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The Border Archives Bazaar is a “fun and educational event that brings visitors face to face with fascinating historical materials from the border region, the Border Regional Archives Group (BRAG) said in a news release.
The event will include “rare documents, photographs, maps, publications and more, that highlight the unique history and cultural heritage of our region,” said BRAG, which organized the bazaar.
The sixth annual bazaar will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road. There is no charge to attend.
BRAG is “an informal organization made up of people who work with archival materials in southern New Mexico, west Texas and northern Chihuahua,” said BRAG member Dennis Daily, head of the Archives and Special Collections Department at New Mexico State University. “We operate to support one another, to bring greater awareness of archives and history to the community and ultimately to ensure that we are better able to serve researchers on their quest for information about our cultural heritage,” Daily said.
The theme of this year’s bazaar is “Puentes al Pasado” (Bridges to the Past), which BRAG said highlights the role archives play as bridges from the present to the past.
“The event brings together resources from more than a dozen libraries, archives and museums of the southern New Mexico, west Texas and the borderlands,” BRAG said. “Participating institutions include NMSU Library Archives and Special Collections, El Paso Public Library Border Heritage Center, El Paso County Historical Society, New Mexico Museum of Space History, Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office, UTEP Centennial Museum, UTEP Library C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections, Chamizal National Memorial and Sul Ross State University Archives of the Big Bend and Eastern New Mexico University Special Collections, among others.
“The bazaar highlights the role that archives play in preserving and promoting our cultural heritage,” BRAG said. “Archivists, librarians and museum curators will be on hand to discuss and answer questions about archives, regional history, and preservation of original documents.”
“We’ve always had a great time participating in these Border Archives Bazaars,” Daily said. “Because it’s free and open to the public, we’ve had really good attendance in the past. We get to meet with a lot of folks from our region, mostly the greater Las Cruces/El Paso area, who have a passion for the history and cultural heritage of the border region. Anyone interested in history, and who likes to see old, original historical documents, will love this event.
“Folks can wander from table to table, seeing what historical treasures are held in the many archives of the border region,” Daily said. “We expect to have 15-20 institutions represented – that’s going to be a huge variety of original historical documents, photographs, maps, books and ephemera.
“Archives of historical documents are held by many types of institutions in our region – universities, public libraries, museums, historical societies, government agencies and the like,” Daily said. “All these types of archives will be represented at the bazaar.”
“We at the Border Heritage Center of the El Paso Public Library (EPPL) love participating in the archives bazaar, as it allows us to meet and inform the public of all we have to offer and quite plainly, let them know we exist! said EPPL Library Archivist Claudia M. Ramirez. “The bazaar is a great opportunity to discover new organizations and new archival materials.
“The event is really neat because it allows people to interact with a variety of historical materials they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to,” Ramirez said. “Rare books, unique artifacts, one-of-a-kind correspondence and documents, and historic photographs will all be on display and available for review. The wonder and awe people express when they’ve run across something at a table that peaks their interest or brings back a memory is wonderful to see.
“The bazaar also provides direct access to the staff who works with all this archival material, so if you have a question about the work we do in organizing and preserving this material, about the other collections our institutions hold, or if you’d like to chat about historic documents or artifacts you, yourself may have, please feel free to come on by and ask away! It’s the perfect opportunity to meet the folks responsible for our region’s history,” Ramirez said.
The event also includes short talks about regional history by noted borderlands historians, including New Mexico State Records Administrator Rick Hendricks, Ph.D.; NMSU Department of History professor Jamie Bronstein, Ph.D.; and NMSU film professor Julia Smith, Ph.D.
Historic film footage from the region will be shown in the museum’s theater during the event.