After striking it rich in the 1870's with a mine outside Silver City, prospector H. B. Ailman built a grand mansion in the downtown. The house traded hands many times over the years, then fell into disrepair. Restored by the city in 1967, it became the home of the Silver City Museum, whose collection documents the history of the city and southwestern New Mexico with over 40,000 historical photographs and objects.
"There's a lot that has happened in this area over time," says the Museum's Director, Carmen Vendelin. The area is ethnically diverse, with Anglo, Hispanic and Native American populations, and it's been dominated historically by mining interests and ranching. "A museum can be a place where we tackle tough issues and try to get to the truth. It provides a forum where people can come together -- a space where everybody can have their say and be respected."