City museums offer programming on science, art and history

Maturation by Joe D’Angelo is on exhibit at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. Courtesy photo.
Maturation by Joe D’Angelo is on exhibit at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. Courtesy photo.
How many museums are operated by the city of Las Cruces? If you said four, you are correct. Three of the museums, the Branigan Cultural Center, Museum of Art, and Museum of Nature & Science, are at 501 – 411 N. Main Street, with the Railroad Museum close by at 351 N. Mesilla Street. The Las Cruces museums are open Tuesdays – Fridays from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. All of the City of Las Cruces museums are free and open to the public. Keep reading for details about what’s happening in September.

Keep in mind, if you need an accommodation for a disability to enable you to fully participate in an event, contact the appropriate museum 48 hours in advance.

Museum of Art: From the Ground Up
From the Ground Up XXVII, a regional, juried ceramics show co-hosted by the Potters’ Guild of Las Cruces and the Las Cruces Museum of Art, continues through Saturday, October 24. This year’s show features 32 artists exhibiting a total of 54 sculptural and utilitarian ceramic artworks. The Museum of Art will host an artists’ reception for the exhibition on Friday, September 11, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. Exhibition juror Marcia Selsor will present awards at 5:15 p.m.

The Museum of Art is located at 491 N. Main Street between the Branigan Cultural Center and the Museum of Nature and Science. The exhibits and events are free and open to the public. For additional information, visit the website at or call 541-2137.

If you need an accommodation for a disability to enable you to fully participate in this event please contact the museum 48 hours prior to the event.

Bad Apple by Eric Brown is on display at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. Courtesy photo
Bad Apple by Eric Brown is on display at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. Courtesy photo
Branigan Cultural Center closure
The Branigan Cultural Center will be undergoing some building renovation through Thursday, October 1. The Cultural Center will reopen to the public during the Downtown Ramble on October 2 at 5 p.m. In keeping with the rules and regulations of the building being on the National Historic Register, this project is being done with permission and guidance from the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Division.

Cultural Center staff have developed a plan to continue their summer operations and obligations by working and providing programs at the Museum of Art and the Museum of Nature and Science. Before attending a BCC program, please check their website (, and Facebook page (, or call 541-2154 for up-to-date location information.

Museum of Art Studio Programs
Las Cruces Museum of Art Studio Program’s fall sessions will feature new classes and instructors. The first session will run September 9 through October 21 and the second will run October 28 through December 16 (with a break the week of Thanksgiving). Tuition ranges from $60 to $110 per session.

Adult programs include ceramics (beginner, intermediate/advanced) landscape painting, oil painting, art critique and technique, and classical drawing.

MoNaS: The Prehistoric World Around You
Fall is coming, students are returning to school and the trees are changing into their fall colors. Trees, a part of our daily lives, first appeared almost 385 million years ago in the middle Devonian — nearly 130 million years before the dinosaurs. This fall, in collaboration with New Mexico State University’s Zuhl Collection, Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science is hosting a temporary exhibit on petrified wood: The Prehistoric World Around You. Come explore the remains of these ancient forests with a magnificent variety of specimens from common conifers to the extinct Woodworthia.

The exhibit’s opening night is Friday, September 4, and will run through January 2, 2016. Contact the museum for information on related programs to be offered throughout the fall.

Science, Nature, and Art Program
Recognizing the importance of interdisciplinary learning experiences, the education staff of the Las Cruces Museum System have collaborated to create a new program offering. The Science, Nature, and Art Program (SNAP!) encourages visitors to embrace their artistic creativity while engaging in educational activities inspired by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

The family program will be held in the Atrium, between the Museum of Art and the Museum of Nature and Science, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday starting September 5.

For additional information, visit the website at or call 541-2137.

History Notes: The Lost Apache Treaty of 1852
Dr. Jeffrey P. Shepherd of the Department of History at the University of Texas at El Paso will present the September History Notes Lecture, “The ‘Lost’ Apache Treaty of 1852” on Thursday, September 10, at 1 p.m. at Branigan Cultural Center.

The presentation explores a little-known treaty between bands of Apache (Nde’) and the United States. Signed in 1852, four years after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the U.S. – Mexico War and transferred half of “Mexico’s territory” to the U.S.; and one year before the Treaty of Mesilla ceded a strip of “Mexican land” between El Paso and Yuma to the U.S., this treaty has been largely overlooked by scholars. Initial investigation reveals that the 1852 Treaty with the Apache (the only treaty made exclusively with the Apache) sought to address the inability of the U.S. to adhere to Article 11 of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which required the U.S. to stop Indians from crossing into Mexico and taking livestock and captives.

In an attempt to raise awareness about the treaty and explore its significance, this lecture investigates three issues. It first discusses the territorial claims of the Nde’ within the Borderlands during the early and mid-19th century, an era of considerable violence and geopolitical transformation. Second, it tracks Nde’ responses to the redrawing of international boundaries accompanying the wars and treaties between Spain, Mexico, and the U.S. Lastly, it investigates the reasons for the near disappearance of the Treaty from national awareness. Situating the treaty within Apache diplomatic traditions and contextualizing it within the shifting political relationships of the era helps us better grasp the nature of this unique “Indigenous Borderlands Treaty.”

Jeffrey P. Shepherd is an associate professor and director of the Doctoral Program in the Department of History at the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his doctorate from Arizona State University in 2002. His book, We Are an Indian Nation: A History of the Hualapai People (University of Arizona Press, 2010), focuses on the relationships between Indigenous nation-building and American colonialism. In 2011 it was nominated for Best Book of the Year by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

History Notes, monthly lectures on historical topics, take place on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. Lectures are free and open to the public. The 2015 History Notes lecture series features topics related to American Indian Histories and Cultures of the Southwest. Check the museum webpage or Facebook for a full listing of these and other Branigan Cultural Center public programs or call 541-2154.

MoNaS: Evolved
Evolved is a program that makes circuits through time, discussing important points in evolution and the development of the world as it currently exists. Attend every Friday at 3 p.m. as participants explore the beginnings of the universe and discuss what the future may hold for us, as informed by modern philosophy and science. Evolved is free of charge and all ages are welcome.

Beginning with the Big Bang, they follow the path of our changing universe, from the origin of our planet, through the first life, and on through the many changes wrought by evolution on our world. It’s been a long journey with many questions. We’re lucky enough to live in a time when we are discovering answers to questions that have plagued us, about our nature and where we come from, since the beginning of humankind. Come learn about the questions and answers we’ve discovered throughout history.

In September, they will explore the following stories:
September 4: Story of Luna
September 11: Story of the Future: neutrinos,
cosmic rays, and particle accelerators
September 18: Story of the Future continued
September 25: TBD

For additional information, visit the website at or call 522-3120.

Rail Readers Book Club
The Rail Readers Book Club meets at the Las Cruces Railroad Museum at 11 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. On September 16 they discuss Diary of a Waitress: The Not-So-Glamorous Life of a Harvey Girl. This young adult novel is written as a diary by “waitress” Kitty Evans.

Dreaming of becoming a journalist, Kitty lies about her age to become a Harvey Girl. She hopes the experiences will provide a fresh perspective and new material for her writing. Diligently recording her thoughts in a diary, she shares her struggles to learn “the Harvey Way,” her first romance, and the beginnings of friendships that will last a lifetime.

For additional information, visit the website at: or call 647-4480.

Brown Bag Lecture: The Amador Hotel
The Las Cruces Railroad Museum hosts a free Brown Bag Lecture at noon on the second Tuesday of each month. On September 8, Dr. Deborah Dennis will present “Breathing New Life into the Pioneer Hotel of the Southwest: A Brief Tale of the Historic Amador Hotel and its preservation.”

As the oldest public building remaining in downtown Las Cruces, the Amador Hotel has witnessed the growth of Las Cruces through boom times and depressions. After being a part of daily life in Las Cruces for more than 125 years, the Amador fell silent in 2006 when county staff locked the doors for the final time as they moved into the new Doña Ana County Government Center on Motel Boulevard.

This is the story of the friends who came to the Amador’s rescue, determined that its fate would not be the same as that of St. Genevieve Church. Dr. Deborah Dennis is the vice president of the Amador Hotel Foundation, Inc., a private nonprofit established in 2006. Working with the City of Las Cruces, the foundation’s mission is to collaboratively preserve and restore the historic Amador Hotel, maintaining its historic vibrancy.

Dr. Dennis’ day job is with Human Systems Research, Inc., where she has served as its executive director for the past 20 years.

For additional information, visit the website at: or call 647-4480.