches through two galleries and will be on display from October 25 through January 15, 2021. The free opening reception is from 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 7. The evening, which will include hors d'oeuvres, also features a talk by Jim Eckles, retired director of the Public Affairs Office at White Sands Missile Range. He is the author of the book, "Pocketful of Rockets."

In this exhibit, visitors will learn about ranch life in the Tularosa Basin and the surrounding mountains, and how events taking place halfway around the world brought about changes that for many ranchers were permanent.

While ranchland being transitioned into U.S. government property wasn’t uncommon, the story this exhibit tells is uniquely New Mexico because of the scope of the testing and what was at stake. The story begins with ranchers from Texas settling in the basin in the late 1800s where they found grass tall and plentiful. What they didn’t know was that they arrived during a particularly wet climactic period and that raising cattle would not be as profitable as they once believed, according to the Museum’s History Curator, Leah Tookey. The challenging, and sometimes rewarding, lifestyle these ranch families chose changed dramatically in 1942.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States into World War II, an executive order established a military training range in the region. The ranchers were told they needed to remove their livestock as they would not be allowed back until the end of the war. The families performed their patriotic duties and complied with the orders. Most would never return.

While the basin was used to test rockets, missiles and bombs -- including the atomic bomb in 1945 -- it was also used to launch the country’s space program and other scientific programs, some in the private sector.

“For decades, White Sands Missile Range has been referred to as a huge outdoor laboratory, a place where weapons and civilian projects can be tested,” said Eckles, co-curator of the exhibit with Leah Tookey.

The exhibit features everything from replica structures that include a ranch house, tool shed, and a military block house, to items as big as a V-2 rocket engine and a Loki Dart rocket, and as small as toys and kitchen utensils. Interactive activities for children include games, making paper rockets and feeling the texture of mohair.

Heritage Cooking:

Day of the Dead Bread

Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to noon

Just in time for Day of the Dead, the Museum's Heritage Cooking Program features baking this festive, celebratory dessert bread in an 1890s vintage wood-burning cook stove. Visitors of all ages are welcome to join in the making of these classic loaves, which they can take home and share with friends and family (while supplies last). Complimentary copies of the traditional recipes also will be available, and supplies are furnished by the Museum. Activity is free with paid admission ($5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for children 4-17). 

Meet the Producer:

Hyer Wools

Hyer Wools, a small, 40-acre homestead in the Hyer area near the community of Stanley, N.M., is now featured in the “Meet the Producer” exhibit in the Museum’s Horse & Cattle Barn. Kerry and Kathleen Mower have operated their homestead and business since 1994. The Mowers raispurebred, registered Finnish Landrace sheep. Kerry is the animal expert and a skilled professional blade shearer. He has a PhD in animal health and works full-time as a wildlife biologist for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Kathleen focuses on fiber arts, with wool crafts such as spinning, crocheting, felting, and embroidery getting special attention. She is an accomplished needlewoman. Their goal is to raise healthy sheep and produce an abundance of wonderfully soft wool for hand spinning and fiber craft.

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