While I love exploring distant parts of the globe, It’s also fun to “vacation” in ones own home territory. This month, I visited two exhibits -one at Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art, another at Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Museum of Natural History.

The Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA), established in 1953 by folk art authority Florence Dibell, is one of my favorite Santa Fe attractions. MOIFA’s vast collections hail from dozens of countries. They include a stunning variety of costumes, Navajo pictorial weavings, Swedish folk art, New Mexican carved santos, African and Arabian items, toys from the Caribbean, musical instruments from the Indian subcontinent, just to name a fraction of the total immense collection. MOIFA occupies the entire Northwestern end of “Museum Hill.”

My friends, all part of a women’s walking group called “Glow Club,” and I went to MOIFA to see a special rotating exhibit of beadwork. From a beaded stethoscope to beaded wedding dresses, the variety was astonishing. We learned that just about anything can be (and is) a palette for beading. It is an art form that spans cultures throughout the world.

On another day, a few pals and I drove the 60 miles south to Albuquerque, New Mexico to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. The exhibit “DaVinci The Genius” was calling us. The ultimate Renaissance Man, Leonardo DaVinci was an artist and inventor whose iconic masterpieces are rightly held in awe. The masterpieces on display are digitized versions of paintings too precious to be moved from their European galleries. One entire room of the Albuquerque display is devoted to an in-depth study of the Mona Lisa, showing what the original colors would have been before the fading of years and countless restorations. The exhibit’s second floor comprises DaVinci’s inventions, from wings to “instant” bridges to be used hastily during battles, and numerous devices for moving and carrying water. Made of wood, they are based very precisely on the originals.

The walls are filled were replicas of Leonardo DaVinci’s drawings and notes. Selected from 6,000 pages of originals, they are displayed throughout this amazing exhibit. Of the many quotations calligraphed on the museum’s walls, these words seemed to best convey the Italian genius’s spirit:

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

Though uttered over five centuries ago, these words are appropriate for today. I plan to adopt them for my summer slogan!

*********************************************************************Join author Elaine Pinkerton on alternate Mondays for reflections on life as seen through adoption-colored lenses. Your comments are invited!