Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Millicent Rogers Museum has enjoyed yet another incredible year!  In 2017, we hosted fourteen exhibits and events including successful fundraisers, such as our Miniatures Show and Sale, Turquoise Gala, and Fall Travel Program.  We were awarded the Best Museum in Taos by the Taos News and are ranked as the best museum to visit in Taos on Trip Advisor.  Our robust schedule of exhibits and events has led to both local and national media coverage in such publications as, The Albuquerque Journal, The Santa FeanArt and Antiques, Native American Art Magazine, and Time Out New York.  

Attendance at the museum continues to rise, and our 20th Annual Holiday Fiesta welcomed over 600 Taos County visitors to the museum in a single day.  Our amazing team of volunteers have logged over 2,000 volunteer hours, and our dedicated staff and board go above and beyond to make the museum special.  

We received a generous grant funded by the National Endowment for the Arts from New Mexico Arts and sponsorships from Taos Mountain Casino, Chevron, and Heritage Hotels.  We have also enjoyed exciting new additions to our collection, welcomed new members into our membership program, and raised 60% of our annual fund campaign.  I am honored to have led the museum through this exciting year, and I look forward to what we have planned for 2018.  Help us reach our 2017 fundraising goals by making a donation in any amount to our annual fund so we can continue to further our mission of sharing and celebrating the arts and cultures of the Southwest with everyone!   
Thank you for supporting the Millicent Rogers Museum and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Millicent Rogers' turquoise tab necklace is back on view at the museum.  It was recently on loan to the Albuquerque Museum for a special exhibit on the family of Leekya Deyuse, the creator of this amazing piece.  The necklace features 294 tabs of Cerrillos and Blue Gem turquoise mined in the Southwest, and was purchased after Rogers saw it at the 1946 Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial.  To learn more about Rogers' collection of Southwest jewelry, visit us at the museum and pick up a copy of Fine Indian Jewelry of the Southwest: The Millicent Rogers Museum Collection by former MRM director Shelby Tisdale in the museum store.

Friday, August 25, 2017

In 1956, Millicent Rogers' youngest son, Paul Peralta-Ramos saved his mother's vast collection of Native American jewelry, pottery, textiles, and other Southwest artworks from the auction block and used these rare and significant works to found one of the premier museums of Southwest art and culture in the nation.  At the Millicent Rogers Museum, we continue to find inspiration and guidance from both our namesake and founder, and are honored that this legacy has been supported over the years by the Rogers family, the generosity of our donors and sponsors, and the dedication of our board, staff, and volunteers.  Like Millicent Rogers, we are passionate about sharing and celebrating the arts and cultures of the Southwest and our fundraising gala provides the essential resources that make our mission possible.  

Floral arrangements by Mercedes Valdez of Eleganté Floral donated by MRM trustee Christina Peralta-Ramos

It takes many dedicated individuals to make the gala successful, and we sincerely thank all of the underwriters, live and silent auction donors, museum staff, volunteers, and gala committee members who made the Turquoise Gala possible.  A very special thank you is extended to Laurie Mitchell Dunn, the museum's board president and sponsor for the evening's entertainment courtesy of Chris Arellano and Nuevo Americana, Randy and Sondra Phillips, gala committee co-chairs, Don Crum, graphic designer, Mercedes Valdez of Eleganté Florals and Christina Peralta-Ramos for donating the flower arrangements, Kay Baird Harris for planning the preview reception with catering by Earlene's Cafe, and Steven Zick of Christie's for donating his services as auctioneer.  

Turquoise Gala programs and logo courtesy of Don Crum

A Special Thank You to Our 
Turquoise Gala Sponsors!

Blue Diamond
Laurie and Craig Dunn

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cudd: Cudd Foundation
Jere Robertson
Philip Peralta-Ramos and Shelly Burke

Melinda and Roger Eiteljorg
Robyn and Joseph Miller

Pam and B.T. Coleman
Mary Dale and Jim Gordon
Sandra Richardson
La Posada de Taos Inn
Barbara Brenner
Shanti and Yale Jones
Linda and Jay Thomas
Heritage Hotels/El Monte Sagrado
Kay and Gregg Harris

Santa Rita
Peter Balon
Chevron Products Company
Sally Graubarth
Marguerite and Dave Lambert
Jeannine and Robert McFarland
Centinel Bank of Taos
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Coffee
Peggy and John Hamilton
Happy Price
Dr. Richard and Bette Pesikoff
Sondra and Randy Phillips, Home2Taos
Dr. Richard and Annette Rubin
Santa Fe Advisors, LLC
Beth and Barry Rosenblom
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld
Lillian and Bob Shaw

Linda and Robert Attiyeh
JonnaLynn Mandelbaum
Andrea Szekeres
Don Crum
Anne and Terry Conner
Nancy and Hiroshi Murata
Wint Winter, Jr.

At this year's event, we were able to raise over $100,000 for the museum! Thanks to everyone who made our gala possible.  You can see some fun pictures from our gala here.  

Artist Ira Lujan, Millicent Rogers Museum Executive Director Dr. Caroline Jean Fernald, and Western Art Collector and Native American Art Magazine editor Joshua Rose at the 2017 Turquoise Gala

Funds from the event support a variety of needs at the museum, which range from simple building maintenance to new exhibition installations.  A portion of the funds raised at this year's gala support Corn: Sacred Giver of Life and Feast Days, A Cycle of Faith, two new exhibits that are now on view at the museum.  

J. D. Roybal, Corn Dance, c. 1960
On view at the museum in Corn, Sacred Giver of Life

We also have our "On the Trail of Buffalo Bill" fall trip coming up soon on September 10-17.  Thanks to the sponsorship of several generous donors, I will be accompanying this year's trip, and will also provide a presentation on the history of the legendary showman and several of the sites we will see during the trip, such as Pecos Pueblo.  You can read more about the trip here, but please note that our due date for rooming lists at several of the gorgeous luxury accommodations we will be enjoying has passed.  If you would like to attend the trip, please contact trip coordinator Nancy Colvert at to be added to the waiting list ASAP!  

A photo I took at Pecos Pueblo of a kiva next to the site's ruined church

Sunday, August 13, 2017

On Monday, August 14th at 6 p.m., I will be giving a lecture as part of the Southwest Seminars series at the Hotel Santa Fe.  I presented similar talks earlier this year for the Taos Archeological Society and for the museum during last fall's Antiques Show and Sale.  My lecture will be based on research I completed for both my Master's thesis and my recently completed doctoral dissertation.

Parrot Effigy Vessel from the collection of the Millicent Rogers Museum
My presentation will cover the history of trade between Mesoamerica and the Southwest and how these cross-cultural connections are evident in art from the prehistoric and historic periods.  I am at a great advantage in preparing for my lecture in that I have access to an incredible collection of prehistoric pottery at the museum and plan to address how certain items end up in museum collections--a topic I discussed in a previous post.  Even if you are unable to attend the lecture, I encourage you to visit me at the museum as I am always willing to wax poetic about Southwest pottery!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Over the weekend, I visited Chaco Culture National Historical Park, which, like Taos Pueblo, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The majority of the site dates from 850-1250 and includes multiple ruined structures surrounding a small canyon.  These structures were connected to each other as well as several distant sites in the Southwest through a network of roads that are still visible today on some of the backcountry trails.  I discussed an earlier trip to Chaco in a previous post, which includes more photos.
Multi-Roomed Structure at Pueblo Bonito, one of several structures at Chaco
Part of the site was destroyed by a massive rock fall in the 1940s

Interior room and metate (corn grinding stone) at Pueblo Bonito

Great Kiva, a circular, semi-subterranean ceremonial space

T-shaped doorways demonstrating a possible cultural connection to communities in northern and central Mexico

Petroglyphs located near the visitors center

Contemporary Pueblo, Hopi, and Navajo communities consider the site and the Ancestral Puebloan people who once inhabited it to be linked to their ancestral past, and evidence for this connection can be seen in the continuity of artistic motifs in textiles and ceramics and in oral histories passed down through generations.  The Millicent Rogers Museum's permanent collection houses several examples of Ancestral Pueblo ceramics from a variety of sites in the Southwest, which can be viewed next to historic and contemporary works in our pottery gallery.  I will be discussing some of this history through ceramics at an upcoming lecture in Santa Fe as part of the Southwest Seminars series on August 14th.

Ancient, historic, and contemporary pottery from the Southwest on display at the Millicent Rogers Museum 
Just a few weekends ago, I visited Pecos National Historical Park, which is also a ruin site that was occupied until the early 1800s. The site includes the remains of several multi-room structures as well as a large mission church that was partially destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.  I visited Pecos in preparation for the museum's upcoming fall trip.  

Kiva entrance with the remains of the mission church at Pecos Pueblo in the background

The interior of the church at Pecos Pueblo

Inside a reconstructed kiva a Pecos Pueblo
Each year, our fall travel program follows a theme and includes related stops, sights, and activities. The MRM fall travel program has hosted Fred Harvey, trading post, Anasazi, and Hopi-themed excursions, and this year's theme is Buffalo Bill.  William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846-1917) was a rider for the Pony Express, a scout in the U.S. Army, and a legendary entertainer renowned for his Wild West show.  His production brought the Wild West to life and featured famous performers, such as Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, and Sitting Bull, and toured almost every state and numerous European countries.  You can find out if Buffalo Bill's Wild West visited your town here.  In honor of the centennial celebration of Buffalo Bill, our fall travel program will include stops at many sites significant to his history.

Promotional Image for Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Famed Sharpshooter Annie Oakley, a performer in Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Image courtesy of Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill in Montreal, Canada, 1885
Image courtesy of Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
Buffalo Bill greeting Millicent Rogers' cousin Bob Coe at his family's home in Wyoming

This year's trip will feature visits to Glorieta Pass and Pecos Pueblo in New Mexico, private tours of several Western art and Buffalo Bill-themed collections in Colorado, a day of fun at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, exploration and sightseeing at Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, and more.  A full itinerary is listed below.  Travelers will enjoy the comforts of luxury coach service, historic hotels, and fine dining.  The dates of the trip are Sunday, September 10th to Sunday, September 17th with the cost per person at $2,495 for double occupancy.  Please contact the museum at (575)758-4316 or email me at for more information.  We are only accepting reservations until next week so don't wait too long!

Happy travelers on last year's trip throughout the Southwest

Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park

The view of the Grand Tetons from the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming
Sunday, September 10th:
Evening cocktail reception, dinner, and lecture on Buffalo Bill by Millicent Rogers Museum Executive Director Dr. Caroline Jean Fernald
Overnight lodging at the Albuquerque Airport Sheraton
Parking for the duration of the trip is included

Monday, September 11th:
Tour a private collection in Glorieta Pass, NM and enjoy a guided tour of the ruins at Pecos Pueblo
Overnight lodging at the luxurious Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver, CO

Tuesday, September 12:
Private tours of Western and Native American art at the Anschutz Collection, the Denver Art Museum, and History Colorado
Overnight lodging at the Brown Palace

Wednesday, September 13:
Guided tour of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, CO
Visit the Pony Express Historic Site in Fort Casper, WY
Dinner at the historic Irma in Cody, WY
Overnight lodging at The Cody

Thursday, September 14:
Special tours with curators at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Shopping and sightseeing in Cody's historic downtown
Overnight lodging at The Cody

Friday, September 15:
Tour Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks
Overnight lodging at the Jackson Lake Lodge overlooking the Grand Tetons

Saturday, September 16:
Private tour of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY
Overnight lodging at the Hampton Inn in Castle Rock, CO

Sunday, September 17:
Farewell luncheon in Las Vegas, NM at the historic Plaza Hotel
The bus will return all travelers to the Albuquerque Airport Sheraton by 3:30 p.m.; return flights should be booked no earlier than 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Since its founding in 1956, the Millicent Rogers Museum has maintained a close relationship with Taos Pueblo, which I discussed in more detail in a previous post.  Millicent Rogers' youngest son, Paul Peralta-Ramos, founded the museum in memory of his mother and established several practices in our bylaws that further honored his late mother's affection for the people, customs, and artistic traditions of Taos Pueblo.

Taos Pueblo by Albert Lujan, 1945
Gift of Brad and Fran Taylor
First, the museum must always reserve an honorary position on the board of trustees for the current governor of the Pueblo.  Second, the museum will be closed to the public on September 30th each year in honor of San Geronimo Feast Day, a celebration of the Pueblo's patron saint, so that the museum's staff, volunteers, and visitors can attend the festivities.  In addition, the museum has hosted the Taos Pueblo Artists Winter Showcase for the past five years.  At this event, select artists are invited to participate in a weekend-long show at the museum during the Pueblo's ceremonial closure for religious observances.  The lack of tourism at the Pueblo during the closure affects the artists' main sources of income, and so the museum hosts this event at no cost or booth fee to the invited artists as part of our ongoing partnership and commitment to supporting Taos Pueblo.  For the past several years, Taos Mountain Casino has also generously sponsored the event.

Solitude by Debbie Lujan, 2016
featured work from our 2016 Taos Pueblo Artists Winter Showcase
The permanent collection of the Millicent Rogers Museum includes many works by Taos Pueblo artists and several artists are also represented in the museum's store.

Three Horses by Albert Looking Elk Martinez, c. 1945
Gift of Brad and Fran Taylor

Taos Pueblo pottery by Dawn Antelope, Juanita DuBray, Sharon Reyna, R. Espinoza, and Virginia Romero

Navajo Shepherdess by John Suazo, 1985

John Suazo sculptures in the museum store
In 2012, the first year that the museum hosted the Taos Pueblo Artists Winter Showcase, a weekend-long fundraising gala was held at the museum that incorporated many of the artists mentioned above. A short video about the event can be found here.  At this event, the late Tony Reyna posed for a live portrait with artist Sherrie McGraw and Ira Lujan presented a glass blowing demonstration in the museum's courtyard.

Tony Reyna posing with his unfinished portrait by Sherrie McGraw

Ira Lujan presenting glass glowing techniques

Tony Reyna (1916-2016) was a revered Taos Pueblo elder, two-term governor of the Pueblo, veteran, survivor of the Bataan death march, and former Millicent Rogers Museum trustee.  He was a long-time supporter of the museum and would often attend our annual Taos Pueblo Artists Winter Showcase.

Sherrie McGraw painting a portrait of Tony Reyna at the Millicent Rogers Museum in 2012

Tony Reyna, An American Hero by Sherrie McGraw, 2012
featured auction item for this year's Turquoise Gala
donated by a private collector
The portrait of Tony Reyna that was completed at the museum in 2012 was donated back to the museum by the collector for this year's Turquoise Gala fundraising auction.

Deer Jar by Ira Lujan, 2017
featured live auction item in this year's Turquoise Gala
donated by the artist

Ira Lujan, who participates in our Taos Pueblo Artists Winter Showcase each year, has donated work to our fundraising gala in years past, and is represented in the museum store, recently submitted the sculpted glass piece shown above for this year's event.  It will be a featured item in our live auction and more information can be found here. Our silent auction will also have works by Debbie Lujan, whose work is shown at the top of this blog post and below, and celebrity designer Patricia Michaels.

Winter Solstice by Debbie Lujan, 2017
featured silent auction item for this year's Turquoise Gala
donated by the artist

Patricia Michaels presenting on her fashion designs at our Taos Pueblo Artists Winter Showcase earlier this year
Another work that will be included in our Turquoise Gala live auction that is significant to the museum's connection to Taos Pueblo is this painting by Albert Lujan.  The scene depicts the dance plaza at the Pueblo on the Feast Day for San Geronimo.  Lujan, along with Albert Looking Elk Martinez and Juan Mirabal, was part of the "Three Taos Pueblo Painters," three artists who learned how to paint in the western (European) style using oils.  The Millicent Rogers Museum's permanent collection houses dozens of works by these talented artists and this painting would make a wonderful addition to museum if anyone should wish to bid on it at our gala (hint! hint!).  Last year, we were fortunate enough to have a generous donor purchase a painting discussed in a previous blog post, so one can dream! If you are interested in more information about our gala or any of the works featured in this post, please contact me at or at (575)758-2462, ext. 205.

San Geronimo Feast Day by Albert Lujan, c. 1945
donated to our Turquoise Gala live auction by Ray Trotter of the RB Ravens Gallery

Monday, July 17, 2017

Many apologies to my readers! It's been a terribly long time since I last posted, but I have a good excuse for neglecting my blog.  I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma, and had to conserve my ability to write in a relatively coherent manner for my dissertation.  However, our upcoming Turquoise Gala, Fall Travel Program, and some exciting new exhibits have inspired me to get back on the grind and post an update. As usual, we have quite a lot of activity here at the museum. If you want to stay up to date with everything going on at the Millicent Rogers Museum, I recommend that you sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and check our website often.

Turtle Dance by Dorothy Brett, Millicent Rogers Museum

A few weeks ago, the Harwood Museum returned pieces they had borrowed from our collection for their traveling Mabel Dodge Luhan and Company exhibit, and the return of these pieces is the inspiration for this blog post.

Colcha Stitch Embroidered Flower Design for Dorothy Benrimo by Rebecca Salsbury James, Millicent Rogers Museum

It has long been understood that the world is very small when it revolves around Taos and there are very few degrees of separation between individuals.  In a previous post, I discussed the vigas in Turtle Walk, Millicent Rogers' home in Taos, that were painted by Dorothy Brett and Trinidad Archuleta (note the similarities to the Brett painting pictured above).  Brett, an aristocratic lady from British high society, first came to Taos in 1924 with her friends Frieda and D.H. Lawrence, the famed writer.  The three friends were invited to stay with Mabel Dodge Luhan, a wealthy American who is renowned, in part, for introducing many artists, writers, and their eccentric companions to Taos.  In 1926, Rebecca Salsbury Strand (later James) visited Taos with her photographer husband Paul Strand upon receiving an invitation from Dodge Luhan.  Salsbury James returned to Taos in 1929 accompanied by her close friend Georgia O'Keeffe, and the two women proceeded to make many return trips to the area before ultimately settling permanently in 1933 and 1940, respectively.

My Three Fates by Dorothy Brett, Albuquerque Museum
Mabel Dodge Luhan is on the far left, Frieda Lawrence is in the center with D.H. Lawrence in the back leaning against a tree, and Dorthy Brett is on the far right.

Brett was close friends with Rogers and would often correspond with her friend's youngest son, Paul Peralta-Ramos (the founder of the Millicent Rogers Museum).  After Rogers' death, Brett continued to write and would encourage Peralta-Ramos to be more courageous, daring, and creative like his mother.  She would also take great pleasure in sharing gossip about their various mutual acquaintances in Taos.  In one letter, she regaled him with a story about Frieda Lawrence's false teeth, which had gone missing and were later found in the trash.  

Millicent Rogers and Dorothy Brett in the plaza during Fiestas de Taos, c. 1952,
Millicent Rogers Museum

Millicent Rogers and Frieda Lawrence at Turtle Walk, c. 1951,
Millicent Rogers Museum

Part of the floor at the Millicent Rogers Museum,
which was once the front entrance to the home of Claude and Elizabeth Anderson.
The Andersons donated their home to the museum in the late 1960s.
Millicent Rogers, Frieda Lawrence, and Dorothy Brett carved their initials into the floor one evening at a party.
The living room in the Anderson home or what is now gallery 10 in the Millicent Rogers Museum.
Pictured in the foreground is a bench that Rogers purchased from Dodge Luhan.

The collection of the Millicent Rogers Museum includes several of Brett's paintings, and most of these works were either owned by Rogers or her son.  Peralta-Ramos was instrumental in growing the museum's collection over the years and befriended many artists and collectors in Taos.

Portrait of Millicent Rogers by Dorothy Brett, Millicent Rogers Museum
According to Searching for Beauty: The Life of Millicent Rogers by Cherie Burns, Rogers would frequent the La Fonda hotel in Santa Fe when she needed to recover from bouts of illness.  On one of her final visits to the hotel, many of her Taos friends paid visits and she was gifted an embroidered colcha from Salsbury James.  Unfortunately, this colcha is not included in the museum's collection.  However, you can learn more about Rogers' stays in Suite 500 at the La Fonda hotel in the books referenced above and pictured below.

La Fonda Then and Now, published October 2016
The museum owns two of James' colchas, and the one pictured at the top of this blog post was dedicated to Dorothy Benrimo.  Benrimo was also an artist and co-authored a photography book on grave crosses in northern New Mexico with James.  The colcha was donated to the museum by Benrimo along with several santos from the artist's personal collection.

San Ignacio de Loyola retablo by José Raphael Aragon, 1820-1865,
gift of Dorothy Benrimo, Millicent Rogers Museum
The Millicent Rogers Museum's collection is capable of telling many intricate and interconnected stories, and I look forward to sharing more of this amazing collection and the history of Taos with you.