Acequia Museum Exhibit Needs Your Help

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By Sylvia Rodriguez

A team of scholars is putting together an exhibit on acequias scheduled to open at the UNM Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in the spring of 2014. The exhibit is based on research being carried out by scientists and scholars across several disciplines and from several institutions, including NMSU, UNM, NM Tech, Sandia, and the New Mexico Acequia Association.

The study employs hydrology, agricultural economics, social science, and modeling theory to look at the sustainability and resilience of New Mexico's acequia-based agropastoral subsistence pattern and to address its future. The purpose of the exhibit is to tell the story of how acequias operate as part of whole watershed systems, how and why they persist, as well as the challenges they face today.

 The team is in the process of acquiring and collecting objects, artifacts, props, images, audio and audiovisual materials, and we need your help. Below is a list of tools and related items used in everyday acequia labor that we would like to borrow from people for the duration of the exhibit (5-7 months). These items will then be returned.  Below is a list of items we're seeking:   

Shovels (flat front and curve)
Culvert Claw
Pitchforks (3 and 6 -pronged)
Heavy duty asphalt rake
Regular rake
Pruning shears
Pulaski/hachesuela (double head with axe and adze)
Old pecheras, shirt, hat, rubber boots, gloves
Cuaderno (mayordomo's notebook)
Photographs or video of parish processions
Old parish banner
Old pickup truck

If you are willing to contribute any of the items below or know where we might find them, please contact us:  

Quita Ortiz (
Sylvia Rodríguez (sylrodri@unm.ed>)
Elise Trott (