Sunday, March 14, 2010

Exploring Santa Fe

We understand it was 55 degrees and sunny in the Twin Cities today. In Santa Fe, a blizzard of some sort appears to have moved in. No matter, we were on a museum mission today, trying to visit as many of the museums in the city as we could in a short period of time. But we ran out of time before we ran out of museums.

The weather held off long enough for me to get a panoramic shot from the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. (For those of you reading this from the Facebook page, please go to the actual Stirrings From the Empty Nest blog to view it. I'm not sure this exports into Facebook properly.)

Panorama of Santa Fe from Museum Hill on

But we started the day in the Plaza area of downtown Santa Fe, where the Santa Fe trail ends. I had read earlier in the day a piece in the New York Times a few weeks ago about Santa Fe which mentioned the New Mexico History Museum and described it as "magnificent." They weren't kidding.

On the drive down, we heard a piece from National Public Radio on the conservative Texas School Board's decision to rewrite textbooks to emphasize things like the Reagan Administration, the Moral Majority and the NRA. Look, I'm not going to get into a big political discussion on this but whatever boogeymen people have been warning us about in the last year is nothing compared to the threat to this country posed by ignorant morons.

Why does it matter? Because the Texas textbook business is so big that it becomes the de facto school board curriculum for the rest of the nation. So our children will again learn that underpinnings of the United States are the Europeans who settled here and that Manifest Destiny was something to be proud of, that the U.S. military didn't hang Native Americans in New Mexico because they weren't Catholic, that the Mexican culture that many believe is stealing the jobs of the U.S. worker is a more historical culture to this country than the one some people think is superior.

It says a lot about New Mexico that it isn't as afraid of history -- knowledge, you might say -- as these Texans and the people who support them. The history in the museum is told honestly and, from what I can tell, completely.

It's a shame the people who are positioning themselves to be put back in charge of America aren't the museum-going types. It's not left vs. right, it's not conservative vs. liberal. It's whether we want our children to be informed or whether we want them to be ignorant. How can there possibly be two sides to that?

I couldn't take any pictures inside but here's a few of the day. Here's the Plaza:

When New Mexico tried to become a state, it was rejected many times. It was considered too Mexican and too Catholic. Religion does play a big part in life here. This is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi downtown, which -- we learned -- was funded by the many Jewish merchants in Santa Fe at the time it was built.

Love one another constantly, it says.

Over the entrance, the Jewish word Yahweh is inscribed, the word for God in the Jewish bible.

Outside is the statue of the first Native American saint.

After a fine lunch, we stopped by the Loretto Chapel -- admission $3 -- to see the miraculous stairs which do not have any outside support. We browsed the gift shop but avoided buying the glow-in-the-dark rosary beads.

Then we headed for Museum Hill (see panorama above).

I took this picture of a sculpture on the way in. Note the snow coming over the mountain.

And on the way out...

Tomorrow morning -- if we can get over the pass to Albuquerque -- we head for Phoenix. Perhaps by then I can brag to my Minnesota friends about the weather.


Jack Boardman said...

I never thought of New Mexico as a vacation destination...until now. Thanks for posting this.

GML4 said...

Oh I feel so bad for you (regarding the weather). It's was absolutely lovely here today.

You tell such a great story Bob with your photos and comments. Thanks for sharing!