About | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

About the Department

Quilted jacket, Miao, Puan, Guizhou Province, China, ca. 1925, from the collection of the Museum of International Folk Art.

For centuries, New Mexico has been a mecca where many and varied cultures have lived side by side, sharing and celebrating their cultural differences. The result — a lush, refreshing texture of styles and designs on the joyful business of living.

Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs represents New Mexico's dedication to preserving and celebrating the cultural integrity and diversity of our state. The Department oversees a broad range of New Mexico's arts and cultural heritage agencies. These include 15 divisions representing a variety of programs and services.

Among its primary functions is the management of the largest state sponsored museum system in the country. New Mexico's historic sites and state-run museums are located across the state and include:

Additional divisions of the Department support the unique cultural, historic, and artistic heritage of the state as well as the operations of the Department:

The Department is directed by the Secretary, who is appointed by the Governor. The agency has some 500 employees spread throughout its 15 divisions, with another 1,000 or so volunteers putting in more than 70,000 hours annually. The annual budget is approximately $45 million.

Each year, more than $2 million goes directly to New Mexico's cultural activities — individuals and organizations — in order to assist with funding arts and cultural programs. The Department's museums welcome nearly a million visitors each year. More than three million New Mexico residents and their out-of-state guests are served yearly by Cultural Affairs Department programs and services.