Most Active Stories
KRWG.ORG-The Region's Home Page
Wed May 23, 2012
New State Monuments Director For New Mexico
SANTA FE -- Governor Susana Martinez has appointed a new Director to lead the State Monuments Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). DCA Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales today announced the appointment of Richard Sims as the new Director, who will start on June 4. Sims comes to the department with more than 30 years experience in management of historic sites and museums throughout the West and Southwestern United States.
“Mr. Sims brings to the position strong leadership toward a stable and growing future for our invaluable historic monuments,” said Secretary Gonzales. “It is so critical that our State Monuments thrive, not only to safeguard significant time periods of the state’s history for the experience of future generations, but also to bring economic development to vital rural New Mexico communities. We are so excited that Mr. Sims will bring his wealth of experience to our State Monuments.”
Secretary Gonzales also acknowledged the contributions of Rudy Acosta, who served as Interim Director for the past two years. “Mr. Acosta’s dedication and support of New Mexico’s precious historic sites have been invaluable as our agency has faced budget and staffing challenges, especially at our State Monuments,” Gonzales said.
Sims has been Director of the Montana Historical Society; Director of the Sharlot Hall Museum and Prescott Historical Society in Prescott, Arizona; Director of the Museum of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, Director of the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society in Santa Barbara County, California, and Operations Manager in the Department of Anthropology at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Anthropology from the University of Oregon and a Masters in English from Northern Arizona University. He is a military veteran, serving in the United States Army from 1969-71.
“I have managed complex organizations with multiple constituencies throughout the West,” Mr. Sims said. “I brought positive change to each institution I was privileged to serve. I am committed to preserving the important history of New Mexico and to providing community-based leadership at historic sites all around the Land of Enchantment.”
Currently Sims resides in Helena, Montana. His wife, Debra, is an editor for Montana state government publications, and their son, Lander, teaches in Japan.
Sims was the unanimous choice of a search committee formed by the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents. Members of the committee included George Goldstein, Search Committee Chair, Karen Durkovich, Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents Chair, Dr. Frances Levine, Director of the New Mexico History Museum, M. Carlota Baca, Ph.D, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, Mary Ann Cortese, Community Member, Donor, Volunteer and Friends Group Organizer for Bosque Redondo State Monument, Michael Stevenson, former Regent of the Museum of New Mexico Board, and Rudy Acosta, Interim Director, State Monuments.
The State Monuments were established in 1931. There are currently seven historic State Monuments open to the public – Coronado State Monument in Bernalillo, Jemez State Monument near Jemez Springs, El Camino Real International Heritage Center south of Socorro, Lincoln State Monument in the town of Lincoln, the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner, Fort Selden State Monument in Radium Springs near Las Cruces, and Fort Stanton State Monument just outside of the town of Lincoln. The Taylor Reynolds Barela State Monument in the town of Mesilla in Dona Ana County is being held in a living trust; it is the historic home of former State Representative J. Paul Taylor.
The Department of Cultural Affairs includes, in addition to the New Mexico State Monuments, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, in Santa Fe; the Museum of Natural History & Science and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, both in Albuquerque; the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo; and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. The department also administers the Office of Archaeological Studies, New Mexico State Library, New Mexico Arts, the Historic Preservation Division and the Center for Museum Resources.