From the Craft

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Kit Carson Home & Museum Update

Annual Update on the Kit Carson Home and Museum, Taos, NM - 2012

            It is my pleasure to report on our progress at the Kit Carson Home and Museum (KCHM) during 2012.

            With the help of a $5,000 donation from Director Dee Dee Miller, we transformed the inner courtyard from a barren yard to a showcase of nineteenth century plants and structures. The improvements were designed and installed by Brother Wayne Rutherford and Melissa Serfling and included a new horno and a ramada, as well as numerous flowers and native plants period-appropriate to the time of Kit Carson. Los Jardineros Garden Club of Taos has awarded the KCHM a grant of $1,300 for additional courtyard beautification in 2013.

            In the spring of this year, Oregon Public Broadcasting shot scenes for an episode of “History Detectives” at the museum. The detectives were examining a first edition of Carson’s biography to determine if it belonged to the Carson family. The show is scheduled to air on PBS sometime in April.

             We are very grateful for two fine period chairs donated to the museum by Chapman Lodge #2 AF&AM of Las Vegas and now on display in the living room of the house. A fine buffalo hide was donated through RWB Jeff Jordan.

             Our annual lecture series featured a variety of scholars and performers, including authors and writers David Remley and Stephen Zimmer and Taos’ own Roberta Meyers. For next year, we have received a tentative commitment from Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder, which has been optioned for either a movie or a TV series. We have applied to the McCune Foundation for funds to present a more ambitious series.

Kit Carson's Calvary Sabre

             The most dramatic achievement occurred in early August. The museum discovered that some artifacts belonging to Kit Carson were going to be auctioned in Santa Fe. When a group of longtime Taosenos heard about it, they mobilized and within a week, had pledged $17,000 to keep some of the artifacts in Taos. Bidding against national and international bidders who were there in person, on the phone and on the internet, we were able to buy the saber/scabbard and branding irons belonging to Carson, as well as a sewing basket belonging to Josefa Carson.

             Finally, last but by no means least, we began the KCHM Endowment Fund through the Taos Community Foundation, which will manage and invest the Fund. Our plan is to increase the endowment each year until it becomes a significant source of income, ensuring the future of the museum. 

            Our annual donation drive is underway and we hope that NM Masons will give generously to this important historic attraction which draws over 22,000 visitors a year. Donors may designate their contributions to one of four funds: the General Fund; an Acquisition Fund (for purchase of more artifacts; an Educational fund; and the Endowment Fund. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit so donations are tax-deductable. They can be sent to Kit Carson Home and Museum, 113 Kit Carson Rd, Taos, NM 87571. 

 We welcome all Brothers visiting the area to stop by and visit the museum.

 Martin Jagers

President, KCHM Board of Directors

PM Bent Lodge #42 AF&AM