The blog for inspired travel with children

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Favorite Places: The Girard Wing at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico

There are many beautiful spots in Santa Fe; it’s just a magical place.  Perhaps this is due in part to its age; people have been living here since the 10th century.   That sort of thing alone will give a town a particularly rich energy.  The city’s decision back in the early 20th century to mandate building styles in keeping with the town’s existing character (lots and lots of low-slung adobe) also contributes to the feeling of enchantment.  Besides just looking pretty, the small human scale of the town has been largely preserved, making it a great place to be with kids. 

If you venture up into the hills, you will find one of my favorite places in Santa Fe: the Girard Wing of the Museum of International Folk Art.  The whole museum is worth a visit, but the Girard Wing is unique.  It contains textile designer Alexander Girard’s collection of folk art and toys from around the world – approximately 106,000 items. 

Girard not only contributed the items, he also designed the permanent exhibit space to hold them.  It is a fantastic space.  Colorful and maze-like without being overwhelming, it showcases the objects at various eye-levels (including some at near floor-level).  It invites people of all sizes to wander and explore.  Everything is behind plexiglass, but many displays can be seen from multiple perspectives, making viewing a more dynamic experience. Toys are arranged in a frequently humorous way, creating an elaborate tableaux or telling a little story (sometimes the story is enchantingly ambiguous).  

I happened to be without my son during my visit, unfortunately - but other children I observed were utterly delighted.  I can't wait to go back, kid in tow.

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