In the early 20th century a surge of artists migrated to Taos, New Mexico to hone their craft.
Many were drawn to a new style of American art that was not impacted by industry but rather focused on landscape and light. It is from this movement that the Harwood Museum collection came to be in Taos. In the early 1900s, Burt and Elizabeth Harwood left their home in France to relocate to New Mexico. They established the Harwood Foundation and purchased a series of buildings that they reconfigured to create The Harwood Complex, a multi-purpose space for the couple.
Through the years the Harwood Foundation came to be more involved in the community. When the couple learned that the town had no public library, they opened their private collection to the town in order to give their neighbors access to their books, art and literature. By 1935 the complex was given to the University of New Mexico. The gift was well-received as the University had a desire to partner with the Foundation in 1929 when it first opened its Field School of Art at the Harwood, a significant artistic program that existed for the next 26 years. Once the College took ownership of the facility, it started a major expansion and renovation project. It soon became one of the tallest adobe buildings in northern New Mexico. Upon completion the building housed a performance space that included an auditorium, stage, exhibition space and a library.
As the facility grew it followed and embraced new trends in American art, history and cultural expansion. It continues today to fulfill its educational outreach and mission by offering unique lectures, special exhibits, docent-led tours, and partnering with local schools and community groups. The Museum continues to create and develop specialty programming that works to educate students about the history of their culture and their place in art history.
The Harwood Museum is located at 238 Ledoux Street in Taos and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10am-5pm, and Sundays 12pm-5pm. Admission prices vary and can be found on the website at hardwoodmuseum.org. Additional information can be obtained by calling 575-758-9826.
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