During our first week in Professor Adam Herring’s course studying Art and Architecture of Hispanic New Mexico, we received an introduction to the historical monuments in and around Taos.

Our class visited the Taos Pueblo, the Martinez Hacienda from the Spanish Colonial period, the Millicent Rogers Museum, and the well-known Ranchos de Taos Church. My favorite was the vast collection of Native American jewelery at Millicent Rogers. Most girls will surely agree with this! The silversmith work and rare turquoise sold me immediately.

This week, we embarked on a unique, labor-intensive adventure. We’re lending a hand (and shovel) in restoring the adobe-constructed Catholic church of San Jose de Gracia in Las Trampas, New Mexico. This small community lacks able-bodied residents to complete the labor that adobe re-mudding requires, and our class is pleased to take part in this experience.

Through the Cornerstones Community Partnerships Organization and Professor Herring’s determination, the church invited our group to study the ancient building material in a hands-on manner.

The fact that we have this opportunity is amazing and rather unusual. Small communities, such as Las Trampas, are often hesitant to open their doors to outsiders, particularly into their prided historical sites. The village of Las Trampas was established in 1751, and the San Jose de Gracia Church was constructed in 1760 by 12 families who relocated from Santa Fe.