Downtown Navajo museum has new signage in place

Eye-catching graphic displays placed in two of facility's windows

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
The new signage at the Museum of Navajo Art & Culture in downtown Farmington went up earlier this week.
  • The museum has been without permanent signage since it opened in June 2018.
  • Farmington Museum director Bart Wilsey envisions additional visual elements going up on the building's east side.
  • Wilsey hopes the signs will drive additional traffic to the museum.

FARMINGTON — It's taken a while, but the Museum of Navajo Art and Culture in downtown Farmington finally has its signage in place.

The museum, which is a satellite operation of the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, opened in June 2018. Since that time, its presence at 301 W. Main St. has been marked on the outside only by small, temporary signs while work on the permanent signs continued, making it difficult for some visitors to find it.

That changed earlier in the week when the new signage and some eye-catching window graphics were installed. The museum now has a large, lighted sign that hangs over Main Street, as well as smaller signs over the entrance and one of the windows.

In addition, large, vinyl, translucent graphic displays have been placed in two of the museum's windows fronting Main Street. The collage-like displays are a mix of color and black-and-white images portraying Navajo artwork and historical scenes.

A new graphic display fills one of the windows fronting West Main Street at the Museum of Navajo Art and Culture in downtown Farmington.

Farmington Museum director Bart Wilsey said he had hoped to have the signage and graphics up long ago, but it took a while for museum officials to settle on a logo for the facility. Now that they're in place, he's very pleased with the results, noting their presence already has inspired talk of additional visuals for the museum's exterior.

"I think they look fabulous," he said. "Now, we're talking about doing a mural or some kind of graphics on the east-side wall and maybe even in that alley (behind the building)."

A new lighted sign hangs above the Museum of Navajo Art and Culture in downtown Farmington.

The signs were created by RAM Studio Signs, while the graphics were designed by Creative Geckos. Wilsey said the signs cost approximately $3,000, while the graphics were a little more expensive. He believes their presence will drive additional traffic to the museum, perhaps as soon as this weekend, when the 31st annual Totah Festival takes place just a few blocks away at the Farmington Civic Center.

"People are going to be able to recognize it so much easier now," he said.

A new sign above the entrance greets visitors to the Museum of Navajo Art and Culture in downtown Farmington.

The building in which the museum resides was donated to the city in 2013 by the late Bob Culpepper. City officials have renovated only a portion of it so far, a total of 3,000 square feet that includes two galleries and two restrooms, leaving plenty of room for growth.

Weavings from the Farmington Museum's permanent collection have been on display there since it opened, but Wilsey said a new group of items will be exhibited soon, as Culpepper's estate recently donated 450 weavings to the museum. He expects the new set of rugs to go up before December.

Wilsey hopes to see the museum's new look and the new weavings generate some excitement in the downtown district, which is due for a facelift itself later this year as part of the Complete Streets project.

"I think it'll be a cornerstone to downtown, especially if we can get the rest of the storefronts renovated into gallery space and showcase these cultures," he said.

Wilsey cited Navajo art and culture as a tourism draw, explaining that the Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau recently received an email from a woman who lives in the United Kingdom inquiring about the possibility of her registering for one of the Farmington Museum's periodic moccasin-making classes.

A colorful, eye-catching graphic display in one of the windows at the Museum of Navajo Art and Culture is topped by a lighted sign.

"There's interest out there," he said. "For people coming through the Southwest, this is the kind of thing they seek out. We want to be the kind of institution they put on their calendar to come see."

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or via email at measterling@daily-times.com.