The Geronimo Springs Museum in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, brings together two unlikely characters—the Apache leader Geronimo and game show host Ralph Edwards.
Both Geronimo and Edwards played a role in the history of Sierra County, which is the focus of the museum. The exhibits include prehistoric pottery and artifacts related to Apache and Hispanic cultures, as well as mining and ranching.
Go Khla Yeh was known as Geronimo to the U.S. and Mexican armies he fought but to his family and Apache people, he was called father, brother, son and leader. A room in the museum is dedicated to telling his story and that of other Apache leaders. There are original photos and newspaper articles lining the walls and a life- size wax statue of Geronimo. There is also other Apache memorabilia, including a display of baskets used for carrying water, and a wooden baby cradle. But this is just one room of many in this unique museum.
As you enter the doors, you step into a well-stocked gift shop. If you continue straight ahead you will find each room dedicated to a different topic. A mastodon and a mammoth skull are the first items to catch your eye. Both were found in this area. One room relates the history of the Hispanic settlers that first came to this area. A military room holds a display of uniforms, exhibits and artifacts dating from the historic forts that were manned during the armed conflicts that continued into the 20th century. The cowboy room holds a variety of blacksmith tools, a barbed wire collection, spurs and branding irons. There are even instructions on the many uses of a cowboy’s bandana.
There is a wonderful display of Da-Whe (Zuni for all kinds of pottery) including Mimbres, Tularosa, Alma and Hohokam pottery, dating from 200 to 1300. Also on display are other Native American artifacts such as arrowheads, dolls and jewelry.
Next you step through a door into an authentic miner’s cabin hosting a display of miner’s tools such as candleholders, a grease lamp, picks, carbide lamps and a drawknife.
To the right of the gift shop, you will enter into a gallery where local artists show their wares, then into the Ralph Edwards room, where you learn how the town of Truth or Consequences got its name. The town changed its name from Hot Springs to Truth or Consequences in 1950 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the “Truth or Consequences” radio show. Edwards hosted and produced the show, which continued on television with various hosts, including Bob Barker. Clips of the television show are shown throughout the day.
Outside the museum is a ranch exhibit with a real windmill and other ranch tools and equipment.
The museum is in downtown Truth or Consequences at 211 Main Street. It is open seven days a week. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for students 6 to 18, and free for children under 6.
Other attractions are nearby, including historic towns, mineral baths, and Elephant Butte State Park and lake. There are many private campgrounds in the area in addition to the state park.
Also near the museum is the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway Interpretive and Visitors Center. For information on the scenic byway, visit www.geronimotrail,com. For information on the museum, call (505) 894-6600 or visit www.geronimospringsmuseum.com.