Dr. Shelby Tisdale, Director
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.
Jeanne Brako, Curator of Collections
Jeanne has been dedicated to the advancement of museum methods and practices for over 35 years. Ms. Brako began her career as a high school intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Heye Foundation. She received a BA in Art History from Reed College and an MA and Certificate in Art Conservation from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. She worked as a regional museum assessor, instructor, and consultant for ten years through the Rocky Mountain Conservation Center, University of Denver, followed by 10 years as Collections Manager at the Colorado Historical Society and its regional site museums. In 2001, she relocated to Durango and became the Center of Southwest Studies’ first Curator of Collections. Her primary research interests are textiles and conservation techniques, lending to her national reputation as a textile and objects conservator. Ms. Brako is a frequent instructor and guest lecturer to various special interest groups in the region, and she is a Board member of the Four Corners Museum Network.
Julie Tapley-Booth, Business & Public Relations Manager
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!
Lara Aase, Librarian
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. She has conducted research on library user experience at Delaney and facilitated digital humanities projects involving library and archives materials.
Nik Kendziorski, Archives Manager
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.
Michael Long, Library & Archives Specialist
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.
Elizabeth Quinn MacMillan, Collections Manager/ Registrar
Liz, the CSWS Collections Manager/Registrar, brought with her to the Center over seven years of collections management experience. Her most recent position was as the Collections Manager 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.
Benjamin DuMontier, Doctoral Fellow 2017-2018
Ben is a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona. Prior to coming to the Center in mid-August 2017, Ben defended his dissertation, an analysis of the influence of government policy on ethnic conflict—in particular, the status of Japanese-Peruvians and government discussions on race in Latin America in World War II, during the restrictions and deportations of 1936-1945. His study demonstrates how ideas about race shared throughout the Americas influenced national policies in individual countries, which in turn affected local neighborhoods of immigrants who were then deported to Japanese-American incarceration camps in the southwestern United States—some of whom decided to remain in the area after the war. Ben will be providing a lecture on his dissertation topic this fall.
The Doctoral Fellowship at the Center of Southwest Studies is generously supported by Richard and Mary Lyn Ballantine.