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NMHU renews Jemez Historic Site

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

Old Wood Flooring carves floor for Jemez Historic Site remodel.

Fifteen media arts students in New Mexico Highlands University’s one-of-a-kind Program for Interactive Cultural Technology redesigned the Jemez Historic Site visitor center with immersive media for an in-depth look at the region’s cultural history.

The students created floor-to-ceiling video projections of historic images and oral histories; developed exhibit panels; chose a new color palette for the site; designed a new trail guide and an activity book; added two interactive touch-screen computer tablets that focus on artifacts and a Jemez event called “Light Among the Ruins;” redesigned two bathrooms highlighting the Jemez night sky and the volcanic features in the nearby Valles Caldera Wilderness Preserve.

They also installed an engraved wood floor featuring a map of the site drawn by the site staff, who are all Jemez tribal members. The Las Vegas company Old Wood carved the floor.

Floor by Old Wood LLC. for Jemez Historic Site
Floor by Old Wood LLC. for Jemez Historic Site

“The most important part of the project was to give the Jemez community permanent new exhibits that will forever honor the history of the Jemez Pueblo,” Sharp said. “We want visitors to the site to experience the beautiful culture and community in Jemez while also recognizing the hardship and struggles they have endured.”

“The media arts students took a dated and static exhibit from the 1970s and transformed it into a stunning dynamic experience,” said Ethan Ortega, instructional coordinator and supervisory archaeologist at the site.

Ortega said the historic village of Giusewa was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of Jemez, or Walatowa, Pueblo. The name Giusewa refers to the natural springs in the area. The site is also considered a National Historic Landmark.

Highlands media arts and technology student Adriana Warwell, left, discusses the projection panel design with professor Mariah Fox Hausman during the installation for the Jemez Historic Site visitor center redesign. (Source: RICK LOFFREDO/NMHU)


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