In 1956, the Millicent Rogers family founded the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico. Initially the artworks were from the multi-cultural collections of Millicent Rogers and her mother, Mary B. Rogers, who donated many of the first pieces of Taos Pueblo art. In the 1980s, the museum was the first cultural organization in New Mexico to offer a comprehensive collection of Hispanic art.
The museum houses a large collection of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo-American art, with a specific emphasis on northern New Mexico and Taos, New Mexico pieces.
The collection includes:
- pottery, including prehistoric and modern ceramics from the region and a unique collection of pottery by Maria Martinez.
- photography and graphics.
- arts and crafts.
- traditional and contemporary Hispanic religious and domestic arts, including furniture and textiles.
- Zuni and Hopi kachina figures.
In addition to the work that Rogers did for Native American rights, she also campaigned and leveraged her social connections mid-20th century to have Native American art classified as "historic", which provided both protection and status.The museum collection includes baskets and pottery, both of which have been created and used by Native Americans for about 2,000 years.
In an effort to increase understanding of Native American art in the 20th century, the collection includes works from Taos Pueblo painters and potterers, examples of ancient micaceous clay pottery and a large collection of works from 7th and 8th grade children, Oo-oonah, from 1968-1972.
Paintings by Pueblo artists Albert Looking Elk (Martinez), Albert Lujan, Juan Mirabal, Juanito Concha, and the works of other Pueblo artists are included in the Museum's collection. Many of the works on paper portrayed the daily lives of Southwest Pueblo peoples.
Zuni and Hopi kachinas:
Zuni and Hopi kachina figures, representations of spiritual beings, are part of the museum's collection. Zuni kachinas are believed to live in remote northeastern Arizona and bring life by giving rain and additional support, such as promote success for hunters and farmers, combat depletion of fur-bearing animals over the 19th and 20th centuries, or influence peoples' prosperity or well-being.
The collection contains traditional and contemporary Hispanic religious and domestic arts, including furniture and textiles.Santos, developed in the late 17th century, are religious icons painted on a flat board (retablos) or carved out of wood (bultos).Tinware, likely introduced from Mexico and Spain
, was used for religious adornments and household objects, such as sconces and mirrors and became increasingly popular in mid-19th century.
With a need to be self-sufficient, many Hispanic people woodworking, weaving, tinsmith, farming and leather work skills to create the furniture and furnishings for their homes. The Museum's holdings include examples of such craftsmanship.
The Museum Store offers multicultural artwork of leading local artists', including jewelry, ceramics, textiles, woodwork, graphics and photography. It also sells a large selection of books with subjects such as the arts, architecture, literature and cultures of southwestern United States