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Field Trip: Mimbres Lives and Landscapes @ Meet at SAR Campus
Nov 21 @ 8:00 am – Nov 24 @ 6:00 pm

Mimbres Lives and Landscapes

Mimbres Landscape

Mimbres Landscape. Courtesy of SAR.

November 21 – 24, 2019

Cost per person:
Double Occupancy: $1,965 (Includes a $100 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR)
Single Occupancy: $2,115 (Includes a $100 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR)

Field trip limited to 15 participants.

Due to the limited capacity of the trip, please send your registration request directly to Amy Schiffer, Membership Coordinator at or call 505-954-7245. Priority is given to Galisteo members and up.

Mimbres cultures in southern New Mexico are among the most intriguing and controversial of the many ancient Puebloan peoples in the Southwest United States. Mimbres potters produced shallow black and white bowls of unique artistry, which are displayed by art museums around the world. These bowls are so visually arresting that, over the years, looters have destroyed the vast majority of ancient Mimbres sites in search of their pottery.

Due to a recent controversy over the display of Mimbres pots involving the Chicago Art Institute, Native American individuals—including those from descendent communities, other art museums, and archeologists, the exhibit was canceled. In fact, since many existing Mimbres ceramics are associated with funerary sites, the Indian Arts Research Center does not display the vast majority of its Mimbres collection out of respect for descendent communities.  A handful of non-funerary Mimbres pottery, however, is available for viewing.

Mimbres Petroglyph

Mimbres Petroglyph. Courtesy of SAR.

These complex issues will be discussed with our study leader, Steve Lekson, and Fumi Arakawa, the Director of the University Museum and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, who recently mounted a successful collaborative Mimbres exhibit. We will also visit some of the surviving Mimbres sites as well as museums where many of the pots now live.

In researching Mimbres culture, what has been lost in most cases is the context of the pots: what was their purpose? Were these burial offerings or did they serve multiple purposes? So, what do we know?

We know that Classic-period Mimbres people lived along the Mimbres and nearby upper Gila Rivers between AD 1000 and 1150. Their communities were among the largest of their times and arguably the earliest “Pueblo”-style towns. Their history was intertwined with Hohokam, Chaco, and Casas Grandes cultures. The majority of their ceramics employ geometric motifs suggestive of mountains and weather phenomena such as lightning, clouds, and rainfall. While most designs are symmetrical patterns that rotate around an open, central space in the bottom of the bowl, the best-known motifs represent animals such as rabbits, deer, humans, bears, and fantastical creatures. There are other examples of creatures in the Pueblo world, but nothing like the Mimbres. You will see some of the largest collections in public institutions, which include some of the best examples.

Our accommodations and meals for the first two days will be provided by the famous, historic Bear Mountain Lodge, a classic 1920s, New Mexico-style lodge located on 178 acres just three miles northwest of Silver City. The entire lodge has been reserved for SAR participants, so we will have full use of the facilities including the library, and the lodge’s Great Room with its two stone fireplaces. The third night will be at the Hampton Inn in Deming.

Through this trip, participants will have the opportunity to explore the complex and sometimes difficult issues around the public display of Mimbres pottery.

Bear Mountain Lodge

Bear Mountain Lodge

Study Leader:

Steve Lekson is a retired professor of anthropology and curator at the Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado, Boulder. He has directed more than forty archaeological projects throughout the Southwest, mainly in the Mimbres and Four Corners areas. His principal interests are human geography, built environments, government, and migrations. He is the author of A History of the Ancient Southwest, an SAR Press publication.

Activity Level: Moderate, involves getting on and off the bus, standing, and a long walks on uneven grounds.

Includes: Transportation in air-conditioned mini coach; water and snacks; room and board for 3 nights; guides, entry fees, and gratuities.

NOTEDue to the limited capacity of the trip, please send your registration request directly to Amy Schiffer, Membership Coordinator at or call 505-954-7245. Priority is given to Galisteo members and up.

President’s Circle Field Trip: New Directions: An Insider’s Look at Native American Collections in Los Angeles @ Los Angeles, CA
Jan 22 @ 7:00 pm – Jan 25 @ 3:00 pm

President’s Circle Trip to Los Angeles

New Directions: An Insider’s Look at Native American Collections

Date: Wednesday, January 22 – Saturday, January 25, 2020
Admission: Priority given to members of the Board of Directors, Founders’ Society, and President’s Circle. Please click here to reserve your spot.

Join fellow President’s Circle members and SAR President Michael Brown for three days in Los Angeles.

The bell tower at the Autry Museum of the American West © Danielle Klebanow

The bell tower at the Autry Museum of the American West © Danielle Klebanow

Our hosts at the Autry Museum of the American West have planned a full day for us, both at its state-of-the-art, soon-to-open storage and conservation facility at the Autry Resource Center in Burbank and at the Museum itself in nearby Griffith Park. Close by we will also visit the Pasadena Museum of History, housed in the Fenyes Mansion, where the family who once lived in this historic home have a number of connections with Santa Fe and SAR.  The next day we head to the UCLA / Getty conservation lab, used by researchers as well as graduate students in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation, located on the campus of the Getty Villa overlooking the Pacific.  In addition to seeing this high-tech lab we will learn from one professor about how SAR Guidelines for Collaboration were developed and are used in teaching and research.  We will also see Native American collections at the Fowler Museum at UCLA and learn about the collections of the ancient Americas at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Our base for three nights is the historic Hotel Normandie, located east of the Miracle Mile and west of downtown.



  • Talk by David Treuer, author of the best-seller “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee,” and former SAR Lamon Fellow
  • Meet Maylei Blackwell, former SAR Anne Ray Fellow and UCLA associate professor, activist, oral historian and author, who will tell about her ground-breaking “Mapping Indigenous LA” project
  • Behind-the-scenes tour at the Autry Resources Center, expected to open later in 2020, a state-of-the-art storage and conservation facility in a 105,000-square-foot, LEED-certified building with secure, climate-controlled storage rooms, conservation laboratories and a photo studio, as well as a conference room, reading room, curatorial offices and a private ceremonial garden
  • Docent-led tour at the Autry Museum of the American West, established in 1988 by singer, songwriter, actor and businessman Gene Autry, focusing on its Native American baskets, ceramics, jewelry and textiles interspersed throughout its collections of Western art, firearms, saddles, and Hollywood Western memorabilia – much of it collected by Autry, his friends and other Western film stars
  • VIP tour at the Pasadena Museum of History which, like SAR, is a beneficiary of the Paloheimo Foundation and includes the mansion owned by Eva Scott Fenyes, her daughter Leonora Scott Muse Curtin, and her granddaughter Leonora Francis Curtin Paloheimo – all of whom have illustrious Santa Fe connections
  • Special access to the conservation and research laboratories at the Getty Villa to learn how guidelines developed by SAR are being implemented by the UCLA/Getty Program for the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials
  • Behind-the-scenes tour at UCLA’s Fowler Museum of the archaeological collections including from the Rainbow Bridge Monument Valley excavations
  • Visit Los Angeles County Museum of Art where the director of the Art of the Ancient Americas department will talk about its extensive collection and the museum’s methodology; followed by time on your own to visit current exhibitions open during the museum’s multi-year construction project
  • Accompanied by Michael Brown, SAR President; Laura Sullivan, SAR Director of Development; and Elysia Poon, Director of SAR’s Indian Arts Research Center

To view a tentative itinerary of the trip, please click here.


Double Accommodation
Price per person in a Room with a King or two Double Beds: $2,080

Single Accommodation
Price per person in a Room with a King Bed: $2,430



  • 3 nights’ accommodation, including taxes
  • Continental Breakfast daily, inclusive of tax and service
  • 3 lunches, 1 pre-dinner drinks reception and 1 dinner; wine and beer included at dinner
  • Transportation by private deluxe coach as indicated in the itinerary, including one bottle of water a day per person
  • Group airport transfer to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Jan. 25
  • All tips for drivers, hotel staff, waiters, and servers for all included excursions, activities and meals
  • Guided tours as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees and donations where required
  • Services of a Tour Director from Travel Muse
  • Accompaniment throughout by Michael Brown and two staff members from the School for Advanced Research
  • $100 tax-deductible, non-refundable donation to SAR


  • Airfare to and from Los Angeles
  • Airport transfer upon arrival in Los Angeles; airport transfer upon departure if other than the group transfer on Jan. 25
  • Porterage at the hotel
  • Tickets to music or theater performances
  • Beverages not otherwise mentioned
  • Items for personal use, including phone and fax charges, minibar, and laundry services


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