I have traveled far and wide in New Mexico, visiting national monuments and parks and joining unusual celebrations. I had climbed cliffs, went down into deep caves, and even slid down white desert sands. While I am impressed with the natural wonders New Mexico has to offer, I am more impressed of the museums located in small towns (mostly) that, sadly, tourists barely visit. The details of local history these museums provide through their exhibits are at par, or maybe even more profound, with the national museums in big cities.

Here is the list of the top 14 best small-sized museums I have, so far, visited in New Mexico.

14. Space Murals Museum

Location: Organ, New Mexico
A large collection of NASA space artifacts privately owned by Lou Gariano.
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Read more about the Space Murals Museum here.

13. Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
It is New Mexico’s oldest non-profit, independent museum, in Santa Fe that houses a variety of contemporary and historic Native American art.
Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
Read more about the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian here.

12. Carlsbad Museum and Art Center

Location: Carlsbad, New Mexico
From the Native American pottery collection, to the rifle collection, to the stage coach and the model train exhibit — the museum is worth stopping by.
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Read more about the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center here.

11. New Mexico Museum of Space History

Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico
A number of space memorabilia are on display from astronaut suits to space rocket engines.
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Read more about the New Mexico Museum of Space History here.

10. Zuhl Museum at New Mexico State University

Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
This is the home of the Zuhl Collection that contains over 1,800 beautiful specimens of petrified wood, fossils and minerals. The museum is a hidden jewel inside the NMSU campus.
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Read more about the Zuhl Museum here.

9. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
This is the premier repository of Native art and material culture that are told through the stories of the people of the Southwest.
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Read more about the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture here.

8. Geronimo Springs Museum

Location: Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
The Geronimo Springs Museum in Truth or Consequences is divided into small rooms that showcase various interesting exhibits such as the Apache history, stone tools, arrowheads, and pottery.
Geronimo Springs Museum
Read more about the Geronimo Springs Museum here.

7. New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
From ranching and farming history, to seeing cows getting milked, to watching sheep dogs being trained, to hands-on exhibits that kids love, Western artists, life in the old days — it is a great place to unwind!
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Read more about the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum here.

6. Roswell Museum and Art Center and Laboratory of Dr. Robert Goddard

Location: Roswell, New Mexico
The museum isn’t just about collections of paintings and artworks, the place also houses a reinterpretation of Dr. Robert Goddard‘s work shop. Goddard is considered the Father of Space Age.
Roswell Museum and Art Center
Read more about Roswell Museum and Art Center and Laboratory of Dr. Robert Goddard here.

5. New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Palace of the Governors is one of the oldest occupied government buildings in the U.S. and has witnessed four centuries of history. The New Mexico History Museum displays ancient artifacts, modern-day films, different scopes of exhibits.
Palace of the Governors
Read more about the New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors here.

4. White Sands Missile Range Museum and Park

Location: White Sands, New Mexico
Learn about America’s missile and space activity and see a wide range of missile and rocket displays at the park.
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Read more about the White Sands Missile Range Museum and Park here.

3. Museum of International Folk Art

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
The museum houses the largest collection of traditional folk art in the world.
Museum of International Folk Art
Read more about the Museum of International Folk Art here.

2. Ruidoso River Museum

Location: Ruidoso, New Mexico
The museum houses incredibly large amount of information — from Billy the Kid to pop culture to dinosaurs, to aliens, and American-Indian culture.
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Read more about the Ruidoso River Museum here.

1. Deming Luna Mimbres Museum

Location: Deming, New Mexico
Who would have thought that a little town in New Mexico called Deming would have such an interesting museum? The museum houses many artifacts and art pieces all well put together — from furniture, to WWII memorabilia, to musical instruments, to classic vehicles, to dolls and toys, to stunning rocks, minerals, and geodes.
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Read more about the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum here.

Have you visited most of them? Do you know of other museums in New Mexico that you think should be on this list? Leave your comments below.

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