Silver City, NM – The Western New Mexico University Museum recently acquired a vast collection of Mimbres pottery known as the NAN Ranch Collection.
Donated by the late Margaret R. Hinton of Mount Pleasant, Texas and the NAN Ranch, New Mexico, the collection includes materials scientifically excavated by Texas A & M University from archaeological sites located on the NAN Ranch, in the Mimbres Valley of Grant County, New Mexico.
The collection is the largest and most complete collection of Mimbres material in existence, according to Dr. Harry J. Shafer, professor emeritus, Texas A & M University department of anthropology, and the archaeologist who led 30 plus years of research at the NAN Ranch.
Prior to Mrs. Hinton’s donation, the WNMU Museum was already home to the largest permanent display of Mimbres pottery and culture in theworld. With the new collection, the University Museum is now the leader in the nation for prehistoric Mimbres culture research.
“We are honored that the WNMU Museum was selected to be the steward of this incredible collection and Margaret R. Hinton’s legacy,” said WNMU Museum Director and Archaeologist Dr. Cynthia Ann Bettison. “As a NAN Ranch Archaeological Field School student alumna, I am as thrilled along with the Hinton family, Dr Shafer and many field school alumni that the collection is coming home to Grant County.”
The acquisition was made in November 2011 just before the passing of Mrs. Hinton. In considering a home for the collection, Mrs. Hinton recognized the WNMU Museum as a venue where people could see and enjoy the pottery and artifacts while learning about the prehistoric Mimbres people, and whereresearchers and students could study the artifacts and materials near the sites where the collection was excavated.
To honor Margaret, the family established the Margaret R. Hinton NAN Ranch Collection Research Fund through the WNMU Foundation to support research activities at the University Museum.
“The collection continues our progressive efforts to be a world class research institution,” said WNMU President Joseph Shepard. “We are extremely grateful to the Hinton family for their foresight, dedication andgenerosity by ensuring that these artifacts that originally came from theirlocal ranch stayed in the Mimbres Valley area for all to see.”
The first shipment of artifacts arrived at the WNMU Museum on Thursday, May 17. Planning is underway for events to be hosted by the Museum that will feature the collection throughout 2012.
On June 14, the WNMU Museum will host a Town and Gown NAN Ranch Collection Welcome Home Uncrating Celebration followed by the August 4 Black-on-White Gala Opening Reception for the Juried Neo-Mimbreño 2012 Exhibition, part of the Silver City Clay Festival. The first permanent public display of the collection will take place during the 17th Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference in October with an opening reception titled “The NAN RanchCollection: The Legacy of Margaret R. Hinton.”
The WNMU Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is closed during University closures. Admission is free. For more information, pleasevisithttp://www.wnmumuseum.org.
Pictured is one of the new pieces of the NAN Ranch Collection that will now be housed at the WNMU Museum.