Currently on Display



People of the Southwest
A permanent exhibit depicting 11,000 years of the cultural heritage of the Southwest.

A permanent exhibit tracing human origins back four million years.

Evidence & Theory: Photographs from the Maxwell Museum Archives

Photography occupies a unique position in the world of invention, with the photographic image held as both an expression of hard factual evidence and as subject to complex theoretical interpretation.

Evidence and Theory: Photographs from the Archive of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology questions the fundamental interpretation of photographic imagery and the relationship between seeing and knowing truth. The exhibition explores this duality through a collection of historica limages from the Maxwell Archive, many on display for the first time.

Chinese Americans in New Mexico

Chinese immigrants first came to New Mexico in in large numbers in the 1800s looking for jobs, particularly building railroads and mining. Because of harsh laws, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and other discrimination, the Chinese in the “first wave” of immigrants were unable to create lasting communities in New Mexico.

In the early 1900s, a small but permanent Chinese-American community took root in New Mexico, including refugees from the Communist takeover of mainland China, along with immigrants from Taiwan. New Mexico’s Chinese Americans are proud to be U.S. citizens, but also remember their ancient heritage.  As Dr. Siu Wong, a member of the Chinese American community in Albuquerque, said of the tea cups displayed in this exhibit, and brought by her parents from Shanghai:

“Throughout my childhood these tea cups were never used; they were too fragile for everyday life. Instead they were a reminder of my family's affluent lifestyle prior to the Japanese occupation of China in the late 1930s and early 1940s.”

The exhibition recounts the story of Chinese immigrants and Chinese American communities in New Mexico through photographs, documents and family heirlooms.
Open through September 30, 2017

Earth, Fire and Life: Six Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics

Earth, Fire and Life: Six Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics, an exciting new exhibition at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology traces a path from ancient times to the 21st century. From ancient vessels of the Neolithic age to contemporary critique by Ai Wei Wei, the exhibition combines culture, political discourse and aesthetics. It is created by curators of the Maxwell Museum and features the Eason Eige collection and contemporary Chinese ceramic artists.

Early China included dozens of cultures spread over many centuries.  Imperial rule absorbed disparate groups and was itself replaced by a republic.  Over time, the rough-hewn and hand-built evolved to the elegant, reflecting changes in Chinese culture and political life.

Earth, Fire and Life: Six Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics chronicles a changing culture through the quintessentially Chinese technology, ceramics.  The exhibition presents pieces from the Neolithic period to the contemporary. Ritual vessels, tomb offerings, and cutting edge sculpture portray a culture in transformation. Chinese ceramic production survived the end of the empire and the turmoil of the early republican era, and is thriving today. Chinese ceramics epitomize the country’s lasting contributions to world civilization.