'History in real time': Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum exhibit showcases modern-day women in agriculture - Albuquerque Journal

‘History in real time’: Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum exhibit showcases modern-day women in agriculture

Illustration by Cathryn Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal

Farm and ranch life is fruitful but difficult.

New Mexico’s agricultural footprint spans centuries.

Felicia Thal with one of her prize Hereford bulls. Thal is being spotlighted in the new exhibit, “Her Land: Women in Agriculture.” (Courtesy of New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum)

The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces has created an exhibit that honors the women in agriculture called “Her Land: Women in Agriculture.”

“We’re going to feature a woman every four months,” says Craig Massey, museum spokesman. “We’ve been talking a lot about this with our staff on how we can go better and recognize women in the field who are making a difference.”

The Thal Ranch entrance just north of Las Vegas, New Mexico. (Courtesy of New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum)

Massey says the interactive museum, which has welcomed visitors from all over the world, brings to life the 4,000-year history of farming and ranching in New Mexico. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national honor for museums.

The main building contains more than 24,000 square feet of exhibit space.

The first person featured in the exhibit is Felicia Thal, a longtime rancher in northeastern New Mexico who died in 2020 at age 92.

Thal was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1928.

Her adventures led her and her husband, Alan, to New York, Minnesota, Detroit, Kansas City, and eventually New Mexico, in 1972.

The Thals decided to make cattle ranching a priority and fell in love with the northeastern part of the state and bought a ranch north of Las Vegas.

Thal was a woman of varied interests and many talents. She began to focus on raising cattle and quickly became one of the state’s leaders in the industry.

Felicia Thal on the beach in South Africa in 1946. (Courtesy of New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum)

While living on the ranch in the Mora Valley, she took a leadership role in several organizations, including the Cattle Growers Association, where she executed a succes sful healthy-beef campaign. She helped develop the New Mexico Beef Council and was the first woman to be chosen as Cattleman of the Year.

Felicia Thal and her husband, Dr. Alan Thal. (Courtesy of New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum)

Massey says Thal was an early supporter and founding member of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

“She fought hard to make the dream of a museum that celebrates agriculture in New Mexico, a reality,” Massey says.

Massey says that in 2017, 41% of producers in New Mexico were female. He says it’s not just farmers or ranchers who are featured in the coming exh An emphasis is being placed on contemporary leaders and those who represent the future.

“Museums typically focus on the stories of our ancestors and their incredible accomplishments,” says Heather A. Reed, museum executive director. “We often forget to look around to see that history is unfolding right in front of us within our communities and our state. ‘Her Land’ spotlights the amazing feats and contributions of modern-day women and showcases the young women working on the future of agriculture. This ongoing project will rotate every few months and will allow us to record history in real time for generations to come.”


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Way Out West Film Fest features 88 movies with ...
Entertainment
Twenty-two feature-length films.Sixty-six short films shown ... Twenty-two feature-length films.Sixty-six short films shown in 10 shorts programs. ...
2
'A sense of pride': Film festival aims to give ...
Entertainment
When he was growing up Chinese ... When he was growing up Chinese American, most of the films Paul Jew would watch presented stereotypi ...
3
NM film industry braces for Monday strike
ABQnews Seeker
Governor backs union members, hopes for ... Governor backs union members, hopes for 'productive dialogue'
4
In the pink: Three breweries host virtual 5K to ...
Albuquerque News
Three local breweries are teaming up ... Three local breweries are teaming up to help women battling breast cancer with their Dash & Drin ...
5
'Incredible machine': Ben Mehl thrilled to join cast for ...
Entertainment
Ben Mehl didn't know much about ... Ben Mehl didn't know much about the TV series "You" before he auditioned for the third season. ...
6
Fruitful reunion: Former classmates at Santa Fe University of ...
Entertainment
It's been nearly 20 years since ... It's been nearly 20 years since Sam Quinn and Connor McLean met as theater students at the Santa Fe ...
7
Just for laughs: Albuquerque Funny Fiesta features local and ...
Albuquerque News
Albuquerque's comedy scene is full of ... Albuquerque's comedy scene is full of talent.For the second year, Albuquerque Funny Fi ...
8
Humans vs. nature: 'Thunder Rises' explores conflict between wilderness ...
Blogs
Evan Curtis began filming the stop-motion ... Evan Curtis began filming the stop-motion animated film "Thunder Rises" in fall 2019.H ...
9
'A good space to be in': Singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster ...
Entertainment
It's a chilly day in Portland, ... It's a chilly day in Portland, Oregon, and Jonathan Foster is taking part of the day for himself.

10
Street smarts: Thai Street eatery offers tasty, spicy Southeast ...
Dining Reviews
As restaurateurs go, Michelle Waterson ... As restaurateurs go, Michelle Waterson and Joshua Gomez have unorthodox backgrounds.< ...