From the outside, The Museum of Western Art’s heavy timbers and rough limestone, designed by renowned southwestern architect O’Neil Ford, evoke the hulking beauty of a fortressed hacienda. The equally breathtaking interior draws the eye upward with 23 bóveda domes, and end-cut mesquite wood joins terra-cotta Saltillo tile floors in setting the stage for paintings, sculptures, and artifacts from and featuring the American West.
The museum’s expansive 14,000-square-foot gallery space hosts artwork from modern-day brush wielders and pieces from its permanent collection, which boasts 150 sculptures, 250 paintings, and numerous artifacts. Bridging artwork from the old and the new West, the museum takes visitors on a thoughtful journey from historical paintings, such as works inspired by the artistic community in Taos, to modern-day depictions of bionic buffalo.
The museum also educates the public with events, workshops, and lectures, and it encourages young artists with immersion programs at the Western Art Academy. A research library with more than 6,000 books and periodicals invites armchair buckaroos to stock up on snake oil, don hats of any liquid capacity, and embark on individual adventures into the art and culture of the American West.