In order to bring some attention to the Luther Bean Museum and to the Rio Grande blankets exhibit, I hoped to participate in the Student Scholar Days 2020 event. Student Scholar Days showcases the research and studies of Adams State students across the spectrum of academic disciplines. Students submit an application complete with an abstract describing their project, and if selected, make an oral presentation, usually with PowerPoint slides, to an audience. (This year, due to COVID-19, presentations were recorded using video conferencing). Prizes are awarded for abstracts and for the presentations. My project was selected and my presentation was titled “Rio Grande Blankets: An Exhibition Process”.
My abstract won first prize! The recorded presentation can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/cg4XbMMYK8M
Hispanic weaving in the American southwest was prevalent for three centuries, from the opening of the 17th century through the close of the 19th century, and sheep, wool, and weaving were essential to the expansion of Spanish culture in the area. The Luther Bean Museum at Adams State University is home to a small but handsome collection of Rio Grande blankets, as these Hispanic-woven textiles are known, but the blankets have not been recently exhibited. The major project that I undertook during the course of my internship at the museum was to curate and mount an exhibition of these Rio Grande blankets. Knowing virtually nothing about this topic at the outset, I set out on a quest for the visual and technical understanding that would allow me to fulfill the project, and in this presentation, I describe the process in its entirety. Through the kind assistance and education by various curators, a conservator, and a consultant, by my own research and study, through the efforts of facilities staff, and mentoring by my museum committee, the exhibition “Rio Grande Blankets: Hispanic History and Tradition”, has come to fruition and is currently on display at the Luther Bean Museum at Adams State University.