7 Excellent New Mexico Virtual Experiences

As the pandemic trudges on, many of our cultural institutions and attractions are still closed to guests. Lucky for us, many have put together virtual tours so you can experience their new exhibits, permanent collections and more from home. You don’t need a VR headset, either, although some attractions do support virtual reality for a more immersive experience.

So if you’re looking for things to do at home, and are in need of a change of scenery, grab your laptop, tablet or phone, and join us on a tour filled with history, art, science, and technology.

Museum of International Folk Art
Alexander Girard: A Designers Universe

Alexander Girard was one of the most influential interior and textile designers of the 20th century. Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe is the first major retrospective on Girard’s work, organized by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. It opens a door to his creative universe and shows his close relationships with contemporaries such as Charles & Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Andy Warhol, Rudi Gernreich, and many others. Featured are Girard’s designs in textiles, furniture, and sculptures, as well as numerous sketches, drawings, and collages never shown before.

Girard was also a pivotal figure in the history of the Museum of International Folk Art, donating more than 100,000 objects from his and his wife Susan’s folk art collection, and in 1981 creating the museum’s long-term, beloved exhibition Multiple Visions. Girard’s playful designs attest to a passion for colors, ornamentation, and inspirations from folk art.

Coinciding with this traveling retrospective, the Museum of International Folk Art will enhance the visitor experience of its Girard collection exhibition, Multiple Visions, through interpretive and interactive elements designed for the 21st century.

Begin the tour here

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
Atomic Advertising in the 20th and Early 21st Centuries

In the 20th Century, radiation was associated with the future of health and wellness as well as modernity and technology. As both the patent medicine and advertising industries thrived and grew in the decades leading up to the Second World War, the popularity and use of radium and other radioactive materials, such as thorium and polonium, flourished.

Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, radiation and nuclear science began to take on different connotations. By the mid-1960s, advances in uranium mining and radiology research had entered the zeitgeist hand-in-hand with the potential for global nuclear war in American minds.

At the end of the 20th century and leading into the early 21st Century, attitudes had seemingly come full circle and vintage atomic themes came back into vogue by way of popular culture and a boom in 21st Century “self-help” and quackery.

This exhibition, compiled from the collections of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, aims to exemplify the ever changing public attitudes towards atomic thought over the course of the 20th Century and first decade of the 21st Century through the reflective lens of advertising and packaging.

Visit the virtual exhibit

Albuquerque Museum
Trinity: Reflections on the Bomb

This exhibit displays a collection of artists’ responses to nuclear issues and the detonation of the first nuclear weapon at the Trinity Site near Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. The exhibition marks the 75th anniversary of the Trinity explosion.

Trinity presents a brief history of artistic, ecological, humanitarian, political, and popular culture responses. These works offer an aesthetic dimension to the scientific and historical exhibitions offered by other museums in New Mexico.

Visit the exhibit here

Carlsbad Caverns
360 Virtual Visit, Tour De Force

Pictographs near the entrance to Carlsbad Cavern give evidence that Native Americans knew of the site 1,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until the 1880s that nearby settlers rediscovered the location and began mining it for bat guano to be used as fertilizer. One of the miners, James Larkin White—who claimed to have discovered the cavern—explored the cave further and began giving tours lit by kerosene lanterns, lowering the curious to a depth of 170 feet (52 meters) in bat-guano buckets.

Early visitors had to use ladders, then wooden stairs, then a switchback ramp that took them 750 feet (230 m) below the surface to the Big Room, the largest single cave chamber by volume in North America. It measures almost 4,000 feet (1,220 m) long, 625 feet (191 m) wide, and 255 feet (78 m) high at its highest point. In 1932 the National Park Service opened a visitor center with two elevators to make the trip fast and easy, although far less interesting.

This 360 virtual visit allows easier access still. It gives you a taste of the otherworldly views you encounter during a self-guided tour. You will quickly appreciate why this is considered one of the best caves in the world. If you have a VR headset, use it with this tour for a truly immersive experience.

516 Arts
Collage Animation

516 ARTS presents a series of online collage exhibitions and programs, starting with Collage in Motion, an exhibition of collage animation curated by independent filmmaker and collage artist Lisa Barcy, and Cut Up Or Shut Up!, curated by Bryan Konefsky, president of Basement Films, opening on May 9 in conjunction for World Collage Day, an initiative organized by Kolaj Magazine.

Collage has a long history with animation, from Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette animations from the 1920s and 1930s to the surrealist films of Joseph Cornell to Terry Gilliam’s wacky introductions to Monty Python’s Flying Circus to the array of commercials that use collage to tell a story. Animation provides collage artists a different way to tell stories and potentially opens new paths to sharing their work.

View Collage Animation here

The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Road to Rediscovery

Archaeological excavations as part of highway construction projects started in the 1950s. It was an imperfect situation as archaeologists often worked under the shadow of construction equipment and strict deadlines.

Over the past 50 years, the goals of highway projects have shifted to more demanding, scientific objectives. Federal and state laws now protect archaeological sites and set the standards for research along our nation’s highways. These laws demand that sites be protected and avoided if possible.

This exhibit celebrates the history of the New Mexico Highway Archaeology Program and highlights some of the many important discoveries. In recent years, the program has begun to use more rigorous scientific objectives. Find out what was learned about one site using new techniques.

Open the exhibit here

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
The NEW Tree of Life

For a century after Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, scientists could compare only physical features to describe evolutionary lineages. The picture that resulted was often illustrated as a Tree of Life.

In 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA – the molecular basis of genes – and showed how they encode the instructions that determine the form of every organism. Now, decades later, powerful new technologies permit comparisons of DNA and RNA, yielding detailed, objective information on the evolutionary connections between organisms. This has led to development of a new, genetically based Tree of Life, which allows deeper insight into the evolution of species than their physical features alone.

But tracing the evolution of the billions of organisms and species that have existed on Earth over billions of years will be a never-ending process in which the Tree of Life itself will evolve continuously and, along the way, provide important clues to life’s origin.

Start exploring here

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