Taos Pueblo Restoration

Settled at the foothills of the largest peaks in New Mexico, the legendary Taos Pueblo is a massive complex inhabited by over 1,000 tribal members who live in structures dating from many hundreds of years ago to the present. Not all members live in the stacked Pueblo - many live away from the main structures on the tribal lands. This expansion beyond the traditional boundaries of inhabited space has made the restoration of the ancient structures particularly important, as buildings respond to lack of use by decomposing back to the earth from which they came.  

Pueblo leaders decided to try something different. Instead of sending the energy outwards – distributing money and training opportunities off the reservation - the Pueblo government came up with a comprehensive preservation strategy that was forward-reaching and would also respond to the immediate needs of the Taos Pueblo people. With their plan, they could not only save the historic structures, but also create jobs, institute permanent tribal preservation standards, build a sustainable long-term program to train tribal members in historic preservation, as well as educate the public about the preservation of their evolving culture. 
A restoration plan was developed and funding sought and attained through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  At their groundbreaking ceremony in April 2010, Taos Pueblo’s Tribal Preservation Program moved from vision to reality, as the first phase of a multi-year preservation project began to take shape, with the construction of a preservation trades training facility at the Pueblo’s Red Willow Center and the selection of an on-site demonstration facility just next to the Church of San Jerome. With these spaces as home base, a group of 8 tribal members will be the first to apprentice in the restoration of the youngest 500 year old sections of the Pueblo, training in techniques to save the buildings from deterioration… which they can pass on to future generations.

With demonstration facilities just off the main path of visitor access, the public can witness the process of restoration unfold and enjoy an unprecedented opportunity to learn about tribal culture as well as preservation techniques.

Old photos of Taos Pueblo illustrate the ways that the Pueblo has been modified to respond to its environment over time. Luckily, thanks to a powerful infusion of determination and diligence, this living monument to the history and culture of the Taos Pueblo people is going to be around for many more generations.  

Taos Pueblo has been recognized by UNESCO as one of America’s 20 World Heritage Sites and is also a Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Taos Pueblo is open Monday - Saturday 8:00am-4:00pm and Sunday 8:30am-4:00pm, except during ceremonial periods. Contact the Taos Pueblo Tourism Department  at  tourism@taospueblo.com  or  575-758-1028 to confirm that the Pueblo will be open when you want to visit.