Day Trips: Hobbs museum offers trip back in time

Compiled by William Thompson: Freedom Newspapers

A trip to the Western Heritage and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame(both in the same building) in Hobbs offers visitors a taste of New Mexico life during the pioneer days and life in New Mexico before New Mexico was even a state.

According to museum employee Nancy Powell, the museum currently has exhibits on Native American history of eastern New Mexico and rancher and farmer history There is also information on the area’s oil basin. The cowboy hall of fame has information on famous Lea County cowboys of the past.

There is also a special Smithsonian Institute exhibit called “Between Fences.” which runs through March 31.

“‘Between Fences’ is an exhibit on the history of fences in the U.S.,” Powell said. “It has interactive portions for kids. It doesn’t sound so interesting, but it really is. You see how Americans began fencing off more and more property over time. You see how the Native Americans didn’t put up fences but used land features like mountains as natural fences. The exhibit also contains 60 black and white photos taken by Hobbs schoolchildren.”

Artifacts on display in the Western Heritage Museum include vintage saddles and a large chuckwagon that a pioneer family rode on their initial journey to New Mexico.

Take N.M. 206 (Avenue C) south out of Portales. Continue to the U.S. 82 west ramp towards Lovington. Follow N.M. 18 south into Hobbs. Take a right on Gerry Road and you’ll be less than a stone’s throw away from the museum. Two hours and forty-five minutes is the approximate one-way driving time. Powell said one can easily spend an hour or so perusing the exhibits.

The museum is practically brand new. It was opened in January.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors. Children six to 18 pay $2. Children five and under get in free. If there is any money left over, a casino is nearby.