Visiting a museum is always a unique experience as each museum has its own specifics, style and of course its own content. Museum themes vary greatly from city to city and can range from fire department museums to fine arts to sports. If you need help choosing, our 10Best list highlights the top things to do in Albuquerque.
If you enjoy time travel, visit the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (1801 Mountain Road NW, 505-841-2800). The newly modernized museum features a new permanent start-up! Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution. The first personal computer, the Altair 8800, was manufactured and sold in Albuquerque. This lured young Bill Gates and Paul Allen to Albuquerque, who worked here before moving to Seattle and starting a small company called Microsoft. Of course, ranging from bytes to bones, the museum displays all aspects of New Mexico’s natural history, including colossal skeletons of dinosaurs that roamed here.
Local expert tip: See what’s on at the IMAX theater. Kids will love the nature center.
Read more about the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science →
Photo courtesy of the Albuquerque Museum
An excellent place for exploring Albuquerque is the Albuquerque Museum History (2000 Mountain Road NW, 505-243-7255, www.cabq.gov/museum/). A permanent art collection not only highlights Duke City’s history from pre-Hispanic contact to the Civil War, but also includes classic works by luminaries such as Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as rotating exhibits related to New Mexico.
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The exhibitions tell about the formation process of this gemstone and also document its diverse uses by the Native Americans in prehistoric times. One of the highlights is a simulated mine shaft with numerous specimens from four continents. Visit the educational center to learn how to tell real turquoise from mere plastic.
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An extensive collection of exhibits, performances and information on Native American culture in general and Pueblo Indians in particular. Weekend Native American dance performances, arts and crafts demonstrations, and many year-round special events are free to the public. The gift shop offers an excellent selection of fine ceramics, paintings, sculpture and weaving. A children’s museum, bookstore and restaurant are also on site.
Read more about the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center →
Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
The museum sheds light on the history of atomic energy, from its discovery to the Los Alamos Manhattan Project and nuclear weapons to peaceful uses of atomic energy such as nuclear medicine. A B-52 bomber and other aircraft are on display at the site.
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Directly across from the Albuquerque Museum is ¡Explora!, an interactive, science-based children’s museum for children of all ages. Learn about water dynamics, aeronautics, electronics, robots, physics and light through a variety of interactive exhibits that adults will enjoy just as much as children.
Local expert tip: Sign up for free courses in robotics and computer programming.
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Over 40 years of carving and collecting have produced Ross J. Ward’s Tinkertown. The Folk Art Museum began with two main attractions: a miniature, three-ring carved wooden circus that Ward created as a teenager, and a tiny turn-of-the-century western town that he created in the 1960s. Today, these original animated exhibits are housed in a 22-room building whose walls are made of over 50,000 glass bottles. A variety of other Ward collections are also on display – from wedding cake pairs to Western memorabilia to a 35-foot antique sailboat. Don’t miss the gift shop – it’s packed with all sorts of crazy, wonderful things and they ship worldwide!
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An albino Western Diamondback is one of the rare specimens in this unique museum. The instructional video provides insightful information about these enigmatic creatures. For example, the snake cannot hear its own rattle, and the human fatality rate from rattlesnake bites is less than one percent.
Read more about the American International Rattlesnake Museum →