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‘Wider audience’: Museum of International Folk Art boosts online content, launches YouTube channel

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Pablo Rodarte, costume sketch, mid-1900s, that appeared in the exhibit “Flamenco: From Spain to New Mexico.” (Courtesy of Lili del Castillo and Luis Campos)

Inside the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, hundreds of items are on display.

With the museum’s doors closed for the past month, staff has been at work taking the beautiful exhibits online.

“We have nine online exhibitions, and those are a mix of different shows going back to the 1990s,” says Khristaan Villela, executive director. “There are a series of tours in the museum of the Alexander Girard wing. That’s a really great thing, and the museum is also working to continue to publish bilingual lesson plans.”


MOIFA has also launched a YouTube channel whose offerings range from short exhibition videos to Japanese ghost stories.

“This is all content we developed for other exhibitions,” he says.

Villela says educators at the museum have also started to record folk art, hands-on projects.

The videos are being edited and will be put online as well, he says.

MOIFA has also teamed up with the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to put together art kits.

These kits are given out to public school students at sites where food donations are being distributed.

“These are folk art-themed art kits,” he says. “Everyone is pulling together, and museums are always trying to increase their impact. Every museum has a number of people coming in. By putting part of the content online, it makes it accessible to a wider audience. People all over the world can look at our online content.”

Villela says the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs has pushed the state museums to find ways to connect with the public while they are closed.

All the museums have come up with content.

“We continue to think about who is looking at the content,” he says. “The obstacles now are thinking about how to safely produce content. Creating the new content has to be safe for our employees as well. We want to give people value with our content.”

With a stay-at-home order expected through May 15, the museum staff continues to plan for future exhibits.

“We don’t know what the timetables for those are,” he says. “The curators are running through a lot of different scenarios. We’re working on what that would look like. We may have to return some pieces on loan but keep exhibits up for longer.”


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