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Restoration of San Esteban del Rey Mission Jim Ahrend May 9, 2013

Through November 30, 2010
Haak'u Museum


This exhibit explores the history and restoration of the San Esteban del Rey Mission (1629-1640)


HISTORY: Construction of the San Esteban del Rey Mission and Convento began in 1629 and continued through completion in 1640. The 21,000 square foot adobe mission complex represents an extraordinarily arduous construction process undertaken by the Acoma ancestors. Sole access to the mesa top was only by foot-hole paths until 1959. While the construction was overseen by resident Franciscan Friar Juan Ramirez, it was the Acoma people themselves who followed and implemented traditional building methods to ensure that this creation would withstand time and erosion caused by the natural elements. Clearly, the continued attachment of the Acomas to the structure and their dedication to its maintenance is an important part of the Acoma legacy. Others also recognize the significance of this massive structure and its contents for being, without doubt, the largest inventory of original material from its era in a still functioning building in the United States.


Both the Pueblo and San Esteban del Rey Mission are listed on the National Register of Historic Monuments. The mission has also been designated as a Save America’s Treasures site and one of 100 endangered sites by the World Monuments Fund as well as the 28th site and first Native American site in the U.S. to be named a National Trust for Historic Preservation site in 2007.

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