Museo de las Americas has been a cornerstone of the Art District on Santa Fe since it opened its doors in 1991. It’s the only museum in the region devoted exclusively to Latino culture.

“For over 30 years, we've been working in this beautiful space to tell a different story,” says Cristina Del Hoyo, the museum’s media manager.

Taking a Pan-American approach to its exhibits, the museum ambitiously covers a lot of ground as it collects, preserves and interprets the art, history and cultures of the Americas from ancient times to the present. It boasts an ever-changing selection of exhibits.

The museum also stands out because it’s a vibrant community space, she notes. They offer a wide array of educational opportunities for the public such as craft workshops, Spanish conversation clubs, school programs and summer camps for kids. There is also the Lxs Jovenes Leadership Lab, a five-week in-person program that uses arts and technology to cultivate self-empowerment, self-expression and community care for youth (jovenes).

“We focus a lot of our energy, not only on our exhibits, but also in that connection with the community about our exhibits. Every time we have an exhibit, we have programming that is connected to that specific exhibit. Some of those programs are more hands-on workshops, while we'll have other programming like an artist panel with a Q-and-A,” Del Hoyo says.

Local’s Tip: Exploring the Art District on Santa Fe

You easily can make a day out of visiting the district, beginning at Tonantzin Casa de Cafe (where their Mexican hot chocolate is particularly outstanding), followed by a tour of Museo de las Americas and the surrounding galleries. You can then catch a show at Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center and “learn about Latin culture, Chicano culture, and it's going to be a play that they are not going to be able to see anywhere else.”

—Cristina Del Hoyo

A visual artist herself, Del Hoyo’s relationship with the museum started when she became a volunteer and later a vendor selling her art at museum events and in their gift shop where her work is still available.

Museo de las Americas is a passionate supporter of the art district’s First Friday activities where the museum hosts local artists and vendors for free. There is a page on its website for local artists to submit their work to be carried in the gift shop and to be a vendor on First Friday.

For visitors to the city, the museum offers programming and an environment that is distinct and memorable, from its bright purple facade to its eclectic collection that you can’t find anywhere else in the city. Best of all, visitors can feel good about supporting an institution that truly gives back to its community.