Volunteer Vista: Martha and Jim Meehan in their own words

Marsha Meehan

We, Marsha and Jim Meehan, have been volunteering at Las Golondrinas since 2018.

Retired IT professionals from Wethersfield Connecticut, we first became interested in history through our involvement with the local Historical Society where Marsha was a member of the Collections and Exhibits Committees, and an event volunteer. Jim served on the Governing Board, edited and wrote for the society’s “Articles from the Community” website and helped out at events also. In addition Marsha was active in local knitting and Book Groups and Jim was a longtime member of the Men’s Garden Club of Wethersfield.

We first came to Santa Fe in 1992 for our 25th wedding anniversary and returned at least once a year ever since then. In May of 2017 we were able to retire to the City Different. We had visited Las Golondrinas on several of those trips and El Rancho was at the top of the list for places to volunteer when – after house hunting and settling in – we were finally able to in 2018.

Jim MeehanWith little knowledge of New Mexico history we appreciated the good training and welcoming atmosphere that allowed us to quickly feel comfortable as docents. We also really like the opportunity to try various things at the ranch. In 2018 and 2019 Marsha could normally be found in the Weaving, Spinning and Colcha area, while Jim would usually be working at either the Big Mill or Sierra Village. We especially enjoy being anonymous ghosts at Spirits of New Mexico, helping Julie Anna in the gardens, and (slightly less) spring cleaning the dirt floor buildings.

But mostly it is the people — staff and fellow volunteers — an interesting, intelligent and friendly group who make it so much fun to be a part of such a worthwhile organization.

When not in costume Marsha enjoys knitting increasingly complex projects, and reading. Jim likes to spend his time researching and writing about NM history and culture — and sharing that info via bimonthly “email blasts” with a group of longtime CT friends.

Las Golondrinas Heroes Make Masks, Clean Up Los Pinos

Liz Trujillo
Liz Trujillo

To say that our volunteers are itching to get out of quarantine and back to the museum is an understatement. The Las Golondrinas staff has been coming up with some creative ways that they can do some good and keep busy.

Liz Trujillo masks

Longtime volunteer Liz Trujillo has been firing up her sewing machine and making masks for essential workers. To date, she has made about two dozen, and we are looking into donating them where they can be best used. “I was so pleased to participate in this project. I hope the wearers of these masks enjoy good health and are protected from COVID19,” Trujillo says. She even made a mask with Colcha embroidery (see photo). Thanks, Liz, for your creativity, skill and generosity!

Los Pines Road cleanup
Los Pinos photo credit: Olivia Harlow, Santa Fe New Mexican

Meanwhile, on June 23, a group of stalwart Las Golondrinas staff and volunteers partnered with staff from our neighbor, Sunrise Springs, to pitch in and clean up Los Pinos Road. Due to furloughs and more people eating in their cars, there was a significant amount of trash and debris to pick up — almost 40 volunteers and staff participated and helped clean up the neighborhood. Thanks to Santa Fe County for supplying vests for volunteers and trash bags, and for picking them all up!

If you would like more information on making masks or being included with community outreach projects, email, Laura Gonzales, Volunteer and Education Manager.

Las Golondrinas Heroes: Louann Jordan and Pat Kuhlhoff

Every once in a while, someone comes along that makes a big impression. Here at Las Golondrinas, we have been blessed with so many wonderful volunteers, staff members and members that we have decided to feature them from time to time via our Las Golondrinas Heroes column. Two of our biggest heroes who have left us over the past year are Louann Jordan and Pat Kuhlhoff, two strong, amazing women who shared passions for history, New Mexico and the Las Golondrinas mission.

Louann Jordan
Louann Jordan

Louann Jordan had a 45-year relationship with Las Golondrinas. Over that time she served as a staff member, a volunteer, and a close confidant to the LG family. It is thanks to her that we have our name, El Rancho de las Golondrinas – the museum was originally called The Old Cienega Village Museum — she suggested the name somehow include the swallows that fly through the property, and thus the name was changed.

Over the years Louann curated exhibits, designed the font that makes up our current logo, illustrated maps of the property and worked at countless festivals and special events for the museum. She was an incredible artist and had a passion for this museum and the land on which it sits. Louann passed away earlier this year, but has left an amazing legacy to Las Golondrinas.

Pat Kuhlhoff was also an aficionado of New Mexico history, volunteering at the New Mexico History Museum, leading historic walking tours of downtown Santa Fe, volunteering for trails organizations and volunteering at Las Golondrinas.

Pat and her husband Gene moved here in 1989 after falling in love with the high desert and the vast history surrounding Santa Fe. Gene passed away in 1991, and Pat threw herself into volunteering for a number of Santa Fe organizatons, including the Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe Symphony and, of course, Las Golondrinas. Dan Goodman once said of Pat, “She has a knack for understanding and explaining history and engaging visitors, getting their imagination going.”

Pat Kuhlhoff
Pat Kuhlhoff

Pat passed away in 2019 and her presence at Las Golondrinas is sorely missed.

Both Pat and Louann had such passion for this special place, which makes them true Las Golondrinas heroes. Both women wanted to ensure that their legacy included Las Golondrinas, giving posthumous gifts to the museum through their wills.

We are so grateful to both Louann and Pat for that generosity — of time, of talent, of energy. It is thanks to heroes like them that we are able to continue the important work and mission of Las Golondrinas.

If you would like more information on legacy gifts or including Las Golondrinas in your will or estate, Email Jackie Camborde, Director of Development.

Volunteering is Fun!

Volunteers pick grapes for the Harvest Festival stomping grounds.

Did you know there are many ways to volunteer? Throughout the years we have had a multitude of different people from different walks of life donate their time in a number of ways. One volunteer put in 2,000 hours in a two year period rebuilding the Barela Mill. Another dedicated volunteer came out twice a week all summer long to tend to the herb garden in the Sierra Village. We have had individuals who enjoy helping the maintenance crew set up for events and others who enjoy staffing the front desk on event weekends. Whatever you enjoy doing we are sure we can find you a position amongst the ranks.
Consider joining our volunteer corps today.

Volunteering is Fun!

This month’s volunteer profile features The Salladin Family!
The Salladin Family
Briar: (LEFT) ” I love volunteering at Golondrinas because it has helped me learn about New Mexican and US history as well as many useful skills that are historical and useful in present day. Volunteering lets me dress in cool costumes, get outside in the beautiful landscape, teach others, see kids get excited about learning, and has helped me break out of my shell. As a result of my time at the ranch, I have become a better public speaker, teacher, and actress. I enjoy being at the Raton School House, selling items during festivals, helping with admissions, and being at Sierra Village.”
Aidan: (RIGHT)” I enjoy volunteering at the ranch because there is so much history that I have learned that I never knew before and it helps me continue to learn every day. Working together with the volunteers and staff feels like one big extended family. I love seeing and working with the animals, meeting the visitors, and learning new skills. Without my volunteering experience here, my life would be less interesting and fun, overall. I am more comfortable being around and communicating with people. Playing Billy the Kid at Spirits of New Mexico’s Past Festival was the most fun experience, ever! I also enjoy helping at admissions, at the Raton School House, Sierra Village, or wherever I am needed.”
SuZanne: (MIDDLE)” Working in the Swallows Nest Gift Shop, giving tours, demonstrating, and interpreting at the ranch over the past few years has been like finding and extending our own caring, communal family. Golondrinas has helped me advance and improve as a person, and as a parent. I am extremely grateful for the staff, volunteers, and visitors for lending to, and supporting our growth as individuals, and as a family. This has been one of the best experiences and most meaningful choices that our life path has taken us on, thus far. We are all delightfully living, and making history, together.”

We Will Miss Our Friends

George Smith

George Smith could always be counted on to have a smile and a song. During Spanish Colonial Days Mr. Smith could be found with a literal banjo on his knee, at the Wheelwright Shop and the Shepherd’s Cabin. No matter where George was he had an audience. George first became a volunteer in 1997 earning himself a bolo with a gold swallow and was close to hitting the 4,000 hour mark. Thanks for everything George!

Deirdre Lennihan
Deirdre Lennihan volunteered at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas for over 20 years. She was a mainstay with the weavers, was a dynamo in the dye shed and taught many volunteers who came after her. She was a master on the malacate, spinning fine yard. We thank her for many years of service and contributions to Las Golondrinas.

Volunteering is Fun!

Lous Callaghan
This month’s volunteer profile features Lois Callaghan.
“The first time I visited Santa Fe and New Mexico was in 1960. Overwhelmed by the beautiful sky, the mountains, and the friendly people, my dream of living in this very special place finally came true in 1999.  Retiring after thirty years as an educator, my husband, Dick, and I packed our household and moved to Santa Fe.
While training as a volunteer for the Museum of International Folk Art in 2000, a friend suggested I also attend Las Golondrinas’ training to fully discover the history and Hispanic culture of New Mexico. This was a very good idea for someone from New Jersey!
One of my first opportunities to enjoy sharing history with visitors was as a Josefina docent. During those early years, we included “Lunch With Josefina” and a chance to visit with our guests. A favorite place to be on Fridays was the schoolhouse. Watching the burros helped pass the time. I enjoyed the quiet of the fields and the changing colors in the fall. Many spring and fall Spanish Colonial Days found me in the same location, appreciating the opportunity to meet so many children — a reminder of all the children I had known through my years as a teacher. On other Spanish Colonial Days, I helped with candle dipping and teaching crafts. Eventually, I also spent a few hours in the country store, the Baca house and making tortillas on the comal.
Every time I arrive at Las Golondrinas, I feel the serenity of the open fields as the everyday world disappears. I am fortunate to have been a docent at Las Golondrinas all these years.
The past eighteen years have flown by. During that time I have also been a docent at the Santa Fe Opera and Chamber Music performances. I am still a docent at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts and Cancer Care. My husband, Dick, was also a volunteer at Las Golondrinas, but passed away in 2009. My daughter, Lee Ann, and her husband, Mathew, live in New York, but love to visit Santa Fe.
I have recently moved to El Castillo and am enjoying renewing acquaintances with friends I have known through these past years.”

Volunteering is Fun!

Beth Barreras

This month’s volunteer profile features Beth Barreras.

“I have lived in various places in my life:  Long Island, New York; Seattle, Washington; Kensington, California; Chicago, Illinois; Reno, Nevada; and France — but I consider Santa Fe my ‘real’ home, at least for the last fifty years.

My father was a U.S. History teacher and my mother a hostess on a cruise ship. We traveled every summer, camping in almost every state, including one road trip up the unpaved Alcan Highway to visit the Gold Rush area. My grandfather was originally from Sweden and in 1897, traveled all the way from Boston to the Yukon to make his fortune panning for gold.

What brought me to Santa Fe was my first husband’s desire to go to St. John’s College here. Unfortunately, because of a gap in school attendance, he was drafted in 1968 and did not survive the Vietnam War. I met my second husband through our common jobs in IT management. My husband, Marc, was born in 1927 in San Marcial, New Mexico, two years before the Rio Grande River flooded and wiped out that prosperous Fred Harvey railroad town.

Other than working in IT, I have been volunteering for 25 years as a certified water operator for my small community. It took me a while to discover El Rancho de las Golondrinas. In 1992, a friend and I went down to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, and she suggested that we stop at Las Golondrinas on the way back for the Harvest Festival.  I have to admit that I had no idea what she was talking about. To my great surprise, Las Golondrinas and the Harvest Festival were wonderful. She then suggested that we both volunteer. I was all in, but I was the only one of the two of us that ended up volunteering. And so, it has now been over 25 years that I have been at Las Golondrinas!

Before I retired in 2010, I would volunteer on weekends. However, now it is a bit of a challenge for me because my husband is up in years. I have always loved the walk out to the Raton School House, or the Morada or the Sierra Village. Meeting all the people from around the world, the nation and our own state has been such a joy as well as working with all the enthusiastic, knowledgeable volunteers and staff. Some of my favorite memories have been the fun of teaching children Hoops or Graces at the school house; helping children build little adobe brick houses (love their creativeness); cooking calabacitas in the Baca House fireplace on a hot August day (whew!); and learning so much New Mexico history. Wonderful memories!”

Spanish Colonial Days

On all Spanish Colonial Days, the Ranch will be open to school groups only, by reservation, from 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M.  During Spanish Colonial Days we have from 900 to 1500 students, teachers and chaperones visiting per day from around the entire state of New Mexico. You will see our parking lot filled with big yellow school buses on these days, as the children participate in lots of hands-on educational activities.

Spanish Colonial Days

On all Spanish Colonial Days, the Ranch will be open to school groups only, by reservation, from 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M.  During Spanish Colonial Days we have from 900 to 1500 students, teachers and chaperones visiting per day from around the entire state of New Mexico. You will see our parking lot filled with big yellow school buses on these days, as the children participate in lots of hands-on educational activities.