Our Staff

About Our Staff
Our Staff

Dr. Shelby Tisdale, Director
Phone: 970.247.7456
Email: stisdale@fortlewis.edu

Dr. Shelby Tisdale has over 35 years of combined experience in museums, in anthropological, tribal museum, and cultural resource management consulting, and in university teaching. Dr. Tisdale is the former Director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos. More recently she served as Vice President of Curatorial and Exhibitions at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. Dr. Tisdale received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1997. Her B.A. is from the University of Colorado-Boulder where she studied anthropology and Southwestern archaeology, and her M.A. is from the University of Washington, where she majored in social anthropology and museum studies. She has published 40 articles and book chapters relating to Native American art and culture, repatriation, and women in the West. She contributed to and directed the publication of the Oklahoma Book Award-winning Woven Worlds: Basketry from the Clark Field Collection for the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her book Fine Indian Jewelry of the Southwest: The Millicent Rogers Museum Collection (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2006) received the Ralph Emerson Twitchell Book Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico and the Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association. Her latest book, Pablita Velarde: In Her Own Words (Little Standing Spruce Publishing, 2012), is a full-length biography of this famous Santa Clara painter. Dr. Tisdale became interested in repatriation in the early 1980s while working on her master’s thesis, which resulted in a proposed repatriation policy for the School of American Research (now the School for Advanced Research). She reported on this at the Sacred Materials Conference held at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in 1985 and has been actively involved in repatriation since. She currently serves on the Smithsonian Institution’s Repatriation Review Committee for the National Museum of Natural History. She has also served on the boards of the Society for Applied Anthropology and the Mountain-Plains Museum Association.

Julie Tapley-Booth

Julie Tapley-Booth, Business & Public Relations Manager
Phone: 970.247.7456
Email: TapleyBooth_J@fortlewis.edu

Julie holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of North Texas in Denton and undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin--a BS in Radio, TV, Film and a BA in Geography. As the Business and Public Relations Manager, she handles the Center’s events, programming and marketing, blending her media background with her love of cultural spaces and places, especially the American Southwest. In her decade's tenure at the Center, she is pleased to have worked with so many Center supporters in partnership and outreach. Since moving to Durango in 2007, she and her husband continue to enjoy the many recreational activities the region has to offer – hiking, camping, skiing – living the dream in the beautiful Four Corners!

Elizabeth Quinn

Elizabeth Quinn MacMillan, Curator of Museum Collections
Phone: 970.247.7333
Email: eequinn@fortlewis.edu

Liz worked in the CSWS Museum and Gallery for two and a half years as Collections Manager and Registrar before becoming the Curator of Museum Collections. Previous to CSWS, Liz had over seven years of collections management experience, most recently at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, NM. While at the Wheelwright, she had the honor of being part of the opening of the museum’s first permanent exhibit gallery, which is dedicated to the study of Southwestern Native American jewelry. Prior to that position, she worked at the Bureau of Land Management’s Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, CO. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public History from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois,and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. In her spare time she likes to get outside and explore the Four Corners and spend time with family and friends. Liz is excited to be part of such a dynamic team and to work with the Center’s diverse collections, which help preserve and educate the public about the history of the Southwest.

Nik Kendziorski

Nik Kendziorski, Archives Manager
Phone: 970.247.7126
Email: Kendziorski_N@fortlewis.edu

Nik Kendziorski completed a B.A. in history from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a M.A. in American Studies from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. At the Center of Southwest Studies, Nik manages photographs, manuscripts, newspaper and microform collections, oral history collections, maps, and digitization. He has been working in the public history, museum, and archives field for 20 years and has worked on a number of Cultural Resource Surveys and National Register Nominations in the state of Colorado. He currently sits on the La Plata County Historic Preservation Commission. Mr. Kendziorski has contributed work to several publications including The Journal of San Diego History, La Plata County Historical Society’s History La Plata, San Juan Sampler: Selections from the Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado Postcard Collection published by the Durango Herald Small Press, and the postcard book Durango published by Arcadia Publishing.

Lara Aase

Lara Aase, Librarian
Phone: 970.247.7135
Email: LAase@fortlewis.edu

Lara has decade’s worth of experience in foreign-language cataloging, rare books acquisitions, and programming for Spanish speakers, plus a master’s degree in Library and Information Science (University of Washington 2016). She also has a BA in Music Performance and an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of New Mexico, and she completed coursework and exams towards a PhD in Spanish Literature at the University of Toronto before turning her energy towards library work. Her curiosity about Southwest history and its documentation began at UNM when she studied Spanish paleography and transcribed Spanish colonial manuscripts for indexing. Later she worked as a research assistant in an educational outreach program to schools in New Mexico Pueblos and the Navajo Nation. She also studied Indigenous Systems of Knowledge during her MLIS, which deeply influenced her approach to organizational systems and library user groups. Lara is interested in increasing the accessibility and use of special collections—both the physical books on the shelves and digital objects online. Her article on library user experience at Delaney, 'There Is No View From Nowhere: User Experience Research at the Center of Southwest Studies Library,' was published in Collection Management 42:3-4 in 2017 (https://doi.org/10.1080/01462679.2017.1328324). Lara also facilitates digital humanities projects involving library and archives materials.

Amy Cao square

Amy Cao, Curatorial Assistant
Phone: 970.247.7030
Email: acao@fortlewis.edu

Amy has more than five years’ experience in collections and museum work. Originally from Southern California, she has worked in archaeology and museum collections management in Colorado, Connecticut, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Cape Town, South Africa. Amy received a BA with High Honors in both Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Her research interests focus on axes of difference, inequality, and social justice, and examining how material culture, such as art and artifacts, express the history and identities of the people who created them and the social, political, and environmental landscapes they inhabited. Additionally, Amy worked in library special collections and apprenticed in traditional Japanese painting and printmaking and hopes to utilize this diverse background to add to Center of Southwest Studies' dynamic team. Amy will be working with the Curator on behind-the-scenes collections projects, grant funded projects, and exhibitions.
Michael Long

Michael Long, Library & Archives Specialist
Phone: 970.382.6951
Email: mdlong@fortlewis.edu

Michael Long, College Records Manager and Library/Archives Technician, is a longtime resident of the area and attended Fort Lewis College, where he received a BA in World History. He has continued his love of history by applying it to the library and research field. He is dedicated to helping students and assisting patrons with whatever questions they might have and finding answers to the wide array of inquiries presented from our researchers. Michael’s service in the US Army from 1999 to 2006 brings additional depth and experience to the CSWS team; he is often involved in Veterans' events in the area and on campus as a personal resource.


Patrick Troester, 2018-19 Doctoral Fellow
Phone: 970.247.7411
Email: pttroester@fortlewis.edu

The Center’s Doctoral Fellow for the 2018-19 academic year is Patrick Troester, a Ph.D. candidate in American History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Patrick is the fifth doctoral student to come to Fort Lewis College to study and contribute to the mission of the Center of Southwest Studies in the field of Southwest history and to serve as adjunct faculty in the history department. His research focuses on the evolution of political power and collective identity across cultures in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands during the mid-nineteenth century. Patrick’s dissertation project, “The Broken Edge of Empire: Making Violence, Nations and State Power in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1821-1890,” explores the critical period during which the borderlands transformed from a multi-polar region largely under the control of powerful indigenous nations and isolated colonial settlements, to an area dominated by the modern nations-states of Mexico and the United States. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Patrick plans to seek a position at a small, teaching-centered liberal arts college like FLC. His goal as adjunct faculty in the History Department is for his students to leave their U.S History courses not only with content knowledge but, more importantly, with a sharpened set of skills in critical thinking and analysis, important skills for students in determining their career paths and their success as future leaders and global citizens.
We thank Richard and Mary Lyn Ballantine for graciously funding this fellowship at the Center of Southwest Studies and Jesse Peters, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, for funding Patrick Troester’s adjunct faculty position in the FLC History Department.
Contact Information

Center of Southwest Studies
Fort Lewis College

1000 Rim Drive
Durango, CO 81301-3999
Tel: 970.247.7456
Fax: 970.247.7422
Library Reference: 970.382.6982


Admission is free!

Hours during Academic Year

Monday - Friday 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Gallery: Exhibits close Dec 14th @ 4:00
Monday - Friday 1:00 pm-4:00 pm

Map & Directions

Purchase parking passes at kiosks located at Fort Lewis College Information signs near entrances to campus


Center of Southwest Studies
Fort Lewis College
1000 Rim Drive
Durango, CO 81301

Contact Us

Phone Numbers

Main Office: 970-247-7456
Library Reference Desk: 970-382-6982
Special Collections Library: 970-247-7135
Archives: 970-247-7126
College Records: 970-382-6951
Museum: 970-247-7456