The Roswell Museum Federal Art Center

Who Worked Here?

This page lists all of the known employees who worked at the Roswell Museum between 1937 and 1942, when it was a federal community art center. Links to each person's name will take the visitor to a page describing that person's job, the kinds of documents that reference them, and when available, images of those documents. This section will expand as more documents are digitized and uploaded. While this page has endeavored to include everyone listed in the archive, there may be additional individuals whose names remain unknown at the present time.

The Roswell Museum had a small staff, with an average of 3-4 people working at any given time. The WPA certified prospective employees and assigned positions based on skill level or experience. Available positions at the museum included custodian, gallery attendant, secretary, and director, although these jobs often overlapped. Volunteers also assisted with daily tasks. Directors oversaw all the Museum’s operations and reported to the FAP’s State Director for New Mexico, Russell Vernon Hunter (1900-1955). A highly involved administrator, Hunter visited Roswell and the other art center sites regularly. He later became director of the Roswell Museum in 1950.


Due to its location in a relatively rural region with limited access to museum professionals, the Roswell Museum often relied on nonprofessionals to keep curatorial and administrative roles filled. Several of the museum's acting directors, for example, were initially hired as custodians or gallery attendants, but moved into the position when vacancies demanded it. Staff assignments were not permanent, moreover, but were revisited every six months, with personnel regularly moving to different locations. 


Examining the labor of the people who worked at the Roswell Museum is a crucial way to acknowledge their presence. We may not know how these individuals felt about their experiences working here, but we can at least recognize the work they did. This is especially important for service-focused roles such as custodial work, jobs that produced limited opportunities to produce the kind of written documents that get preserved in archival repositories. Even if we are limited to time sheets and other indirect references, we can at least begin to appreciate how all of the Roswell Museum's employees worked to make this institution a successful cultural resource. 

The Roswell Museum's Staff, in chronological order, 1937-1942

References

Chaduri, Nupur, Sherry J. Katz, and Mary Elizabeth Perry. Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010.

Dever, Maryanne, editor. Archives and New Modes of Feminist Research. London: Routledge, 2017.

Shirazi, Roxanne. "Reproducing the Academy: Librarians and the Question of Service in the Digital Humanities." In Making Things and Drawing Boundaries: Experiments in the Digital Humanities. Edited by Jentery Sayers. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
 

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