One of the hidden gems of Santa Fe is the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. Perched up on Museum Hill, but not part of the Museum of New Mexico system, this petite treasure house is a great museum visit when you just have a hour or so to fill. Museum admission is by donation, so even impoverished art lovers can easily enjoy it for whatever they can afford.

And the show up right now is definitely worth some time and some money. Through January 2010, you can feast your eyes on a wonderful exhibition entitled Through Their Eyes: Paintings from the Santa Fe Indian School. If you’ve only known Allan Houser as a sculptor, his mastery of a paintbrush will deepen your appreciation of his talent. Pop Chalee is represented here, along with Andrew Tsihnahjinnie, Pablita Velarde and other familiar names.

And when I visit the Wheelwright, I always make a stop at the Case Trading Post on the lowest floor of the museum. It has the squeakiest floors in Santa Fe and also one of the sharpest gift shop buyers. I usually sigh longingly over the pawn jewelry, but I am contented with my $40 watercolor by Hopi artist, Peter Sumatzkuku – what a deal for original art!

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