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By Craig Massey
For the Las Cruces Bulletin
Experience the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum at night as you time travel back in New Mexico history to meet historical ghosts during two exciting nights at the 11th-annual Ghosts of the Past event.
The popular living history tours are 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23-24, with new characters this year. The tours offer a unique living history experience that transports visitors of all ages to a variety of eras in New Mexico history. Various historical characters interact with visitors on indoor and outdoor tours.
“Ghosts of the Past transforms the museum into an amusement park for historical imaginations,” said Scott Green, the museum’s curator of education. “This is an amazingly textured event which utilizes living history to present New Mexico’s past in a fun and imaginative way.”
The start times for the indoor “ghost hunting” tours are: 6, 6:20, 6:40, 7, 7:20 and 7:40 p.m. The start times for the outdoor “time travel” tours are: 6:10, 6:30, 6:50, 7:10, 7:30 and 7:50 p.m. Each tour lasts about one hour and 15 minutes.
Tickets must be purchased for a specific tour. Advance tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children and can be purchased at the museum. Tickets purchased on the evenings of the event are $6 and $3. Tours are limited and fill up fast, so advance tickets are highly recommended for this popular event. Some combo tickets (indoor and outdoor) are available.
“Living history is unparalleled in its ability to immerse participants in the emotions of history,” Green said. “Encountering a well-researched and well-performed historical character is unforgettable.”
On the Indoor Ghost Hunting Tour, visitors will meet characters who have drifted in from some of New Mexico’s historic sites and structures.
Visiting characters include:
• Governor Lew Wallace from the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe
• Elizabeth Garrett from the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Alamogordo
• A saloon girl and a desperado from the Buckhorn Saloon & Opera House in Piños Altos
• Huston Chapman, a gunneddown lawyer from Lincoln
• Henri Lambert, a chef from the St. James Hotel in Cimarron • Dr. J.J. Schuler, a doctor from the Schuler Theater in Raton
• Ruth Eisenberg, the “Volcano Lady,” from Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque On the Outdoor Time Travel Tour, a “licensed time jumper” will lead visitors to different moments in New Mexico history as you explore time portals that have sprung up around the Museum grounds. The people you encounter will assume you are from their time (albeit a bit strangely dressed). The theme for the outdoor tour is World War II, which ended 70 years ago.
We will visit a rural New Mexico homestead on Dec. 7, 1941, where a young family first hears about the attack on Pearl Harbor.
• We’ll jump to the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines in 1942, and listen to a nurse and two soldiers discuss their time in the Pacific Theatre.
• We’ll step into a war bonds rally in Albuquerque in 1942 as war correspondent Ernie Pyle, a female factory worker, and an injured war veteran enlist aid for the war effort.
• Another time portal will take us to Lordsburg in 1943 where a farmer is employing POW workers.
• We’ll go to a community center in 1943 and help the townspeople assemble packages to mail to soldiers serving overseas.
• We will visit with a family matriarch in Chamberino in 1944.
• A time portal will take us to Los Alamos in 1944 as a scientist welcomes new arrivals to the Secret City.
For more information, please call 522-4100.