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Museum Opens New Exhibit With Help from Lea County Cowboys

8/22/2014 6:00:41 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. When challenges happen, Lea County cowboys come to the rescue!

A new exhibit scheduled to open at the Western Heritage Museum Thursday, August 28 may be delayed because the artifacts are stuck at the border, awaiting approval through customs.   These artifacts are for the new exhibit “Arte en la Charreria: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture”, and feature exquisite craftsmanship in leather works, costumes, textiles and silver and iron that illustrate the life of the revered horseman. 

Not knowing if the exhibit will arrive in time, Darrell Beauchamp, Executive Director of the museum, met with his staff and brainstormed an alternative exhibit until the Mexican artifacts can arrive.  “Saddle Up” is the result…an exhibit showcasing saddles and the various kinds used by the American cowboy for work, for trophies and for pleasure. 

The question:  how to get the number of saddles needed?  That’s when members of the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame said they would call friends and family to supply the more than 75 saddles the museum hopes to display.  Curator Erin Anderson and Curatorial Intern Stephanie Johnson are calling museums around New Mexico and west Texas to gather additional saddles, in addition to educating the community about the history of this unique piece of gear, which started as early as 700 BC. 

“Lea County people are absolutely wonderful in coming to our rescue to help us have an exhibit at the last minute.  We have less than a week before opening, and they are working overtime to help us,” says Beauchamp. 

“We have been working with International Arts and Artists in Washington, D.C. for four months to get the “La Charreria” exhibit through customs.  Each month we kept hearing it will arrive…but with six days left, we could not wait anymore.  This exhibit of saddles will be amazing, and it’s thanks to our friends here in Lea County and to the members of the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame.”

A reception will be held Thursday, August 28th for the new exhibit, starting at 7:30pm.  The museum will be free for everyone until the “Arte en la Charreria” exhibit opens.  When it does, the saddles will be moved to the open space of the museum, so visitors will get two exhibits for the one visit.

For more information:  Dr. Darrell Beauchamp, or 575-492-2676.

New Mexico Junior College is a comprehensive community college promoting success through learning.

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