When the first iteration of Here, Now and Always opened in 1997, it was considered revolutionary. It was the first exhibition of its kind to a museum space, moving authority away from historically non-Native academics and scholars. Led by a primarily Indigenous curatorial team, it centered the voices, perspectives, and narratives on the Indigenous people it represented while concurrently foregrounding meaningful and long-lasting partnerships with Native communities.
For the past twenty-five years, the exhibition has been considered required viewing for everyone from schoolchildren to scholars, but much like Native cultures it has continued to evolve. Accordingly, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture closed Here, Now and Always in 2019 for a complete re-imagining. Now, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs invites the public to experience the exhibition as they have never seen it before.
Situated within the museum’s 8,400-square-foot Amy Rose Bloch Wing, Here, Now and Always features more than 600 objects from the museum’s collection. More importantly, it continues to express a fundamental truth about the quintessence of Native communities in the Southwest. To quote the late Zuni scholar and former MIAC curator of ethnology Edmund J. Ladd, “I am here. I am here, now. I have been here, always.”
This new iteration of the exhibition also includes contemporary narratives from the next generation of Indigenous people in the Southwest, as well as updated technology and state-of-the-art exhibition design. Similar to its first iteration, it is organized around the core themes of Emergence, Cycles, Ancestors, Community and Home, Trade and Exchange, Language and Song, Arts and Survival and Resilience. These themes structure the narratives evoked by the items on display.
While a lot has changed since 1997, Here, Now and Always has remained revolutionary. The exhibition and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture offer an inside perspective largely unique among museums.
Here, Now and Always opens July 2 and 3 on Museum Hill in Santa Fe at Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
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