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.

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.

Amy Cao square

Amy Cao, Curatorial Assistant
Phone: 970-247-7030
Email: arcao@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.

Gretchen Gray

Gretchen Gray, Archives and Library Assistant
Phone: 970-382-6951
Email: ghgray@fortlewis.edu

As an alumna of Fort Lewis College (Anthropology, 2008), Gretchen is excited to be applying her skills once again at the Center of Southwest Studies. During her four years at FLC, Gretchen worked at the Center of Southwest Studies under the archivist. After graduating, Gretchen travelled and baked bread before joining the National Park Service at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in the heart of the Navajo Nation. In the ten years working at Canyon de Chelly, Gretchen was able to apply the skills learned at the CSWS working with NPS archives and museum collections, in conjunction with conducting archaeological fieldwork and historic preservation. During this time, Gretchen also had the unique opportunity to work in Abydos, Egypt with New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Gretchen is currently working towards her MA in Cultural Heritage Management and Digital Curation through Johns Hopkins University. When not working in the College Archives and assisting in the Delaney Research Library, (or studying!) Gretchen enjoys hiking with her dogs, snowboarding, paddle boarding, rock climbing and whatever other adventures are thrown her way.

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


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