The largest collection of artifacts excavated at Chaco Canyon are stored in a facility at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque. Many of these items were excavated by S.L. Palmer, father of Marietta Wetherill, in 1894 – 95 at the small mounds across from Pueblo Bonito.  Other vessals were found during the joint National Park Service and UNM Chaco Project from 1970 – 1985. The techniques used to prepare the ceramics when they were first unearthed were the best available at the time, but they have not proved to be permanent.  The glues originally used to reconstruct these vessels have deteriorated and are no longer able to support the ceramic fragments. These fragile objects are need of serious conservation work before they can be exhibited.

The National Park Service staff is currently doing the planning work for the new museum display at the Chaco Culture Historical Park Visitor Center. This is where the Friends of Chaco, and you, can help. In a cooperative venture between the Friends of Chaco and the National Parks Foundation, funds are being raised specifically dedicated to the restoration of artifacts for display at the visitor center.


A total of 315 vessels – many of them over 1000 years old – were determined to be at risk of falling apart in the next few years. At a cost of approximately $150,000 these vessels will be professionally conserved and the best of them will be put on display in the new Chaco Visitor Center. Donations to either the Friends of Chaco or the National Parks Foundation – mailing addresses below – can be made specifically for this purpose. Please include instructions with your donation specifying that the funds are to be used only for conservation of the Chaco NHP artifacts.

See update on the conservation of the Chaco Pots

Thank you

National Parks Foundation                                      Friends of Chaco
1201 Eye St. suite 550B                                           P. O. Box 280
Washington D. C. 20005                                          Nageezi , New Mexico 87037

For additional information or questions, please contact:

Michael Snader, Treasurer, Friends of Chaco

[email protected]


Tracy Bodnar

I retired in 2013 after over 30 years as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service. I worked in 13 NPS sites. Most of those were Southwest archaeological sites including Chaco Culture NHP, Canyon de Chelly NM, Mesa Verde NP, and Aztec Ruins NM. I reside in Aztec, New Mexico, with my husband (also a retired NPS Park Ranger) when not traveling.

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