If you have ever spent a Saturday morning watching an Antiques Road Show marathon then you will be familiar with folk art and its value; both intrinsically and as part of Americana. While the importance of folk art is often discussed, rarely is it celebrated in the United States, and even less frequently is it displayed publically. The Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, New Mexico sought to change all that. This 22 room art extravaganza is located just north of Albuquerque and is definitely one of the most underrated museums in the United States.
Before you twist and turn your way through the one of a kind exhibits, you will notice that even the building itself if an exquisite piece of folk art. The façade was fashioned with over 50,000 differently colored glass bottles set in cement which creates almost a kaleidoscope impression when you look at it. Once inside you are bombarded with thousands of unique and strangely beautiful pieces from exceptional wood carvings, to a fun animatronic cowboy town, and even a miniature old fashioned circus. Probably the most astounding thing about the Tinkertown Museum is the vast majority of what you see was created by the museum’s founder Ross Ward.
In a span covering over four decades Ward whittled, carved, and collected his way across the country. Of the items not made by Ward, this roadside charmer has on display odd little dolls, antique arcade machines, a huge assortment of remarkable wedding cake toppers, and an historic 35 foot sailboat that once spent ten years circumnavigating the globe. You can almost visualize the impressive amount of skill going into creating these matchless works of art. Tinkertown Museum is quaint, quirky, kitschy, and absolutely glorious. Make sure you spend a few minutes (which could turn into hours) in the museum’s gift shop which is filled with equally peculiar objects you can take home with you. Open 7 days a week from April through October, the Tinkertown Museum is anxiously awaiting your arrival and is ready to dazzle young and old with a collection you won’t soon forget!