Photo courtesy New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum / Facebook

New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum’s January Calendar

To kick off 2020, the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum has several events scheduled, including a special story about a World War I training camp that once housed 30,000 men near Deming.

The museum, located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces; for more information visit the museum’s website.

Culture Series: Camp Cody: A World War I Training Camp in Deming   |  Jan. 9, 7 p.m.

Author and historian Jim Eckles will talk about the surprising story of Camp Cody in Deming during World War I. Admission is free.

Just over a century ago World War I, the war to end all wars, ended with millions killed. As a military power, the United States was woefully unprepared for its role as the steamroller to break the stalemate in the bloody trenches of France. Immediately after declaring war on Germany, America had to raise and train a multi-million-man army.

One of the nation’s 32 training camps was established at Deming, a town of only 2,500 people at the time. The facility was dubbed Camp Cody and was erected in just a few months to house and train 30,000 men. The men, from farmers to factory workers, had to learn a new kind of fighting and mass killing – with machine guns and artillery. Then, a few months after armistice – poof – the camp, with its tents, wooden mess halls and large stables literally disappeared.

Obvious questions are: Why select little Deming to host a huge camp? What was it like in the camp living day-to-day for months in a tent? And how did Camp Cody affect Deming?

Jim Eckles is a local historian and retiree from White Sands Missile Range where he worked for 30 years. Camp Cody caught his attention when he was asked to lecture on the V-2 rocket and the Trinity Site atomic bomb test at a World War II roundtable in Minneapolis.

Before his talk, Eckles discovered organizers seemed more interested in what he knew about Camp Cody instead of the WWII technology. Subsequent research opened the door to an all-but-forgotten chapter in southern New Mexico’s World War I history. Who knew almost 30,000 men once lived just north of I-10 in Deming? This led to a book about the camp that Eckles will use for the basis of his talk.


Crafts for Kids

Jan. 11, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

In honor of National Milk Day we will be making a dairy cow craft. This activity is free with regular admission ($5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for children 4-17).


Reading Roundup

Jan. 12, 2 p.m.

Join us for Story Time in the Museum lobby. Children of all ages are welcome to listen and learn. This activity is free with regular admission ($5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for children 4-17). Children 3 and under are admitted free.

Basic Weaving Workshop

Jan. 15, 16, and 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Space is very limited in these workshops and a wait list is available for future classes. This three-day weaving workshop teaches students how to warp their looms on Wednesday and weave basic twill patterns Thursday and Friday.  First-time weavers are welcome.

The class is offered to adults and children 14 and over (accompanied by an adult). Class fee is $60 and pre-registration and payment required.  For more information contact LuAnn Kilday at 575-522-4100 or [email protected].

Antique Treasures Show

Jan. 25, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  |  Jan. 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Whether it’s learning how to best preserve a family heirloom, identifying an archaeological discovery,  or looking to find a special antique to purchase, the Museum’s annual Antique Treasures Show is a two-day celebration of all things old, unique, and precious.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for children 4 to 17. Veterans and active U.S. military members are admitted for $2 and children 3 and under are free.

The show is a mix of antique and collectible vendors from throughout the region, along with preservation and identification activities. Some of the vendors may also offer free unofficial, independent appraisals.

Visitors are invited to bring family heirlooms, artifacts, or objects from home to learn more about them and how to preserve them. Visitors can also play “Stump the Curator” by bringing in objects to see if the Museum’s curators – Director Mark Santiago, Chief Curator and Program Manager Lisa Pugh, former Chief Curator Toni Laumbach, or History Curator Leah Tookey – can identify them. Santiago will also have an antique gun presentation each day at 1 p.m.

Representatives from Fort Selden Historic Site, a sister agency to the Farm & Ranch Museum, will be at the show with some unusual objects to play “Identify It.”

The show also features demonstrations such as sewing, weaving, wool spinning and blacksmithing. Admission includes all of the regular Museum offerings.