Luther Bean Museum

Luther Bean Museum Mission Statement:

"In partnership with the university and valley communities, the Luther Bean Museum seeks to preserve, enhance, and promote the study of the diverse culture and history of the San Luis Valley and Adams State."

Donors demonstrate support

ken salazar speaks to a gathering of people in the museum the mural is visible in the background

Ken Salazar addresses friends and family.

The Luther Bean Museum and Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center hosted a fundraiser on July 15, 2017, attended by 63 people. The event included a welcome by President Beverlee J. McClure, and comments by Secretary Ken Salazar, who urged participants to support the university and museum.

According to Tammy Lopez, executive director of the Adams State Foundation, the fundraiser generated $1,000 in "Adopt an Artifact" pledges and $2,695 from the silent auction, and garnered four new Luther Bean Museum memberships.

geronimo olivas stands behind a podium holding a retablo with a saint painted on the front

Master Santero Geronimo Olivas '93 lectures on the creation of retablos and santos at the July 15 fundraiser.

The evening included opportunities for patrons to "adopt" an artifact, bid on silent auction items, and purchase museum memberships. Silent auction items included a San Isidro Labrador Santo made and donated by Geronimo Olivas; a watercolor painted and donated by Stephen Quiller; a ceramic pot created and donated by Cloyde Snook; and two ceramic vessels created by Sister Mary Lavey and donated by Suzy Husmann.

Visit Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center for more information. 

Luther Bean Museum Collection

William Moyers bronze and Head display case

Above the front entrance hangs a mural, painted by Noel Tucker in 1937,  depicting the legend of the naming of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. The museum's permanent collections represent largely regional and local arts and historical objects. Displays include Native American pottery,  items featuring former Colorado Governor and Adams State University's founder William H. "Billy" Adams, and Major Lafayette Head, Colorado's first lieutenant governor, U.S. Indian agent, and early settler of Conejos County.

sculptures and paintings by william moyers

The back galleries feature paintings and works on paper by Stephen Quiller, Woody Crumbo and William Moyers; bronzes by William Moyers (1939 ASU Alumnus); a bronze by Allan Houser; and a small oil painting by Joseph Henry Sharp. 

furniture from Woodard collection

Beryl and Charles Woodard

Patrons of Adams State, Beryl and Charles Woodard donated furniture, porcelain, decorative arts, and Asian ivory and stone carvings from their estate that have enriched and broadened the collections.


Mezzanine Level Displays

The upper level of the museum includes more Native American pottery from the southwest region, as well as baskets, a dance bustle and a headdress. Below are other displays.

two display cases with santos and retablos from region mostly dating from 19 century

Retablos and Bultos

The upper level of the museum includes a collection of retablos and bultos from the northern Rio Grande region.

display case featuring a earth-toned weaving by eppie archuleta as well as a small table loom

Dr. Epifania “Eppie” Archuleta

Eppie Archuleta, master weaver, wove traditional Rio Grande, Navajo, and Chimayo designs but also enjoyed creating her own designs, including pictorials.

three displays side by side with san juan pottery and zia pottery

San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and Zia Pueblo

Pictured, from left, San Juan / Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, potters from the 1930 San Juan Pottery Revival, and two pots from the Zia Pueblo