Heritage Preservation Month

Preservation Month & Poster

2017 is the 35th consecutive year New Mexico has celebrated Heritage Preservation Month, and marks the 30th year HPD has issued a poster. Originated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1973 most states, including New Mexico, mark May as Preservation Month. Our poster is available by contacting HPD at 505-827-6320. The photograph of Almeta Williams was taken in 1943 by FSA photographer Jack Delano as part of a series of portraits he shot of American workers during the Great Depression. She was employed by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in Clovis at the time.

The Cultural Diversity theme illustrated on this year’s poster was inspired by the National Park Service initiative to achieve a more accurate and diverse representation of the groups of people who have shaped our history and culture. NPS is providing grants to document the history of African Americans, Asian Americans, the LGBTQ community, Native Americans, women, and Hispanics. National monuments and landmarks were established in recent years to recognize these groups, who also are better represented in the National Register.

HPD received a diversity grant that made it possible to hold a tribal summit to determine Native American preservation needs and design a digital app tailored to documenting cultural sites on Indian lands. Earlier this year, the Dunbar Elementary School in Vado was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination includes a history of African Americans in New Mexico, including the 1920s when Jim Crow laws were passed that led to building Dunbar in the tiny border town. Vado is the only extant community settled by blacks in New Mexico.


There are more than 30 preservation events statewide in May, many of them listed in the Calendar of Events. The Calendar can inspire a hike, bike ride, or road trip to places unexplored in New Mexico or be a guide for exploring cultural heritage. It was compiled by the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance, the only statewide preservation nonprofit in New Mexico. NMHPA helps facilitate sponsorship of the annual poster.


Since the 1970s, the Cultural Properties Review Committee has presented Heritage Preservation Awards for outstanding preservation achievements. Individuals, organizations, authors, local heroes, businesses and agencies have received awards for significant contributions to preserving architecture, archaeological sites, language, cultural landscapes, and less tangible elements of our culture. Grassroots preservationists, architects, archaeologists, and people who have made it a point to familiarize their community with the value of preservation have won preservation awards.

2016 Award Recipients

Individual Achievement  

  • Victoria T. Jacobson—for advocating preservation and sustainability as a National Park Service architect, and for 10 years dedicated to the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance.
  • Laurel Wallace—for writing two substantial volumes that became the standard guides for preserving historic roads, structure, and roadside architecture in New Mexico.
  • C. Dean Wilson—for becoming the foremost authority in the identification and interpretation of Southwestern Native American ceramics.
  • Norman B. Nelson—for 20 years devoted to building site steward programs and for his leadership of New Mexico SiteWatch at HPD.

Architectural Heritage

  • MainStreet de Las Vegas—for preserving New Mexico’s first volunteer firehouse, the E. Romero Hose and Fire Company building in Las Vegas.

Community Preservation Planning

  • Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District—for the organization’s leadership in establishing the Gallup Commercial Historic District.

 Heritage Organization

  • Silver City MainStreet Project—for preserving the Silco Theater, and re-opening it as a first-run movie house in 2015.

 Heritage Organization

  • Corrales Historical Society, Corrales Fire Department, Village of Corrales, Crocker Ltd.—for preserving San Ysidro Church after it was damaged in a severe 2013 storm.
  • Old Santa Fe Association—for 90 years of pioneering preservation advocacy, including establishment of one of the first local preservation ordinances in the nation.

 Heritage Publication

  • Marilyn Burchett—for editing hundreds of Lincoln County family histories and compiling them into Lincoln County, New Mexico, Tells Its Stories.
  • Rose Spader & Debra Speck—for researching and writing your family history and tying it to important New Mexico events in the historical novel, Overturned Bucket.
  • David Pike— for writing the historical roadmap to the Official Scenic Historic Markers, Roadside New Mexico: A Guide to Historic Markers, published in 2004 and 2015.

State Historian’s Award for Excellence in N.M. Scholarship

  • Drs. Charles H. Harris, III & Louis Ray Sadler—for writing a body of work that has earned them recognition as the leading scholars of the Mexican Revolution and the early twentieth century in the Southwest.

Lifetime Achievement

  • Marcia Keegan—for documenting the cultures of New Mexico’s 19 pueblos and the Navajo Nation in photographs published in books and are part of the permanent collections of local and national museums.