Elizabeth Quinn MacMillan, Co-Interim Director, Curator of Museum Collections
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, Co-Interim Director, 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.
Amy Cao, Curatorial Assistant
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, Archives and Library Assistant
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.
Elise Boulanger, Curatorial Fellow
Elise belongs to the Osage Nation and was raised in Bentonville, Arkansas. An alumna of Fort Lewis College, Elise received a BA in Studio Art with minors in Art History and Anthropology in May 2021. Elise was previously an Intern at the Center for two and a half years. During her time as a student, she organized and participated in two student-focused exhibitions with the Center, "Student Skateboard Deck Art inspired by PIVOT: Skateboard Deck Art" and "Throughline: Student Works Inspired by the Center's Collections," her Senior Capstone project. Elise also was a member of the 2019 Andrew W. Mellon Opportunity for Diversity in Conservation Summer Workshop and was a Teaching Assistant and tutor of Art History at Fort Lewis College. Elise creates artwork using primarily paint and ceramics, and loves collaborating with young people through art on topics of identity and social justice.