Information on:

Wheelwright Museum Of The American Indian

704 Camino Lejo

About Us:
The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian was founded in 1937 by Mary Cabot Wheelwright. Born into a wealthy Boston family, Wheelwright traveled widely and had a lifelong interest in the study of religions. Her collaborator in the establishment of the museum was Hastiin Klah, an esteemed and influential Navajo singer, or “medicine man.” Klah was born in 1867, when most of Navajo people were held as prisoners of war by the United States government.

Wheelwright and Klah were introduced in 1921 by Arthur and Frances Newcomb, who lived on the Navajo reservation, operating a trading post near Klah’s home, about 50 miles north of Gallup, New Mexico. By 1921 Klah had witnessed decades of relentless efforts by the United States government and by missionaries to assimilate the Navajo people into mainstream society. Children were removed from their homes and placed in boarding schools, where they were punished for speaking their language and forced to adopt Christianity. To Klah, the future of traditional Navajo religious practice appeared bleak, and the opportunity to collaborate with a sympathetic outsider such as Wheelwright was appealing.


Eric Salas

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Labeled as New Mexico’s oldest non-profit, independent museum, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe is small but houses a variety of contemporary and historic Native American art. It has huge gallery of antique jewelry and ceramics, with each piece identified by the tribe. There is a museum shop, the Case Trading Post, at the basement. While the shop has a great selection of vintage pieces, I thought they are all pricey. Imagine a necklace for $80! If you have at least an hour to spare while you are in Santa Fe, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is worth seeing.

Nilima Rajkumar

Friday, April 13, 2018
Beautiful collection of native American made jewellery. The docent was so knowledgeable and informative. Loved the shop too - very helpful staff.

Mark Schonwetter

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Interesting collection begun many years ago by Mrs Wheelright. Extensive gift shop. Parking lot has no fee.

Kandice Seum

Friday, Aug. 25, 2017
I highly recommend stopping by here. It's not really big, so if you don't have a lot of time to sight see it is a great spot. Beautiful old and new Native American apparel, jewelry, and art are on display. The trading post/gift shop downstairs is cute and has a good selection of jewelry, rugs, and books for sale. My toddler enjoyed it, but he's quiet and curious. I don't recommend it for young children in general. There are no displays geared toward kids. I think regular admission is $14.00 per person. We got in free because we're Native, but fellow New Mexicans enter at half price. Free admission every first Sunday of each month.

GailandDavid FifthSeason

Monday, May 28, 2018
Offers the history of jewelry making by native Americans with many fine examples.

Wheelwright Museum Of The American Indian is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media