The Palace of the Governors has been a center
of activity since its construction as New Mexicos second capitol
in 1610. Said to be the oldest continuously occupied public building
in the United States, the Palace has housed such diverse occupants
as Spanish governors, a Pueblo Indian community, and the territorial
governments of the Mexican and American republics.
the time of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, the Palace of the Governors
was abandoned by the Spanish, like the rest of New Mexico, to the
indigenous Pueblo Indian people, who held the building for the next
thirteen years, converting it into traditional "apartment house"
dwellings. When don Diego de Vargas led his Army of Reconquest back
to Santa Fe in 1692, he found that the Palace resembled the multi-storied
its founding in 1909, the Museum of New Mexico has worked to protect
and promote Southwest Native American arts and crafts, Museum policy
reserves the portal, or front porch, of the Palace of the Governors
for the use of New Mexico Native Americans to display and sell wares
they or members of their households have made. The artists and craftspeople
selling their work here are part of a decades-old tradition that
virtually no New Mexico resident or visitor has missed.
There are over 1,000 authorized participants in the Native American
Vendors Program. The majority live in the pueblos or on the reservations
and are deeply conservative people with many traditional obligations
both civic and ceremonial at home; these can be very
demanding, and frequently unpredictable, in terms of time. The portal
as a workplace provides vendors with the scheduling flexibility
to fulfill these obligations without jeopardizing their livelihoods.
All program participants are required to demonstrate their technical
mastery of art and craft skills as part of the application process.
The program is monitored, and work inspected, daily by members of
a ten-person committee of vendors elected by their peers at an annual
meeting held in April. There is a complex set of rules governing
the conduct of the program and the quality of the items sold under
the portal. New rules, rule changes, revisions and refinements are
proposed jointly by vendors and the museum administration and voted
on at the annual meeting by program participants. These rules often
are requested as guidelines by other organizations and shows.
Palace of the Governors Native American Vendors Program has
developed organically over eight decades and continues to evolve.
It is an ongoing experiment in multicultural cooperation. Members
of all nineteen New Mexico Pueblo groups, the Hopis, the Navajo
Nation, Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache tribes, and Anglo and Hispanic
museum staff work closely together daily. From the reservations,
pueblos, villages, towns and cities of New Mexico, they come together
to form an enduring community.
This market has been of incalculable economic benefit to New Mexico
Native Americans for generations, providing a reputable and reliable
outlet for their arts and crafts. To New Mexico residents and visitors,
this unique program offers a splendid opportunity to talk to Native
American artists and craftspeople, and to purchase, or simply admire,
a wide selection of fine work, both traditional and contemporary
Native American artists and craftspeople sell their work at the
Palace of the Governors 360 days a year from 8:00 am to dusk. The
person sitting to the left of the museum entrance is the duty officer
and can answer questions about the program and/or assist you in
locating a particular vendor.
Palace of the Governors is a unit of the Museum of New Mexico, which
is also comprised of the Museums of Fine Arts, Indian Arts &
Culture and International Folk Art, The Laboratory of Anthropology
as well as five state monuments. To find out about exhibitions and
related events, check CultureNet's
Events Calendar or the Museum
of New Mexico's Web site.