El Rancho de las Golondrinas “The Ranch of the Swallows” is located near I25 and is closer to Santa Fe than Albuquerque. It dates from the early 1700s and was an important stopping place along the famous Camino Real, the Royal Road, that went from Mexico City, Mexico to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
This historic ranch, opened in 1972, serves as a living history museum which is dedicated to the history, heritage, and culture of 18th and 19th Century New Mexico. The museum is part of the vision of the Curtin-Paloheimo family. In 1932 the ranch was purchased by Leonora Curtin and her mother. Ms Curtin is also known for founding the Santa Fe Native Market to save and reestablish traditional craft forms and techniques, and to provide a local artists a source of income during the Great Depression. After marrying her Finnish husband Yrjo Alfred (YA) Paloheimo in 1946, they shared the vision for the outdoor living history museum.
Both Leonora and Y.A. devoted themselves to transforming the property into a place where visitors could physically engage with the rich culture of the region and become immersed in the history of New Mexico. Existing historic buildings were restored, period structures were erected and historic buildings were brought in from other sites around New Mexico. Today,the museum has grown into New Mexico’s premier living history museum. It promotes and preserves the Hispano heritage of Northern New Mexico, while at the same time building a better understanding of the lasting influence of Hispanos in the Southwest and the rest of the country.
A local weaver at the ranch – photo by Richard Boysen
Each year, the ranch hosts festivals. You can view the festival calendar on the ranch’s website (El Rancho de Las Golondrinas.com).