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history of the museum

Since 1919, this incredible building has been  a cornerstone in our Community and County.  As it began as the Epispical Methodist Church, it's many uses include a one lane bowling alley, a roller skate rink, and a center stage that served as Clayton's Library. Upstairs is the original sanctuary which still holds the majestic original stained glass windows and beautiful wood floors.

The late Albert Herzstein, remembering his childhood hometown, generously supported the museum. In 1987, an extensive renovation of the building began through the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation.

Most of the original construction has been impeccably preserved, including the white cedar floors.

In dedication of the Herzstein Foundation, one exhibit features personal treasures from the Herzstein families collection from world travels and items from their home.

Other exhibits include artifacts from the Santa Fe Trail, Native American Afrtifacts, Black Jack Ketchum, the Dust Bowl era and so much more! We are proud to say we have the largest Works Progress Administration collection in the state.

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  • Herzstein Museum

Union County is named because of the united desire of the citizens of the northeastern corner of New Mexico to form a new county that would include parts of Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel Counties. The first slate of elected officials took office on January 1, 1894.

The Union County Historical Society was founded in 1919 and was chartered as a private non-profit corporation under the laws of New Mexico in 1972. The society's primary function is the operation of the Herzstein Memorial Museum. 

Another important function of the historical society is the maintenance and upkeep of the museum's archives. By special request, you can view the archives for research and photographs about the area's immigrants and Native Americans. Many use the archives for genealogical studies. 

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