National Trust for Historic Preservation Names Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors a National Treasure
Restoration of 400-year-old Landmark Will Preserve and Enhance Showcase of New Mexico’s Storied History
Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, N.M., a National Treasure. Originally built in 1610, it is currently a part of the state history museum and a serves as reminder of the many milestones in New Mexico’s storied history.
The Palace is threatened by the lack of budget for capital improvements to address the deterioration of the structure. Since the last full renovation in the 1970s, the building requires many much-needed repairs and mechanical upgrades. Naming the Palace of the Governors as a National Treasure highlights the call to action for the state legislature and supporters to fund the site’s repairs so that it can continue to serve as the living embodiment of a history unique to the American Southwest.
“As one of the oldest, in-use public buildings in the United States, we cannot allow The Palace of the Governors to fall into disrepair,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This National Treasure deserves a future that will continue to tell the story of New Mexico’s past. We encourage investment in the Palace of the Governors now, before the cost of repairs increases any further and additional damage occurs.”
When restored, the Palace will serve as a model for investing in and reimagining state-owned historic sites. The techniques used for preserving the Palace through structural and mechanical upgrades will also be a model for similar adobe structures throughout the Southwest.
Currently owned and operated by the state of New Mexico, the Palace has been the state museum since 1909 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. A newer museum building was added adjacent to it in 2009. Located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, the Palace helps form a downtown plaza that attracts many tourists and locals alike. Native American jewelry and crafts are sold at a market beneath the Palace Portal on the historic Santa Fe Plaza throughout the year.
Veronica Gonzales, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, which has stewardship over the Palace of the Governors, said "We are deeply honored by the National Trust's prestigious designation and recognition of the Palace of the Governors as a National Treasure. This grand building has stood like a sentinel on the historic Santa Fe Plaza, bearing witness to the rich history of this great state, including 59 gubernatorial terms served under the Spanish crown, 17 under Mexican rule, 22 territorial governors before statehood, and for 106 years as New Mexico's very first museum."
The Palace has served a myriad of constituent audiences as a seat of government for Spain, Native American tribes, Mexico, the U.S. Territory, and even the Confederacy throughout New Mexico’s history. It is also emblematic of North America’s Hispanic roots, as it was erected by the first Spanish royal governor of New Mexico, Pedro de Peralta, at the very same time as Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.
Partners in the Palace of the Governors project include: New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Compadres del Palacio, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and Historic Santa Fe.
National Treasures are a portfolio of highly-significant historic places throughout the country where the National Trust makes a long-term commitment to finding a preservation solution. As the Presenting Partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $6.5 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these cultural and historic places.