Above: A blocked-off door from the Palace’s 1912 renovation. Photograph Courtesy of Palace of the Governors.

The Palace of the Governors closed in August 2018 for renovations to its aged heating-and-cooling system. The closure bought time for archaeologists to peek behind walls and learn more about this national historic landmark, which anchors the Santa Fe Plaza as part of the New Mexico History Museum.

Palace Seen and Unseen, opening April 19 as the first new exhibit in the building, reveals some of what they learned. The exhibit covers the Palace’s 1609 founding as the seat of government for Spain’s northern colony, how it changed through Mexican and territorial governors, and its conversion into the state’s first museum, in 1909. Visitors will meet colonial chocolate thieves, as well as cartographers, mountain men, and Native leaders—and, perhaps, listen for ghosts inside its thick adobe walls.