Copyright May 1, 2024  San Juan County Museum Association at Salmon Ruins Museum. All rights reserved.


You bring the adventurous spirit,
we'll supply the archaeology!

Mata Ortiz Pottery

The rock art exhibit was created with the assistance of long-time researchers David Casey of Aztec and Ken Russell of Farmington, who provided the exceptional photographs of some unique and hard-to-reach panels in the local area.  Our Journey Into the Past tours are able to visit these and other locations, as long as the participants are able to do some long hikes and boulder climbing!

This world-famous photographer flies an ultralight airplane over archaeology in the southwest and captures views of sites that no one has ever seen or had an opportunity to capture in the past!  These amazing large-scale photos have to be seen in person to be believed!

Rock Art Exhibit

Modern Mata Ortiz Pottery is made by the descendants of Paquime and the wider Casas Grandes culture in Chihuahua, Mexico.  The tradition was revived in the 1960s and many artists use the prehistoric artifacts as direct inspiration for their modern creations.  Pieces are for sale in our gift shop all year round, and we have a special event with the main educator and vendor, Oralia Lopez, September 27 and 28, 2024 here at the museum.

While the specific artifacts and the interpretations that we've learned from studying the artifacts change from time to time, there will always be a selection of items on display that were actually found during the excavations of Salmon Ruins between 1970 and 1978.  Being able to see these items is the only way that people can imagine what life was like for people who lived in this and other villages in the Southwest between the A.D. 700s and 1300s.  It is essential for the development of understanding and relationships that visitors can see the similarities of modern life to ancient life.  The ability to relate and accurately understand differences is what creates respect.  We have worked closely with members from different tribal groups, some who consider themselves modern descendants of the people who lived here 1000 years ago, to ensure that the educational displays are as accurate and realistic as possible, and that no burial items are on display.  Salmon Ruins is one of the only institutions in the entire country that has completed its NAGPRA obligations and successfully repatriated all items of concern with the full approval and participation of multiple modern day Pueblo groups.

Current Displays

Adriel Heisey Photographs

Permanant Exhibits

Visit us to see new displays showcasing the important research of the area and unique qualities of San Juan County that even many residents don't know about!