New Mexico Rural Heritage

The New Mexico Rural Heritage Oral History Project is a collaboration between anthropologists at New Mexico State University and the Oral History Program at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The goal of the project was to record the memories of New Mexicans who grew up in rural parts of the state in the first half of the twentieth century. This podcast brings together some of those stories.

The project was made possible in part by a grant from the New Mexico Humanities Council. Additional funding is provided by the Loomis Foundation and the Southwest and Border Cultures Institute at New Mexico State University.


Inquiries about the New Mexico Rural Heritage Oral History Project can be submitted to the project directors, Dr. Kelly Jenks ( and Dr. Mary Alice Scott ( Transcripts of the interviews will be made available through the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum as they are completed. For information about the museum’s Oral History Program, and to search through their existing collections, visit  

Even though most 20th century battles took place overseas, war always hits home—and it hit rural New Mexico hard.

In this episode, we learn about New Mexican’s experiences of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

17:05 min. 

For many people in the Southwest religion, spirituality, and healing are intertwined.

This episode features some of our favorite stories about religion, illness, injury, and the many different kinds of “home remedies.”

21:15 min.

Living in rural New Mexico in the early 1900s meant that you might not have much access to money or stores.

This episode explores what it meant to work, save, and “go shopping” in different parts of the state.

13:48 min.

We continue our journey into the Land of Enchantment by exploring one of the most essential parts of growing up in New Mexico in the early 20th century.

In this episode, we take a look at life on the farm.

20:39 min.

National Archives

Public education was challenging in a state as big and diverse as New Mexico.

This episode features stories about the everyday realities of rural education, including segregated schools, language barriers, and getting pulled out of school to work on the farm.

16:57 min.

Photograph provided by Billy Poindexter

In the early-to-mid 20th century, rural New Mexicans lacked most of the comforts many of us are accustomed to today.

In the first episode of this series, we feature some of our favorite stories about daily life.

27:22 min.