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History Museum gets permanent top boss

Billy Garrett

SANTA FE – The man who has been temporarily overseeing the New Mexico History Museum since May has been named the permanent executive director.

The state Cultural Affairs Department announced Billy Garrett’s appointment Wednesday. His duties will continue to include oversight of daily operations and the development of exhibitions and public programs at a number of venues that fall under the museum’s umbrella.

The museum’s campus includes the Palace of the Governors, Palace Press, the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, Palace Photo Archives and a program that allows Native American artists to sell their wares under the portal at the Palace of the Governors.

“The New Mexico History Museum is one of Santa Fe’s most valued cultural treasures and an important resource for all New Mexicans,” Garrett said in a statement. “Building on this tradition offers wonderful opportunities for collaboration between museum staff, our supporters and communities across the state.”

Garrett said he’s excited about a new fundraising campaign for new exhibitions, work on the Palace of the Governors and the expansion of public programs.

Garrett spent 26 years working for the National Park Service. He was a principal author of the agency’s guidelines on cultural resource management and expanded the use of historic buildings for park housing.

A third-generation New Mexican, he graduated from Las Cruces High School and received architecture and anthropology degrees from Arizona State University. He also served as a Doña Ana County commissioner from 2010 to 2018.