Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame



2017 Exhibits

The Beauty in Energy

June 1-November 5, 2017

The Texas and New Mexico landscape is filled with photogenic opportunities: cowboys, bluebonnets and even cacti, but many wouldn't think of oil rigs. Oil, gas and the men working the rigs keep this country that we love going. Bob Callender captures the artistry of an oilfield landscape, the choreography of workers in motion and The Beauty in Energy. The Beauty in Energy features a number of large-scale photographs on different mediums.

Take a look at this video from the Texas Country Reporter.


Walk a Mile

June 22 - November 5, 2017

"Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes." This phrase reminds us not to judge others because no one knows the full story of another. We all have a story and, many times, our shoes have accompanied us through the chapters of our lives. This is exactly why we contacted many famous and infamous New Mexicans and asked to borrow their shoes. Sometimes shoes are just shoes, but sometimes they tell their own story or that of their owner.

As you wander the South Gallery you will see shoes from various walks of life:  Local Heroes, Athletes, Pageant Participants, An Astronaut, Writers, TV/Movie Jobs, Ranchers, And More.

The public is invited to participate in a shoe drive to raise funds for the Lea County Humane Society Animal Transports. Donations of gently worn, used and new shoes will be accepted. With your shoe donation, you'll receive one free family admission to the Museum.


Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas

January 26-May 14, 2017

New discoveries and technologies reveal how dinosaurs lived, moved and behaved. This exciting exhibition showcases the world of modern paleontology, introducing a dynamic vision of dinosaurs and the scientists who study them. Find out how advanced technologies allow scientists to look at fossils in fresh ways. Examine realistic models and casts, and see dinosaurs walk, run and move their long necks in fantastic computer simulations.

Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in collaboration with California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, The Field Museum, Chicago, Houston Museum of Natural Science, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh.


Dinosaurs of New Mexico: Fossils from the Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

January 26-May 14, 2017

The Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame has worked side by side with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science to bring you Dinosaurs of New Mexico. Since the 1880s, New Mexico has become a world renowned place for dinosaur discoveries. The NMMNHS is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the State of New Mexico and wanted to share a portion of their thousands of fossils located in their collection. You're invited to take a glimpse into the Museum's collections and learn about just a few of the amazing dinosaur discoveries that have taken place all over NM.



2016 Exhibits

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit

July 28-November 6, 2016

Educational, emotional and appropriate for all ages, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the life of Titanic. Along the way visitors will learn countless stories of heroism and humanity that pay honor to the indomitable force of the human spirit in the face of tragedy.

The Exhibition has been designed with a focus on the legendary RMS Titanic’s compelling human stories as best told through authentic artifacts recovered from the wreck site of Titanic and extensive room re-creations.  Perfume from a maker who was traveling to New York, china etched with the logo of the elite White Star Line, pieces of the Ship itself -- these and many other authentic objects offer haunting, emotional connections to lives abruptly ended or forever altered.

Upon entering Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, visitors will be drawn back in time to April 1912, when the Ship embarked on its maiden voyage.  They’ll receive replica boarding pass, assume the role a passenger and follow a chronological journey through life on Titanic – from the Ship’s construction to life on board, the famous sinking, and the modern day efforts to recover and conserve the wreckage for future generations.


Theatrica: A Tour of the Community Arts

May 19-July 3

An interactive, educational exhibit of an inside look into community arts with a focus on the stage, including day camps and a number of live performances.


Wickedly Natural: Photos by April Dalphne

January 28 - May 15, 2016

The wildflowers of "Wickedly Natural" breathe life into the neglected artifacts of the natural world.   They reawaken old narratives, find beauty and meaning in their ruin, and revive the memories of lost moments.   Unseen to the ordinary people who rush hurriedly by, I find entry into this mystical world and attempt to sensitively capture it before it is lost as time rolls away.


Wicked Plants

January 16 -May 1, 2016

The North Carolina Arboretum brings you a new traveling exhibit inspired by Amy Stewart’s best selling book Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother and other Botanical Atrocities. This fun and family-friendly exhibit gives visitors a hands-on experience with some of the world’s most diabolical botanicals ~ without the risk of pain, poisoning, dismemberment or death. Thought provoking, entertaining and educational interactive displays set inside a ramshackle home create a fascinating portrait of the evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. History, medicine, science, legend and lore are brought together to present a compendium of blood- curdling botany that will entertain, alarm and enlighten.


2015 Exhibits

Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild, Photographs by Michael Forsberg

July 30-November 10, 2015

"Photography can be a powerful witness to our short-comings, but also to show that beauty and hope still exists in the natural world. It can help communicate to people why something matters. Conservation photography is an active and powerful tool to begin this process, to start the conversation, to call for action. Time is short." ~ Michael Forsberg

Mike is a charter member of the North American Nature Photographer’s Association, and in 2009, he was the recipient of the North American Nature Photographer’s Association Mission Award.  He is a senior fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a fellow with the University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains Studies and the Water for Food Institute.


1965: Celebrating 50 years of New Mexico Junior College

June 11-July 26, 2015

This special exhibit will take a look at the world in 1965 and will feature many objects from cars to pop culture icons. New Mexico Junior College was founded in 1965 changing the community of southeastern New Mexico for the better. 50 years later we're taking a look at the beginnings of NMJC and the world it came into.


Community Photography Show

May 16-June 21, 2015

Returning for another year, join us for the Community Photography Show featuring photos from the New Mexico Junior College digital photography classes. This show is open to anyone in the community. The show will be juried and winners will receive a ribbon. First place winners and Best of Show will be on display in the Museum for a year.


Bugs Outside the Box

January 22-May 31, 2015

The world of insects is all around us. Cleverly camouflaged or flamboyant in their displays, their diminutive size frequently keeps them from attracting our attention. Important to science and necessary in the natural world, the unexpected artistry and beauty of insects can usually only be fully appreciated under a magnifying glass.

Until now.

Bugs: Outside the Box presents a selection of greatly enlarged insect sculptures, each showcasing the beauty hidden within the (mini) beasts of the natural world. Butterflies with five foot wingspans and beetles, four feet long, that can stare you square in the eye are only two examples of the unique sculptures on display in this amazing exhibition. Intricate details not visible to the naked eye are showcased alongside educational topics, including an exciting look at museum collections and taxonomy, and an exploration of the power of magnification.


Wicked Bugs

January 22-May 31, 2015

As a compliment to Bugs Outside the Box, we will be presenting Wicked Bugs. Bugs that invade, infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human civilization are the focus of this exciting new exhibit series, a companion to bestselling author Amy Stewart's New York Times bestseller Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon's Army and Other Diabolical Insects (Algonquin Books, May 2011).

The etchings that illustrate Wicked Bugs were created by Briony Morrow-Cribbs.

A selection of these prints are the focus of an elegant, framed art installation. More than simple prints on a wall, the limited edition, hand-tinted prints are presented within sophisticated shadow box displays that also contain factual information and 3-D objects and specimens.


Light in the Desert: Photographs from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert by Tony O'Brien

February 6-April 19, 2015

This exhibit features 20 photographs that capture the essence and experience of photojournalist Tony O’Brien’s year-long residency at Christ in the Desert Monastery.  While on assignment in Afghanistan for Life magazine in 1989, O’Brien was captured and imprisoned by the Afghan government.  After his release, O’Brien sought solace and perspective at the monastery, a small Benedictine community founded in 1964 and set in the Chama River Canyon Wilderness, about 75 miles north of Santa Fe.  He returned again in 1994 to do a story and, in the process, became a practicing member of the community. During his stay, O’Brien was granted rare access to photograph the monastery and the daily activities and rituals that have been kept in a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages.


2014 Exhibits


Saddle Up

August 28 - November 16, 2014

Saddle Up features a variety of saddles from the equestrian culture. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Western saddle and an English saddle? How about a roping saddle and a barrel saddle? Come see all of this and more in our Saddle Up exhibit. The exhibit features saddles from our own collection, saddles loaned to us by local cowboys (most members of the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame) and borrowed saddles from the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center, National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, TX and the Museum of Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX. Saddles are placed throughout the Museum but grab a catalog guide and learn more about each of the saddles.


Arte en la Charreria

September 18-November 2, 2014

The Museum is pleased to open Arte en la Charreria, an exhibition coming from the Mexican cultural tradition of "Charreada," a festive event similar to an American Rodeo in its variety of competitive equestrian activities.  Like the American "rodeo culture" the Charreria extends beyond horses and riders to include aspects such as costume, music, and food that bring a uniquely Latino Culture to a sport that has its roots in Spain.  

The charreada began in Mexico in the 16th century when horses were introduced by the Spanish.   The culture is reflected in the clothing, saddles, belts, hats, and spurs and is largely inspired by traditional indigenous art.  The Charreria has endured for over five centuries because of the strength of the skills, sensibilities, and traditions that transcend regional and generational differences.  The exhibition, "Arte en la Charreria" will showcase art of different media that pertain to the Charreria culture.  Included in the exhibition will be Saddles, Ropes, Spurs and Bits, and clothing from the Charreria tradition.

Arte en la Charrería is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in collaboration with Marisú González German and Gabriel Cabello Martinez. 


Andy Warhol: Legends from the Cochran Collection

May 15 - August 17, 2014

The Western Heritage Museum is proud to present a rare opportunity to view silk-screen prints by Andy Warhol (1928–1987) from the private collection of Wesley and Missy Cochran. Warhol was one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century and the leading figure in the visual art movement known as Pop Art. Launched in England during the 1950s, Pop Art borrowed popular (or mass) culture images from the movies, comic books, and advertising (particularly as found on billboards and in food packaging).  At the Western Heritage Museum May 15 - August 17, 2014.


Bigger than T-Rex

January 23 - EXTENDED TO May 4, 2014

Imagine a dinosaur more fearsome and larger than a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  In 1991, such a killer was discovered in Patagonia, near the southern tip of Argentina.  GIGANOTOSAURUS (JIG-ah-NOTE-oh-SORE-us), 45 feet long, was five feet longer and three tons heavier than the largest known T-Rex.  And this most fearsome carnivorous dinosaur, along with other pre-historic creatures, will be on display at the Western Heritage Museum & Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame, on the campus of New Mexico Junior College.  This is the first time BIGGER THAN T-REX has been on display in the southwest.

In a remodeled spacious gallery, visitors will come face to face with the full 45-foot long skeleton, with its huge skull full of sharp teeth, and three-fingered hands with claws.  Standing 14 feet tall and weighing about 10 tons, these creatures were indigenous to what is now Argentina about 100 to 97 million years ago, a whopping 30 million years before T-Rex appeared in North America.  Like T-Rex, Giganotosaurus had relatively stunted front arms, which likely served an important function, and based on their skeletal structure, was faster than T-Rex, capable of sprints of 20mph or more.

In addition to Giganotosaurus, another gigantic killer dinosaur, the MAPUSAURUS, a close and somewhat larger relative found in the same region of Patagonia, will also be exhibited at the museum, with the only skeleton ever reconstructed of the animal.  It lived one million years after Giganotosaurus, and is considered one of the most feared predators of its day.  When discovered, there were nine Mapusaurus buried together, proving that big meat-eaters lived in packs.

Additionally, visitors will learn about the Argentinosaurus, the largest animal ever to walk the earth, the Allosaurus, the largest carnivore of the Jurassic Period, the Albertosaurus, an ancestor of the T-Rex, and Amargasaurus, an herbivore from Patagonia, and more. 

A fossil dig pit will be installed for children to hunt for dinosaur bones and touch actual fossils.  And a 20 by 9 foot original painted mural will help bring pre-history to life.

Family Fun Days will be held on the last Saturday of every month January through April. The activities start at 11 am with a presentation by a dinosaur expert. They will speak again at 1pm.  Artists will help you create your own dinosaur masterpiece throughout the day. There will also be a dinosaur-related film showing in the theater whenever the speaker is not presenting.  Best of all, admission is FREE!

BIGGER THAN T-REX was created by Dino Don, Inc. /Exhibits Rex, and is the first interactive and comprehensive look at the largest dinosaurs ever found.  Giganotosaurus was excavated and reconstructed in Patagonia by "Dino" Don Lessem and his team at the Museo Carmen Funes in Plaza Huincul, Argentina.  Lessem is a writer of more than 50 Popular Science books, specializing in dinosaurs.  He was advisor to the Jurassic Park film and theme park attraction.


2013 Exhibits

Winter Photography Show:  Featuring NMJC Students

December 7 - 19, 2013

This annual show features the students from NMJC's fall digital photography classes.  For more information on taking a digital photography class please visit the NMJC website.


Art of the Fish: The Exotic Woodcarvings of Tom Dean

September 26 - November 17, 2013

Artist Tom Dean has taken his 40 year passion of fly fishing in Montana and turned that into another passion:  hand carving native trout, dragonflies, cattails/reeds, frogs, other fish species and more recently full-sized bison skulls out of exotic woods from around the world.  His woods come from Africa, Australia, Brazil, Central America, Hawaii, and elsewhere.  He sets the flora and fauna in their natural river environments.  The result is a beautiful picture of life in the river.

Join us for the opening reception on September 26, 2013 at 5:30pm.  Tom will be here to discuss his pieces and process.  Refreshments will be provided.


Bold, Bent and Molded: A Sculpture Invitational

September 5 - October 18, 2013

Extended for one final weekend.  Last day is October 20!!

Large sculptures will be on exhibit in the Museum.  We have invited several nationally known and local artists to participate in this first of its kind (in Lea County) show of sculptures on this scale.


Horsing Around

July 27 - September 15, 2013

This show features many different artists and their view of the horse.  America, especially the West, has a love affair with the horse.  Humans interact with different horses in different ways.  In this exhibit, you will be able to see many different types of interactions as well as the beauty of the horse.

Come see the wonderful works of the following artists:  Mary Ross Buchholz, Jim Carson, Nancy Cawdrey, Jay Contway, Mick Doellinger, Mikel Donahue, Greg Eiselein, Curtis Fort, Sherry Gallagher, Tom Gilleon, Rick Jackson, Bozena J. Kaczan, Dustin Kaufman, Greg Kelsey, T.D. Kelsey, Steven Lang, Linda Loeschen, Krystii Melaine, James N. Muir, Joe Netherwood, Steven Oiestadt, Sharon Standridge, Laurie Stevens, Echo Ukrainetz, Ron Ukrainet, Tanner Wells, Kim White

Festival of Quilts

2013 Theme:  "Land That I Love"

June 13 - July 13, 2013

The Festival of Quilts is always a wonderful display of quilts made by your fellow community members.  Don't miss this opportunity to see the talent of people right here in the community.  Vote for your favorite in the People's Choice!  There will be an opening reception on July 13 at 5:30pm.

Raffle tickets for the community quilt, pictured above are $1.  The winner will be selected at the closing of the show.

We will be hosting different events and classes focused on quilting:

Saturday, June 15 - Kids' Quilting.  Kids are invited to attend this informational workshop.  Jan Buss and other volunteers will be on hand to teach children about patterns and putting together a quilt.  Using a felt wall, kids will be able to design their very own quilt.  Children of all ages are welcome.  The event is from 10am-12pm.

Saturday, June 22 - Quilting Trunk Show.  Joyce Walker has graciously agreed to share some of her quilted items.  Joyce has a wonderful talent for quilting and you won't want to miss her show.  Her trunk show will be up all day (10am-5pm) but she will be doing a presentation from 10am-12pm.

Saturday, June 29 - Quilters Vendor Showcase.  Join us on this day to see some of the local vendors who specialize in sewing/quilting.  Dee Ann Adams from Country Quilt Shop in Lovington, NM and Jennifer Amen from Sew Cute Crafts & Quilts in Seminole, TX will be here to show off their wares, do demonstrations, and answer questions.  They will have their gear set up all day (10am-5pm) but they will be doing special presentations at two different times, 11am and 3pm.  Whether you're starting off or have been quilting all your life, this is one event your won't want to miss.


Annual Community Photography Show

May 16 - June 7, 2013

The Annual Community Photography show is open to anyone in the community.

Crime Lab Detective

January 24 - May 5, 2013

A crime has just occurred at the Johnson's house!  They were on a wonderful vacation in Hawaii and came home to this...  But you are a professional and you know exactly what to do.  With your trusty notebook you're going to gather clues and listen to statements.  You will use what you find there and take it to the lab to determine who committed the crime.  Check your answers and see if your instincts were right.

In this exhibit you'll learn about the scientific method, fingerprinting, handwriting analysis, dna, and much more.  Learn what it takes to become a detective.

The exhibit opening will be on January 24 at 5:30pm.  Our special speakers are from the Texas Tech Forensics Department.  They will be discussing CSI: reality vs. fiction.  Refreshments will be served.


2012 Exhibits

NMJC Student Photography Show

December 9 - 19, 2012


Power of the Drum

By popular demand, the exhibit has been extended.  September 6 - November 30, 2012

Don’t miss our exhibit Power of the Drum: Native American Powwow. This exhibit will examine the tradition of Native American powwows and immerse your senses in this coming together of nations.

Opening event is Sept 6 at 5:30pm.


Festival of Quilts

June 14-July 14, 2012

The annual Festival of Quilts opens June 14 and will continue through July 14. The opening will be June 14 at 5:30 where there will be refreshments. See this year's community quilt, enjoy this art form made by your fellow community members, and see who won first place. Don't forget to vote for your favorite as the People's Choice!

Raffle tickets for the beautiful community quilt, pictured below, are $1 and are available now. Stop by the Museum to purchase your chance to win!

Don't miss our FREE quilting workshops:

June 16 - Quilting 101 at 10am

June 23 - Art Quilts at 10am

June 30 - Trunk Show at 10am


Annual Community Photography Show

 May 20 - June 9, 2012

Good luck to all who enter and don’t miss your chance to come out and see the great photographers we have in the community.

An opening reception will be held on May 20 at 2pm. Refreshments will be served.


District Wide Art Show

May 12 - 17, 2012

You won't want to miss the District Wide Art Show for Elementary Students Ribbon Winners.

The artwork will be on display at the Western Heritage Museum starting with a reception on May 12th at 5:30pm.

Come out and support our young artists from Hobbs Municipal Schools.


Eyes On Earth

Feb 1 - May 1, 2012

Far beyond the atmosphere of Earth, at orbits ranging from 290 to over 35,400 km (180 to over 22,000 miles) above sea level, circle the satellites of the Earth Observing System (EOS), NASA’s primary satellite mission. This small group of human-made scientific observers is constantly scanning our planet--tracking weather, monitoring pollution, creating maps, and gathering information that helps scientists predict storms, monitor forest fires, and study the holes in the ozone layer.

EYES ON EARTH, a highly interactive science exhibition, focuses on the EOS and examines how satellite observations are made and what we can learn about the Earth using space technology. Designed primarily for families and school groups (elementary through adults), visitors learn what a satellite is, discover the different types of orbits, and explore cutting-edge technology similar to that used by EOS scientists. EYES ON EARTH brings these concepts "down to earth" through a combination of fun, accessible interactives in a playful and "spacey" environment.


2011 Exhibits

Raramuri: Runners of the Sierra Madre

October 13 – November 20, 2011

The Raramuri: Runners of the Sierra Madre provides visitors with an exclusive look into the lives of the reclusive Raramuri peoples, indigenous to the canyons of the Chihuahua’s Sierra Madre. The exhibit will explore the tribe’s distinct simple way of life and close connection with nature. The displays will take a deeper look into the expert traversing skills the people have acquired when crossing through tough terrain such as mountains and foothills, which completely gives a new meaning to the word "surefooted." The photo exhibition will include their racing tradition, Semana Santa, Matachines, the planting and harvest, education, family and other aspects of daily life.

The exhibit directs itself towards raising consciousness about the important balance of lifestyle and habitat while furthering the understanding and appreciation for the unique and exceptional Raramuri tribe. Images will focus on the lifestyle and ritual that is unique to this tribe because of its limited exposure to modern developments, while also illustrating the visible effects occurring from increased contact with outsiders. This exhibit is a celebration of the lives and traditions of the Raramuri peoples of the Sierra Madre.

Diana Molina is scheduled to speak the opening of the exhibit on October 13 at 6pm.


Underground of Enchantment

Sept. 1 - Oct. 9, 2011

"Underground of Enchantment" is a 3D photo exhibit featuring the beautiful magic & microbial secrets of one of the most interesting caves in the world - Lechuguilla Cave in southeastern New Mexico.

Lechuguilla Cave is the deepest limestone cave (1597.4 ft/486.9m) in the USA & fifth longest cave in the world (128miles/206km). The cave holds a spectacular but fragile ecosystem which was cut off from the surface until 1986. To protect this system, entry into Lechuguilla is restricted to exploration & science.

The exhibit will feature 3D photography & image presentations by David De Roest, Michel Renda, Daniel Chailloux, Peter & Ann Bosted all remarkable photographers & outstanding cavers from Belgium, France & the United States.

Gosia Allison-Kosior, originally from Poland but in love with the surface & underground of the Land of Enchantment since 1995, is curating this important look at one of New Mexico’s best kept secrets.

Their feeling of being privileged & a need to share with others the experience of Lechuguilla Cave’s charm connected David, Ann, Peter, Daniel & Gosia. This was the moment when a dream about the exhibit was born!


2011 Festival of Quilts

June 16 - July 16, 2011

The annual Festival of Quilts is scheduled for Thursday, June 16 through Saturday, July 16 at the Western Heritage Museum Complex and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame. The theme of the show for 2011 is Fiesta!It is a celebration of the rich historical significance of the Spanish influence on New Mexico.

What comes to mind when we say the word, Fiesta? Bright colors, beautiful patterns, sun, dancing, singing, and happy faces to be sure. Our quilters have incorporated these ideas into their "Community Quilt" which will be raffled during the show.


Annual Community Photography Show

The Community Photography Show will be from May 26 – June 12, 2011.

If you are interested in entering a photo into the show please read the guidelines and fill out and attach the entry form to your entry.  Make sure you fill out the form completely and bring it into the Museum by the deadline:  5pm Friday, May 20. All entries must have a WHITE matte and a simple BLACK frame no larger than 14"x 18"(including frame). The frame MUST have a hanging wire on the back. Photographers are not to be identified on the front of an entered image. A completed entry form shall be attached to the back of the entered image. There is a limit of two entries per photographer.

Good luck to all who enter and don’t miss your chance to come out and see the great photographers we have in the community.


District Wide Art Show

May 14 - 22, 2011

You won't want to miss the District Wide Art Show for Elementary Students Ribbon Winners.

The artwork will be on display at the Western Heritage Museum starting with a reception on May 14th at 1pm, and remain on display through May 22nd.

Come out and support our young artists from Hobbs Municipal Schools.


Prehistoric Beasts

Jan-May 2011

Only after the extinction of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, could the mammals and other strange creatures radiate to fill all of the empty ecological space that had been vacated.  The Prehistoric Beasts exhibit displays a vast array of wonderful and weird creatures that lived from 10,000 to 55 million years ago.


2010 Exhibits

Historic Petroleum Stock Certificates from the Heinrich Wenning Collection

October 28 – November 23, 2010

The exhibition of the petroleum related stock certificates will be presented at the Western Heritage Museum Complex on the New Mexico Junior College Campus in Hobbs, New Mexico from October 28th through November 23th and will then be traveling to other museum venues within the region throughout next year.

The items being displayed are on loan from the collection of Mr. Heinrich Wenning, of Cedar Crest, NM and span the history and development of the petroleum industry.  The presentation includes some of the only known surviving certificates from the earliest stages of the creation of both the majors and minor oil companies especially related to Texas, California and the Southwest. There are some examples of letters and other archival materials that have become extremely significant from an historical perspective.

This is the first time these materials have been exhibited to the public and as Calvin Smith, Executive Director of the Western Heritage Museum Complex, stated, "This is a rare privilege to be able to put this show together in our area because it is the heritage of the oil and gas industry and we are most pleased that the Permian Basin Petroleum Association will be meeting here to see and enjoy this special offering".


Russell G. Hill:  Cowboy Art & Ranch Photography

September 9 – October 21, 2010

(The Copter Cowboy)

Russ has been flying helicopters for forty years.  For thirty of those years he has been gathering cattle by helicopter on many of the largest ranches in West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, working with the cowboys.  This is how he picked up his flying name "The Copter Cowboy".  For thirty years he has taken pictures of the different ranches and the cowboys he has worked with.  Even though some of these pictures were taken many years ago, they have never been shown.  This is the first formal exhibit of his ranch photos.

"These photos are the only way I have to share with you what, where and who I work with.  Every picture has a story behind it.  Ranching and flying helicopters is a great way of life.  I am a lucky guy to be able to do what I do for a living." – Russ.


Festival of Quilts

June-July, 2010


4th Annual Community Photography Show

May 27 – June 11, 2010. 

This amateur photography show is open to the public, both students and adults.  Photographers choose one or two of their favorite/best pictures to display in the Museum gallery.  This show is juried and prizes are given to the winners.  The Best of Show is the highest rating that one photo/photographer can receive and that photo will be displayed for one year in the Museum.  Please check back as the date draws closer for more information on entering a photograph.  The 2009 Show was even bigger than the previous one and thanks to Photography Show Chairman, David Jett and Photography Show Prize Chairman, Brian Henning the show went up and ran smoothly.  The 2009 Show featured over 40 amateur photographers who competed in several categories which included still life, architecture, nature, and people. The best in show prize went to a nature photo of a hummingbird drinking nectar with a drop of the juice suspended in the air taken by Bob Allen – quite a wonderful shot! 2010 Guidelines


Water's Extreme Journey

Feb. 1 – May 2, 2010

Water’s Extreme Journey was developed with a focus on creativity by renowned marine life artist Wyland. The exhibit combines the worlds of art and science to demonstrate the importance of water and how it connects us all. Through exploration, scientific inquiry, artistic expression, and action, visitors will experience the water cycle, understand the science behind water purity, and realize the power each individual has to make a difference.

The exhibit includes a themed game Water’s Extreme Journey Maze, which transforms visitors into a drop of water entering a watershed, sending them on a journey through different watershed habitats including lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, estuaries, bays, and oceans.  Students will also have the opportunity to become science sleuths in the Investigation Science Center.  Following the steps of the scientific method, visitors will conduct their own hands-on investigation of water properties and quality.


2009 Exhibits

Fall Photography Show

Nov. 17 – Dec. 4, 2009

A little different from our annual Spring Photography Show, this Fall Show will showcase pieces from the fall semester photography classes at NMJC.  Students will be able to display their favorite pieces in the Museum gallery where visitors can admire them.  This show will not be juried.  Make plans to see this relaxed, wonderful show.  Nov. 17 – Dec. 8, 2009.


Cowgirls Exhibit

Sept. 13 - Nov. 22, 2009

The word "cowboy" invokes images of the indomitable man on horseback. But what do we know of the cowgirl? COWGIRLS:

COWGIRLS documents the daily challenges, professional triumphs, and personal tenacity shared by the women who run cattle or ride broncs and bulls. From the competitive grit of the rodeo circuit and the exhausting demands of cattle ranching to the intimate bond they share with their animals, modern cowgirls call to mind the independence, fortitude, and incomparable vigor demonstrated by women who endured the hardships and challenges of life on the American frontier.

During the three years she spent capturing these evocative portraits, Farley found the cowgirls to be "distinct, impressive, and unforgettable."


2009 Festival of Quilts

Opened June 18 and will continue until July 11


Liberty on the Border - A Civil War Exhibit

January 29, 2009 - May 9, 2009

This innovative exhibit invites visitors to experience the American Civil War by examining concepts of "borders" by looking at the way borders were drawn and perceived before, during, and after the war. Visitors will be able to develop a deeper comprehension of the different and sometimes contentious meaning of personal "liberty".


2008 Exhibits

Rio Grande ¡Bravo! The Panoramic Photography of Jon M. Smith

September 13 – Dec 2008

This exhibit features the Panoramic Photography of Jon M. Smith, a former Hobbs resident. Mr. Smith’s unique photography invites the viewer to share his journey along the Rio Grande. The large 30"x90" images are stunning---it’s almost like being there.

Come see the Rio Grande River as it travels through canyons, irrigation systems, gorges, and urban communities! Smith’s panoramic photography illustrates how the Rio Grande has impacted civilization and how civilization has impacted the river.

Mr. Smith gave a lecture on panoramic photography techniques at the museum Tuesday, October 14.


Indelible (P)ink: The Pink Panther and Popular Culture

June - August 31, 2008

Movie, music and cartoon were the summer theme. This exhibition, featuring forty-four original animation cells with accompanying drawings recently acquired by the Daura Gallery, was a blast from the past, spying on the Pink Panther as an example of popular culture while uncovering his contributions to 20th century animation.

While Pink Panther was at the Complex, related activities have included a chance July 23 to meet Hobbs' own Carla Curry, who has extensive experience in the Hollywood film industry. Her credits include: Pink Panther 2, Walk the Line, Friday Night Lights, The Alamo, Tombstone, Major League, and Children of the Corn IV.

After Curry's presentation, the Western Heritage Museum Complex hosted a very special Pink Panther film presentation,

June 14 was Dollar Day and on June 17 the Complex hosted "Move that Drawing; A look inside the cartoon biz with Rex Barron." Barron, former film animator, worked for film and television productions including The Lord of the Rings, Starchaser, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and The Pink Panther. At the Western Heritage Museum Complex, he instructed children ages 10 – 16 in the art of character design and motion. Participants in the day-long workshop developed artistic and animation skills by applying lines of design into action.


2008 Festival of Quilts / Windmills of Our Lives Exhibit

May 22 - June 7, 2008

May 22 - 24 during the 2008 Festival of Quilts, area artisans were able to display their crafts and gather to hear speakers.


Second Annual NMCJ / Hobbs High School Western Heritage Museum Photography Show

April 12 - May 3, 2008

Photographers from NMJC and the Hobbs High School staff and students competed for top honors in this second annual event.

A total of sixty-four photographs in the categories of Landscape, Nature, People, Macro, Architecture/Transportation, and Computer Manipulated were displayed for viewers' appraisal.

The Museum would like to recognize those who have supported and put effort into this imaginative event. Organizers include Brian Henning, David Jett, and Calvin Smith. Sponsors include Wells Fargo Bank, Hobbs Municipal Schools, Lea County State Bank, Kim's Kakes, Forest Tire, 1st National Bank, Sadler and Son, and Permian Ford.


Wonders of the Weavers

January 18 - March 15, 2007

Nineteenth century Rio Grande textiles assembled over a 26-year period by the Albuquerque Museum.  These beautiful examples of Hispanic weaving graced the Western Heritage Museum Complex walls with amazing color and texture.


2007 Exhibits

Home Town Christmas - Christmas Tree Forest

November 18 - December 15, 2007

Family Night at the Museum - December 4, 2007

Two hundred people enjoyed an evening of caroling, movies, family photos, story time, and Christmas cheer. People’s Choice Award was presented to Sam Spencer of Lea County State Bank.


Desert Soliloquy

October 29 - November 10, 2007

A photographic experience presenting a 14-year study and effort by Calvin Smith to set the Mescalero Sands aside as a National Outstanding Natural Area. It included an ecological record of the flora and fauna of a unique region that encompassed the capture and release of two Sandhill Whitetail deer and the identification of the Sand Dune Lizzard which is now considered a special species and possibly endangered.


Curtis Fort & Danny Stevens - Two Views of Life on the Llano

Reception: October 29

Exhibit: October - November 3.

Talented men with sculpture and photography - a welcome sight any time.


Playa - Gems of the Plains

September 12 - October 13, 2007

This exhibit was all wet … lands that is. Students and visitors participated in hands-on art and science activities.


Do You Remember?

July 27 - August 31, 2007

In the center gallery were photos of Hobbs, Lovington, Jal, and Eunice. They sent memory lane on a puzzle of "who are you and what were you doing?"


Making a Hand: Ranch Children of New Mexico

July 7 - August 31, 2007

The opening reception welcomed Gene Peach the photographer as well as such subjects of his photos as Tuffy Cooper from Lea County.