El Rancho de las Golondrinas in New Mexico shows, among many other things, how water mills were used. We were impressed with the size and smoothness of the waterwheel. It is much like one we saw in south England’s Weald and Downland museum (also a museum we highly recommend, but a bit far away from Colorado.) It is interesting to see that water power could be used in arid northern New Mexico as well as in a place as wet as England.
One does not think of molasses as a New Mexico product, but one exhibit at the Golondrinas museum shows how molasses was milled from sugar cane. (You can read about how it worked on a family farm here.)
The last time we were at the Golondrinas museum, it was for a demonstration on adobe-making – we were considering an adobe wall in our front yard, and stayed around to talk afterward to the museum staff. One interesting tidbit that came up was that a few hundred years ago, there was trade in the mid-Americas not only with Spain, but with Asia! You don’t think of Chinese trade going east, and presumably it still wasn’t the easiest route to Spain, but what Columbus went in search of really did happen in spite of this unexpected set of continents inbetween.
Another interesting thing about the adobe lecture was meeting someone with a lot of experience in adobe – Holly Arnold Kinney, owner of The Fort restaurant near Denver. She also stayed around afterward and was asking questions which sounded like she herself could have given the demonstration on adobe. The Fort, which was built as a replica of Bent’s Fort, is a museum in its own right, and is in some ways (such as real adobe, not stuccoed cinder blocks) more true to the original than the current replica at the site of Bent’s Fort.