After its usual winter hiatus, Casa San Ysidro Museum: The Gutiérrez-Minge House, across from Old Church, is once again up and running, with COVID-19-safe tours, five-person per tour, New Mexico residents only, via timed tickets available for purchase only online through Hold My Ticket. And, according to Site Manager Aaron Gardner, the museum also is offering a full roster of online programming. You can get each relevant Zoom connection by going to http://www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/albuquerque-museum/events
• February 13: The Unique Legacy of Abraham Lincoln in New Mexico
Abraham Lincoln spoke very little about the far western territory of New Mexico. Yet, during his presidency, two different wars were fought here and the territory’s landmass was divided in half. Lincoln signed into law legislation that would eventually aid in the settlement and development of New Mexico. New Mexico has a county, town, range of mountains and national forest named in his honor. New Mexico State University Professors Christopher Schurtz and Dwight Pitcaithley describe Lincoln’s connection to the New Mexico Territory.
• March 13: Traditions of the Santero: Bulto Restoration Techniques
Bultos, sculptures of saints and other religious figures, are a living tradition within the religious iconography of Spanish folk art. They played an integral part in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The tradition of wooden santo carving has been preserved as a folk art in parts of Mexico and Northern New Mexico.
Conservators Allison Herrera and Keith Bakker discuss bultos and bulto restoration techniques while referencing objects from the Museum’s collection and other pertinent examples in New Mexico.
• April 10: Native American Language Revitalization in New Mexico Christine Sims will discuss the leading efforts in indigenous language revitalization, language maintenance issues, and how the American Indian Language Policy Research Center is providing technical assistance to indigenous nations and training for American Indian language teachers.
In his 1991 revision of Acoma: Pueblo in the Sky, Ward Alan Minge references some of the early work that initiated a bilingual program at Acoma Pueblo’s local school.
Acoma’s bilingual program today is directed by Sims, who is also the state director for the National Indian Bilingual Center and an associate professor at University of New Mexico.
• June 12: Native Dye Plants of New Mexico
Native American and Spanish weavers traditionally have used native plants to dye wool with an array of colors to create one-of-a-kind textiles and clothing.
A weaver’s expertise not only required the skill and dexterity to create intricate patterns but the knowledge of where to find the plants that yielded the desired colors.
Las Arañas weaver Myra Chang Thompson and Rio Grande Return Conservation Director Cameron Weber describe native dye plants, their uses, and the local practices that people have employed in New Mexico for generations.
• July 10: Bioregional Perspectives with Jack Loeffler. With the ever expanding civic and suburban sprawl of the Southwest, understanding how ecosystems can sustain development in the face of unexpected change is needed now more than ever. Jack Loeffler describes bioregionalism occurring in New Mexico and the Southwest. A bioregionalist, aural historian, environmentalist and author, over the past 50 years Loeffler’s work has focused on the vital importance of indigenous-minded environmentalism —citing Native American, Hispano, Anglo, and countercultural excerpts from interviews and folksongs he’s recorded for local history projects.
• August 14: Herreros: The Spanish History of Blacksmiths
Herreros, or Spanish blacksmiths, were highly valued members of Spanish expeditions to New Mexico. They shoed horses and repaired armor, made horse gear, firearms, and small tools. As more colonists arrived, blacksmiths turned their attention to providing domestic goods like griddles, roasting spits, ladles, and knives. Dave Sabo, a local blacksmith skilled in the traditional methods of herreros, describes some of the early iron manufacturing and blacksmithing practices that were used in New Mexico.
• October 9: From Spain to New Mexico, The Journey to Keep a Secret. Who were the Crypto-Jews and Conversos?
An award-winning journalist and educator, Norma Libman describes a history of the Jews in Inquisitional Spain, how crypto-Jews kept their secrets, and the forces that brought them to the American Southwest.
Libman has researched crypto-Jewish history for more than 25 years and has interviewed more than 50 individuals about their family histories and religious practices. This program is co-sponsored by the Historical Society of New Mexico.
• November 13: Civil War History in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
Long known as a place of cross border intrigue, the Rio Grande’s unique role in the Civil War has been largely forgotten or overlooked. Few know the complex history of ethnic tensions, international intrigue, and the clash of colorful characters that marked the aftermath of the Civil War in Texas.
Professor of anthropology at Rio Grande Valley Texas University, Russell Skowronek discusses Civil War history in the Southwest through the university’s traveling exhibit. In addition to its Second Saturday Programs via Zoom, Casa San Ysidro also will virtually experience the El Camino Real Trade Fair, throughout April. The fair celebrates 1800s life along the Camino Real, and will be filled with living history, music, demonstrations, local artisans, educational sessions, and other family-friendly free activities.
Come May, it’s entirely possible that Heritage Day, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., could be experienced actually, rather than in that other manner. The museum joins the Corrales Historical Society in a free event that explores local heritage through exhibits on the living traditions of New Mexico, and a variety of activities that highlight local art and history.
Finally, Corrales Harvest Festival rolls around again on September 25 and 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the village’s largest festival, with events at various venues. Family events at Casa San Ysidro will be free. Last year’s program was entirely virtual, alas, and assorted fingers are crossed for a return to an in-person, live festival this 2021. Contact Gardner with any questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org For tour tickets, go to https://tickets.holdmyticket.com/location/casa-san-ysidro-the-gutierrez-minge-house-in-corrales.