Mission, Vision, Principles, Values, and Goals


The Center of Southwest Studies shares the mission of Fort Lewis College to provide inclusive, experiential learning environments that foster innovation, growth, and community engagement. As a College museum, archives and library dedicated to the diverse cultures, histories, and environments of the Southwest, we provide collections-based learning opportunities and internships for undergraduate students; preserve and provide access to our research collections; and, offer exhibits and educational programs for the College and the public.



We envision the Center of Southwest Studies to be a central gateway where people can learn the unique nature of the Southwest through an understanding of its people and their dynamic relationship to the landscape. We envision a sustainable future for our region and see the Center as an active but impartial leader in helping to foster positive solutions to the complex issues that affect us. We envision a region of informed and spirited citizens who are active stewards of our historic, cultural, and natural resources. To make this vision a reality, the Center features innovative educational programs and research opportunities that promote a greater awareness of the deep connections between people and natural systems.

Guiding Principles



  • The Center provides direct support to academic departments at Fort Lewis College through its doctoral fellowship program, student internships, public programs, and research opportunities.
  • The Center plays a significant role bridging the sciences and the humanities across the Fort Lewis College campus.
  • The Center’s museum, archives, and library collections preserve valuable research materials for study by the College community, scholars, and the public.
  • The Center provides a forum for the exchange of information about the Southwest through museum exhibitions, archives and library research, and public programs.
  • The Center plays a key role in connecting the College with the community by facilitating community-based learning opportunities focused on such topics as cultural, economic, environmental, ethnic, historical, political, and social issues relevant to the region.

Core Values



  • Stewardship. The Center will preserve its own archival, library, art and artifact collections according to the highest professional standards. We take an active role in the preservation of memory and the natural and cultural resources of our region.
  • Passion. This powerful force drives all we do. We believe our landscape and its diverse cultures, both past and present, deserve our respect and support.
  • Education. We aspire to foster a greater understanding of the uniqueness of the Southwest through programs that introduce audiences to the diverse cultures, landscapes, and issues that define our region.
  • Engagement. We acknowledge the diversity of our audiences’ backgrounds, cultural beliefs, different interests, and learning styles. We carry our mission outside our walls to reach our broader public.
  • Collaboration. We value partnerships and active collaboration. We believe the strength of many overshadows that of one. We are ready to work cooperatively with other organizations that share our goals and service.
  • Excellence. We strive to operate from the highest standards of professionalism and quality in all our programs and conduct.
  • Audacity. We seek innovative ways to raise awareness of our various constituencies by addressing prevailing issues of our region to promote personal responsibility.
  • Fairness. We understand our own frames of reference and acknowledge other viewpoints.

Strategic Goals



  • Be a valuable campus and community asset
  • Connect with academic departments and education programs
  • Expand the recognition of the Center of Southwest Studies
  • Establish exemplary collections care and management
  • Embrace the digital world
  • Ensure organizational sustainability

Hours of Operation: Open by appointment only. Go to the "Plan Your Visit" tab at the top of this webpage.

Map & Directions

Purchase parking passes at kiosks located at Fort Lewis College information signs near entrances to campus.
Parking is free during the summer semesters - May to August.


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
Archives: 970-247-7126
College Records: 970-382-6951
Museum: 970-247-7456