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The Hubbard Museum of the American West is a must-see destination in the Ruidoso Downs/Ruidoso area. Photo by Michael Curran.

Hubbard Museum: A Notable Vestige of Our Past

Periodically we should all be reminded from whence we came. It shows us the ingenuity of our ancestors, forefathers – those who came before us. Especially if we can see the advancements through the many generations, all physically placed before us in quiet splendor. Not many words need to be spoken. These collective objects of the past speak to us in hushed grandeur. Many times, they mean contrasting things to various people. Just like a magnificent painting. Your interpretation of it is your own and probably correct for you.

The Hubbard Museum of the American West combines all of the above – a famous art collection, modes of assorted forms of transportation down through the ages, plus Native American antiquities. Two other cultures – Hispanic and Pioneer – are also predominantly included. Just one visit to this must-see museum will give all – children and adults alike – a rounded and compelling education of the past.

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On view in the Wyeth/Hurd art collection at the Hubbard Museum of the American West is Peter Hurd’s West Point uniform. Photo by Michael Curran.

A fabulous collection of artistic mastery recently opened to the public on April 28, at the Hubbard Museum, featuring the life and art of Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth and their family from the Hondo Valley. The Wyeth/Hurd family art assemblage depicts their life in New Mexico. The exhibit also focuses attention on their stories and numerous items, such as Peter Hurd’s West Point uniform. This incredible presentation will be open to the public until Dec. 30.

The Hubbard Museum opened in 1992. It was a collaboration between Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Hubbard and Anne Stradling. Originally, the donated collection numbered 10,000 pieces. These valuable examples of Western history are systematically rotated.

Museum Director Dakota Crouch is the right choice for his position. He’s been at his current post since January 2014. “I enjoy working around history,” he said. “In addition to the spacious main room on the lower floor, which houses a plentiful array of different methods of transportation down through time, we have six large recessed rooms that host other essential examples from time gone by. Our knowledgeable staff will answer any of your questions.”

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This is just one of many antique transportation exhibits in the Hubbard Museum. Photo by Michael Curran.

Many visitors come from outside the state of New Mexico. “In the summer we get many people from Texas and in the winter folks from Mexico stopover,” Crouch explained. “Normally, once a month – depending on the weather – we have a tour from a school with students from 35 different countries.

“We also have gained Carmon Phillips’ photo collection. His studio used to be in The Old Mill in Ruidoso. His images depicted this area just after WW II until the early 1970s. There are several thousand photographs, which are changed back and forth.

“Curator Brittany Porter is responsible for the care and management of our collections and is also accountable for exhibit development. Additionally, we have guided tours every Friday from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. One of our guides has received a presidential recognition for his volunteer service to the Hubbard Museum. Another one – a former re-enactor – wears period appropriate clothing when he gives a guided tour (such as the Santa Fe Trail tour). These viewings are available by appointment.”

The Ruidoso/Ruidoso Downs area has many attractions for visitors and residents alike. But the Hubbard Museum of the American West, at 26301 Hwy 70, is a remarkable site and should be seen and attended. It is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. For additional information concerning exhibits and summer programs you may go here or here.

—Michael Curran