Medical Tools owned by Dr. Littleton J. Bunch

I came to research Dr. Bunch after the museum was contacted by SLV Health to use his medical tools for their 90th Year Anniversary display. The Luther Bean Museum acquired the medical tools in 1989 by a donation made by his family. The objects date from the time of Dr. Bunch’s practice in Alamosa from 1952 into the 1980s.

The process to loan objects out from the museum involves a request form, which lists the items that will be on loan. The credit line is noted for the labels i.e. Loan from Luther Bean Museum, Gift of Littleton J. Bunch, M.D. The form is signed by a representative from SLV Health acknowledging receipt of the objects and by a staff person from the museum. I photographed the instruments before they left the museum. The photographs will show the condition in which they left and also what objects were taken by hospital for their display. I had the privilege of accompanying Tawney in taking the instruments to the hospital.

Dr. Bunch came to Alamosa because of his love for the west and the atmosphere of small towns. He wrote letters to hospitals in small towns in Colorado. The administrator of the Alamosa hospital Elton Reese was the only person who responded suggesting that he come to Alamosa for a visit. The Bunch family drove into town pulled into a gas station where a college student was pumping gas. The college student was asked if Alamosa was a good place to live. This college student was former Adams State College coach, Dr. Joe Vigil who responded to this question by stating that Alamosa was a great town and recommended it highly. Dr. Bunch received job offers from hospitals around the valley, the deciding factor for him to choose Alamosa was that the hospital was near the college. The Bunch family made their home in Alamosa in 1952 where he began practicing medicine as a family doctor.

The college atmosphere attracted Dr. Bunch that he volunteered as a teacher at Adams State where he taught biology classes. Later he taught medical terminology for those who were in the pre-med program. Dr. Bunch taught from the 1950s to the 1980s. When the college’s athletic doctor left for two years to receive more medical training Dr. Bunch became the temporary doctor.

Museum Acquisitions

My internship duties have been to work on new acquisitions the museum has recently acquired. One of the acquisitions was a portfolio of five drawings by James P. Hatfield given to the museum by Mary Motz.  Mary shared that it was about 30 years ago around Christmas time that Alamosa National Bank gave the portfolio to their patrons.

The acquisition process involves filling out different forms. One form is a Gift Agreement Form. The form list the name, address, phone number of the person who made the donation, the item(s) donated, the proposed credit line to acknowledge the gift and how it would appear on object display labels. For this donation it would read, Gift of Marvin ’58, ’59 and Mary Motz ’62. The owner signs the form stating that he or she is the rightful owner and holder of clear title for the items of property listed and that none of the object(s) are subject to liens. An authorized person from the museum also signs this form. Another form that was completed is an Acquisition Proposal Form. This form covers the object description such, artists’ info, object type, dimensions, credit line and inscriptions/distinguishing marks. The inscription for this acquisition had each print signed by Hatfield and four of the prints dated “74’”.

Who was James P. Hatfield? James came to Adams State in the late 1930s; he taught for several years and served as chair for the Art Department for fifteen years. He was an accomplished Artist/Painter; painting in a variety of styles that included murals, portraits, and landscapes. Through a generous donation made to the art department he founded the remodeling of the lobby in 1977 (now Community Partnerships). The space which was remolded was named for Hatfield. His name has been retained in the art department’s Hatfield Gallery.

San Juan 1930 Pottery Revival

A new pottery style emerged in the 1930’s under the direction of Regina Cata, a Spanish woman who had married into the pueblo.  A friend of Regina’s Maurine Grammer claims that the superintendent of the Santa Fe Indian School, Chester Faris encouraged her to revive pottery making at the San Juan Pueblo. Regina organized a group of women potters: Reyecita A. Trujillo, Tomasita Montoya, Luteria Atencio, Crucita Trujillo, Crucita A. Talachy, Gregortia Cruz, and one other potter whose name no one seems to remember.

Photograph Courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archive

The potters studied ancient Potsuwi’i incised pottery shards dating from around 1450-1500. The shards had been discovered in the abandoned ancestral village of San Juan, across the Rio Grande from the current pueblo. This new style of pottery was heavier more like Santa Clara pottery; it consisted entirely of redware. The unpolished underbodies of the pots were painted and the midbody had a matte band. The matte band became the mural space, to be carved and painted with natural slips.  The band was either carved and decorated with red, buff, and white matte paints or incised with a micaceous slip, which is applied before the firing of the pot. Designs are typically geometric patterns, flowers, feathers, kiva steps, spirals, rainbows and sun/cloud patterns.

On exhibit at the Luther Bean Museum are pots made by Reyecita A. Trujillo (active c. 1925-45) and Tomasita Montoya (1899-1978). Reyecita made the largest revival pottery pieces.

Reyecita A. Trujillo (active c. 1925-45). San Juan Pueblo/Ohkay Owingeh. Jar, 1930s/40s. Red, tan, and beige on tan clay, burnished. 32.8 x 41.4 cm. (dia.) Gift of Dr. F. C. Spencer. 1945.1.15.

Reyecita A. Trujillo San Juan Potter Courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archive

Tomasita was known for her incised polychrome redware jars, bowls and vases. Decoration of her vessels included clouds, kival steps, triangular fret and fine line.

Tomasita Montoya (1899-1978). San Juan Pueblo/Ohkay Owingeh. Storage Jar, c. 1960-65. Tan, white, and red on red clay, burnished, incised. 22.6 x 33.2 cm. (dia.). Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Woodard. 1965.1.8


Batkin, Jonathan. Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico 1700-1940. The Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. 1987.

Frank, Larry and Francis H. Harlow. Historic Pottery of the Pueblo Indians 1600-1880. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1990.

Hayes, Allan and John Blom. Southwestern Pottery Anasazi to Zuni. Northland Publishing. 1996.

San Ildefonso Potters Maria and Julian Martinez

San Ildefonso Potters Maria and Julian Martinez Photograph Courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archive

Maria Martinez is considered one of the most famous of all the pueblo potters. She learned to make pottery from her aunt Nicolasa. By the age of thirteen Maria had acquired exceptional skill in making pottery. She married her husband Julian in 1904, he was an acknowledged painter. They spent their honeymoon demonstrating pottery at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, this was the first of many exhibitions they attended.

In 1907 Julian was hired by Dr. Edgar Hewett the Director of the School of American Research in Santa Fe, NM to help with an archaeological excavation on the Pajarito Plateau. Dr. Hewett encouraged Maria to make replicas of the old polychrome pots that were found. The painted designs were in black and orange on a cream slip. Julian spent a lot of time searching for new design ideas by studying ancient pottery collections at the Museum of New Mexico. He was a great innovator and experimented with new paints, clays, and techniques.  His experiments led him to the invention of the now famous matte-black-on-polished-black pottery. By 1921 Julian had perfected the process and the black-on-black pottery became extremely popular. Julian’s Avanyu (water serpent) and feather designs were also very popular (Schaaff, 2000).

Maria and Julian discovered how to make the now famous black-on-black pottery in 1918. Maria skillfully made the pots and Julian did the painting and design. Their work was shown at exhibitions and World Fairs. At the 1925 New York World’s Fair they won Best of Show and eight years later won again the Best of Show, this time at the Chicago World’s Fair. Together Maria and Julian were key figures in leading a pottery and cultural heritage revival, not only in their pueblo of San Ildefonso but as well as other pueblos (Schaaff 2000).

Their four sons were also taught the art of pottery making. After Julian’s death in 1943 Maria began working with her daughter-in-law Santana. It was after 1956 that she worked with her son Popovi Da. Signatures on Maria’s pottery vary depending on who she was working with at the time. Pieces made by Maria and Julian from 1918 to 1923 are unsigned. By 1923 Maria began signing her name “Marie.” From 1925 until Julian’s death the signature on their pots was “Marie + Julian. Pottery made from 1943-1954 are signed “Marie + Santana or Maria + Santana.” When her son began working with his mother 1923-1971 they would cosign the pieces “Maria/Popovi.” In 1959 Popovi had an idea of adding the month and the year of firing to the pots along with the signature. The reason for this was to distinguish authentic Maria pieces from others who had signed her name. Maria also made smaller pieces on her own, which were always plain, polished, undecorated pieces, but were well made; these pieces were signed “Maria Poveka” (Spivey, 1989).


Scaaf, Gregory. Pueblo Indian Pottery: 750 Artist Biographies. Santa F, NM: CIAC Press. 2000.

Spivey, Richard L. Maria. 2nd Edition. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Press. 1989.

To Do List

It is a wonderful feeling when you have a list of jobs that need to be done and you can cross some of them off your list! That is exactly what I did this last week; I crossed off a few items from my list at the museum. Inventory sheets for the vessels in the Mezzanine level…printed and filed…DONE! Photographs of these vessels…printed and filed…DONE! Labels for these vessels…printed and displayed be each vessel…DONE!  San Juan Revival information for flip book…DONE!

I hope you can cross some things off your to do list. Best of Luck! Happy Easter and God Bless.

Spring Break Trip to New Mexico

On a snowy Friday, March morning, I set out on my journey to visit the Museum of Indian Arts & Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

Julia Clifton, Curator of Archaeological Research Colletion

Julia Clifton is the Curator of Archaeological Research Collections in Santa Fe. The state’s repository facility is off site from the museum. The research center conducts archaeological research projects throughout the state of New Mexico. Their mission is to identify, interpret, and share information about prehistoric and historic sites across the state. The office serves state agencies and private organizations that need archaeological studies performed as part of their development projects. In addition, they provide ethnographic and historical research services and have an award-winning education outreach program.

Julia explained the process of receiving artifacts that are brought in from a field site. I was
taken on a tour of the facility: storage rooms, work rooms, and laboratory where radiocarbon dating is conducted. I was privileged to have the innovative carbon dating process that is conducted by Dr. Marvin Rowe explained to me. I found this to be very fascinating and I would say the best part of the visit.


Collection of artifacts from field sites

Dr. Marvin Rowe

Explanation of carbon dating process

I have a complete journey of a vessel from a field site to the museum. I am very fortunate to have meet several people who work at the Laboratory of Anthropology, they do great work and are very dedicated to the research they conduct.

Collections Management Specialists, Amy Cisneros and Intern

At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque I had the privilege of having Amy Cisneros the Collections Management Specialist be my tour guide of the center. Amy has worked for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center for fifteen years. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is the place to discover the history, culture, and art of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. The museum has a permanent exhibit, “We Are of This Place: The Pueblo Story,” this exhibit highlights the Pueblo’s legacy of resilience, telling their story in the words and voices of the Pueblo people. The design of the exhibits is inspired by traditions that have been passed down for generations.

No more flip books… kiosk instead

In the South Gallery, they have rotating exhibits. Currently on exhibit is contemporary painter Marla Allison of Laguna Pueblo.

Contemporary Painter Marla Alison Laguna Pueblo

I highly recommend a trip to visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Marla Allison’s exhibition will be on display until June. You can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Pueblo Harvest Café located inside the cultural center.

Pottery Times

The period names in classifying pottery have very little to do with the pottery itself. Instead the names refer to cultural changes based on migration and developments in agricultural techniques and architecture.

  • Basketmaker II          50 B.C.-A.D. 450
  • Baskemaker III           A.D. 450-700
  • Pueblo I                      700-900
  • Pueblo II                     900-1100
  • Pueblo III                    1100-1300
  • Pueblo IV                    1300-1600
  • Historic                       1600-1880
  • Modern                       1880-1950
  • Contemporary            1950-Present

The museum has vessels from Pueblo III, Pueblo IV, Historic, and Modern eras. Our oldest artifact on exhibit is the Western Mesa Verde bowl, the estimated date is c. 1250 to 1350.

After 1600 pottery became less important to the native economy so smaller quantities were made. Pottery from the Historic period are the rarest of all. The museum has five vessels during this date range of 1600-1880. Stop in for a visit and see if you can find these five pots that are on display in the Mezzanine Level.


Hayes, Allan and John Blom. Southwestern Pottery Anasazi to Zuni. Northland Publishing. 1996.

Who Signed It?

The signature by potters on their vessels is almost universal today. Before 1940 many potters did not speak English, and very few wrote it. If a potter’s name was written on the bottom of an old pot it was more than likely written by the trader who sold it or by the buyer. Pots that were made from the 1930s to the 1950s had crude signature’s that dealers often call “graffito” (An ancient drawing or writing scratched on a wall or other surface.) Acoma potters once believed that signing their work was an inappropriate expression of ego. Potter Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso began signing her pottery in the mid-1920s. Santa Clara, Acoma, and Laguna followed soon after.

Bottom collectors buy pots for the signature on the vessel rather than for the pot itself. Golden Bottoms are pots that have been signed by the following famous potters:  Maria & Julian Martinez, Fannie Nampeyo, Lucy Lewis, Lela & Van Gutierrez, Rose Gonzales, and Marie Chino (Hayes & Blom, 1996). The Luther Bean Museum has two Golden Bottoms! These pots are by potters Maria & Julian Martinez and Lela & Van Gutierrez. I invite you to stop by this Spring Break and see the wonderful collection of artifacts on display. Enjoy.


Hayes, Allan and John Blom. Southwestern Pottery Anasazi to Zuni. Northland Publishing. 1996.

Stone Kiva

Katyete or Ko-Chits (Cochiti) Pueblo “The Stone Kiva” are located in north-central New Mexico; 25 miles southwest of Santa Fe. The pueblo’s of the Cochiti and Santo Dominog are the most northern of the Keresan language. Some experts believe that the Cochiti originally came from Tyuonyi, an Anasazi village located in the Jemez Mountains. Later migrating to their present location (Hayes & Blom, 1996).

Cochiti and Santo Domingo developed their pottery on a parallel course around the 1830s. It was around 1850 that the Cochiti were known for their own distinctive style. Cochiti Polychrome pottery contain images of sacred symbols such as clouds, rain , lightening, serpents, mammals, and even humans (Harlow, 1977). The Cochiti also produce ceramic animal figures such as owls, coyotes, bears, and turtles. One of the most popular figurines originating form the Cochiti is the storyteller, which was made famous by the late Helen Cordero. Today the potters from the Cochiti pueblo make an enormous variety of people and animals as storytellers. (Gibson 2001).


Gibson, Daniel. Pueblos of the Rio Grande: A Visitors Guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers. 2001.

Harlow, Francis H. Modern Pueblo Pottery, 1880-1960. Northland Press. 1977

Hayes, Allan and John Blom. Southwestern Pottery Anasazi to Zuni. Northland Publishing. 1996.

The Peaceful People

Hopi. Cylinder. Black and red on yellow clay. 45.5×17.3 cm. (dia.) 1976.10.1

The Hopituh (Hopi) means “the Peaceful People”. The Hopi reservation is located in a remote area northeast of Flagstaff, AZ.They have lived in this area for over a thousand years. The reservation consist of three mesas, which protected the Hopi from invaders. Today there are twelve Hopi villages that are located at the base of the three mesas known as First, Second, and Third Mesa (The Hopi Tribe, 2005).

The villages of the First Mesa have dominated Hopi pottery making since the late 1800s. The Hopi assimilated European pottery forms in their own designs; they imitated the ring based shallow bowls and the flare-rimmed bowls (Allen, 1984).


Allen, Laura Graves. Contemporary Hopi Pottery. Museum of Northern Arizona. 1984.

The Hopi Tribe. History of the Hopi Tribe. 2005. Web accessed March 2017.