I had the chance to go to the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town. This was my first time in Old Town where I really parked and got to walk around. It was fun to see luminarias set up! I went for a work holiday party, so I got in for free and the company had two exhibits open for us to see: The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited and Common Ground: Art in New Mexico.

The first exhibit I explored was The Jim Henson Exhibition. It has been on view since November 23rd and will stay in Gallery 1 until April 19th. Jim Henson was the puppeteer behind works like The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.

With more than 20 puppets, photographs, and clips from his shows, it felt like you were right on set. I saw Kermit, Bert, and Ernie and even got to design my own puppet. The exhibit had Henson’s original headset and cool souvenir cards with images of the puppets and Henson.

My favorite part of this exhibit was being able to put on my own puppet show. There were about four puppets you could choose from. There was a camera that would film you. It was hard not to have my head in the shot. You could choose from four clips that you could replicate, or you could just have fun playing with the puppets.

The other exhibit I got to look at was Common Ground. This is a permanent exhibit that shows off real New Mexico. There is a great diversity in the art made in New Mexico and the exhibit had many different pieces demonstrating just that. There was a beautiful painting of a wolf that really stood out to me. There were also photographs, statues and powerful words throughout the gallery.

One of the pieces talked about when or if someone truly becomes a real New Mexican. Being from out of state, I am not sure if I quite fit in just yet. I have been here for about a year and a half and even have a New Mexican ID. But I still don’t know all of the history and culture that is so important to this space. The piece really made me question what it takes to be a New Mexican.

I am hoping I get to go back and explore the rest of the space soon. There is $6 for admission or $5 for New Mexican residents. They have plenty of events though. The museum offers free Sunday morning admission (9:00 AM to 1:00 PM) which would be the perfect excuse to get off campus and go exploring.

The museum has a New Year’s Eve event before dark (from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM) where they will show Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. For those of you who are out of town but maybe looking for something fun to kill time before spring semester starts, the museum is putting on a 3rd Thursday at the Albuquerque Museum where there will be free admission,  music, fun programs, art-making, and food and drink for purchase.

I hope you all were able to go see something new with the extra free time that comes with the end of the semester!