Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Salmon Ruins - Museum & Heritage Park ~ New Mexico!

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     Salmon Ruins - Museum & Heritage Park ~ New Mexico!
     Visiting the native heritage sites of the Southwest is an educational experience that can provide insight into the way people lived in this region long before the Europeans landed on these shores in a quest for easy riches.  Living in harmony with the natural surroundings is the native way of life and this philosophy is expressed in the design of traditional native domiciles.  A great place to learn a little something about the many different domicile designs of the native people can be found at the Salmon Ruins - Museum & Heritage Park in northern New Mexico near the Colorado border.
     The Salmon Ruins - Museum & Heritage Park is located on U.S. Highway 64 in Bloomfield, New Mexico, which is about 50 miles south of Durango, Colorado.  Bloomfield is a nice old small town that offers modern amenities, so this ancient heritage site is not exactly way out in the middle of nowhere.  No special preparations are necessary and the roads are paved all the way up to the front door of the museum, so anybody can do the trip.  The only precaution is to pack some water, because the entire Salmon Ruins complex covers a lot of ground and there will be plenty of walking involved.
     When looking into touring the ancient pueblos of New Mexico, a search for the Salmon Ruins will usually turn up information about the ancient pueblo ruins on site, but little is mentioned about the Heritage Park.  The ancient ruins definitely take the limelight when researching this subject matter, because the remnants of the old buildings are so well preserved.  For those who dig a little deeper, the Heritage Park will be just as interesting.  This is the only heritage site that I know of which offers an opportunity to to visit a full scale outdoor museum complex and a well preserved ancient pueblo in the same place.
     The Salmon Ruins are remnants of the work of the ancient Chaco Culture.  The Chaco Culture built many great pueblo complexes in this region and the most famous are located in Chaco Canyon.  It is easy to get information about the Chaco Culture on the internet, but little is expressed about how truly advanced the ancestors were.  Archaeologists and scientists are just now discovering how some of the building designs align with celestial events.  In fact, for some of the building designs the modern thinkers cannot figure them out at all, so they rely on educated guesswork, which may be misleading.  The best way to research the ancient pueblo ruins topic matter is to visit these places in person and take a look for yourself.
     The Salmon Ruins Museum offers a wealth of information about the ancient pueblos of New Mexico, so this place is a great resource for starting a tour of the regional native heritage sites.  The museum houses many local artifacts and there is a gift shop that offers native crafts.  The museum also offers organized guided tours of the Salmon Ruins and many other ancient sites that are close by.  The guided tours even include a day trip to Chaco Canyon, which is a real good opportunity to learn far  more than just a little something.    
    From the museum building, visitors have to follow a steep downhill paved trail to the Heritage Park.  This paved trail can be a bit strenuous for those who have mobility challenges, so assistance may be necessary.  From the incline trail there are some good vantage points to get an overview of the Heritage Park.  Basically, the Heritage Park Trail is a loop that leads back to the starting point, so navigating this place is easy to do.
     The traditional domicile structures of many native cultures of this region are represented in the Heritage Park.  Wikeups, teepees, dugout huts, sweat houses and Apache style timber frame buildings are just some of what will be seen along the trail.  Each domicile exhibit has signage that explains the purpose of the building and the background of the culture associated with the design.  This Heritage Park is a hands on learning experience and guests can feel free to step inside each domicile.  In doing so, one will get gain some insight as well.  Some of the structures are designed to stay cool in the extreme heat of summer, while others are designed to shield habitants from the cold of winter.  Other structures in the collection have spiritual and communal purposes that are explained by the placards.
     Viewing the traditional native structures in person at the Salmon Ruins - Museum & Heritage Park will provide memories to ponder over for a lifetime.  This destination is a good educational experience for visitors of all ages and the museum offers guided ancient pueblo tours throughout the region, so with a little bit of planning even more can be learned.  The Salmon Ruins - Museum & Heritage Park is definitely worth checking out when planning a native cultural tour of the Southwest!