When the New Mexico Museum of Art opened in 1917 it was the first building in the state dedicated to art. Its galleries, reception areas and St. Francis auditorium were made by the people of New Mexico for the promotion of the state’s rich culture to visitors and locals alike. The architects Isaac Hamilton and William Morris Rapp designed the building as an enlarged and modified version of the building they made for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. The style of the building, called Pueblo Revival, uses modern construction materials made to look like the historic adobe churches found throughout the state’s Pueblos. Throughout its century long history, the museum has grown and redefined itself to adapt to changes in art and museum practices.
The current name, The New Mexico Museum of Art, was adopted in 2007 to reflect the breadth of New Mexico art. Its previous name, “The Museum of Fine Arts” had been adopted in 1962.