The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is located at 4301 Transmountain Road in El Paso, Texas. The grounds of the Museum consist of over 15 acres of nature trails, outdoor exhibits, and a desert garden containing over 250 types of native plants. There is also a gazebo on the Museum grounds providing a place for family picnics and group activities.
The Museum is devoted to the first inhabitants of the El Paso region, the greater Southwest, and northern Mexico. Through its exhibits, displays, and dioramas, the Museum brings to life the lives of the American Indians. The Museum displays a variety of examples of their material culture belonging to different eras starting from the Paleoindian hunters living during the Ice Age to the modern Indian descendants.
Prehistoric artifacts from the Southwest are the central focus of the Museum's collections. The artifacts range from pottery to flaked stone to ground stone to perishable objects. In addition to the historic pottery and ceramics in the collection, there is also baskets and weaving representing extinct cultural artifacts. The collection encompasses artifacts from many areas from Mesoamerica to Northwest coastal groups.
At the entrance of the Museum and in the lobby, there are hands-on displays such as a full size model of a pueblo room. Visitors can also find artifacts to touch and handle. In addition, there are a number of maps of the Southwest highlighting Indian villages, reservations, and prehistoric culture sites.
The North and South galleries house the permanent collection of artifacts. In the North Gallery, artifacts representing different cultures and eras are displayed. Amongst some of the artifacts found are basketry, ceramics, wood carvings, textiles, stone tools, and ornaments.
The dioramas in the South gallery present the day to day lives of Indians in the El Paso area of the Southwest from the Ice Age to the 20th century. Examples of such scenes include those of Hunters, Gatherers, Horticultural Pit-dwellers, and many more.
The temporary exhibits are housed in the Auditorium gallery.
In addition to the permanent exhibits and the temporary exhibits, the Museum offers visitors 15 acres of trails and gardens. There are several outdoor exhibits that can be viewed on the trail, besides the native plants and amazing scenic view of the Franklin Mountains and poppy fields.
There is also a Museum store that sells a number of gifts, books, ceramics, postcards, toys, and authentic Indian jewelry and art.
The Museum hosts lecture series on a variety of topics pertaining to archaeological studies. In addition, it has designed a number of activities and educational resources to aid teachers introduce and present archaeology to the classroom. Furthermore, the Museum organizes occasional hands-on interactive programs on archaeology, its tools, and the prehistory of the Americas.
Group tours are available and free on a daily basis except Mondays. The Museum requires group tours to be schedules two weeks in advance.
The Museum is closed on Mondays. It is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. On Sundays, it is open from 12pm to 5 pm. The Museum is open year round except on New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Currently, there is no admission charge to the Museum. The Museum can be reached by called (915) 755-4332.
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