Museum of International Folk Art
The Museum of International Folk Art (708 Camino Lejo, 505/476-1200, www.internationalfolkart.org, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $8) is marvelous hodgepodge of a museum. It’s also one of Santa Fe’s biggest treats—but the easily overwhelmed should steer clear of the main exhibition space, the collection of modernist designer Alexander Girard.
About 10 percent of his collection—10,000 pieces from more than 100 countries—is on permanent display in one hall, hung on walls, set in cases, even dangling from the ceiling. Pieces are juxtaposed to show off similar themes, colors, and materials, an approach that initially seems jumbled but in fact underscores the universality of certain concepts and preoccupations around the world.
Elsewhere in the museum, a wing is dedicated to northern New Mexican Hispano crafts—a good complement to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art—and a lab area where you can see how pieces are preserved.
Temporary exhibits take up the rest of the space, usually with colorful, interactive shows on Carnival celebrations around the world, for instance. Don’t skip the gift shop, which stocks some smaller versions of the items in the galleries, along with a great selection of world-music CDs.
Like the MIAC, the place closes on Mondays in the low season.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition