Casa San Ysidro Needs More Docents

The Albuquerque Museum is giving those who love history a chance to learn more and to share that knowledge with the community.

The museum is looking to train more volunteers for its Casa San Ysidro docent program in Corrales. Docents lead guided tours and share information about the artifacts found inside.

The eight-week training program starts Aug. 9, and the museum has started accepting applications.

Elizabeth Becker, curator of education for the museum, said there are 28 docents at the site.

“It would be nice to double that number,” she said.

Casa San Ysidro, an annex of the Albuquerque Museum, was built by the Gutiérrez family in the 1870s and includes a family chapel, a plaza and an enclosed corral. The reconstructed ranch-style adobe home was restored by Alan Minge and his wife, Shirley Jolly Minge..

The couple filled the home with Spanish Colonial artifacts, making it one of the most extensive collections in the United States. They donated the home and sold the artifacts to the museum in 1997.

The museum has a “Magic Bus” program that provides free transportation and entrance to fourth- through eighth-grade school groups. Becker said the docents are used for that program, which brings in about 80 tour groups a year.

“They walk students through and tell them what life might have been like in 19th-century New Mexico,” she said. “They see how life has changed and what is still around today.”

In 2002, the museum faced closure because of a tight Albuquerque city budget. The city and village of Corrales reached an agreement to share the costs of operating the museum.

Cathy Wright, museum director, said the city contributes about $120,000 a year and Corrales about $20,000. The museum sees more than 8,000 visitors a year, although it fell to 7,700 this year, she said. She said some school groups had to cancel tours during the cold weather.

The museum hosts three major events every year. Heritage Day in May, Corrales Harvest Festival in September and a holiday event in December.

Photo Credit – Journal file Cutline – A group of elementary students tours Casa San Ysidro in Corrales. The old ranch-style home is looking for more docents to help with tours.

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