The word “hacienda” conjures a sprawling complex and rich surrounding lands, but the reality in 19th-century Taos  was quite different, as this carefully restored adobe home (708 Hacienda Rd., off Ranchitos Rd., 575/758-1000, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily May–Oct., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily Nov.–Apr., $6) from 1804 shows.
Its builder and owner, Severino Martinez, was a prominent merchant who hosted the Taos  trade fairs at the hacienda and eventually became the mayor of Taos  in the 1820s. His oldest son was Padre Antonio Martinez, the valley leader who clashed with the French bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy.
Despite the family’s high social standing, life was fairly rugged, cramped, and cold: 21 simple rooms arranged around two courtyards allowed room for sleeping, cooking, and, in the single room with a wood floor, dancing.
Some of the spaces have been furnished to reflect their original use; others are dedicated to exhibits, such as a very interesting display on slavery in the area, and an especially creepy wood carving of Doña Sebastiana, Lady Death, with her glittering mica eyes, in the collection of Penitente paraphernalia.
During the summer, local craftspeople are on hand to demonstrate weaving, blacksmithing, and the like in the house’s workshops; in the fall, the trade fair is reenacted.
The Museum Association of Taos (www.taosmuseums.org ) manages five museums in town, the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House , the Millicent Rogers Museum , the Harwood Museum of Art , the Ernest L. Blumenschein Home and Museum , and the La Hacienda de los Martinez. At any of the museums, you can buy a $25 pass, valid for a year, that grants you a single admission to all five. With individual admissions costing $8 or more, it can be worth it if you visit three places.