As I wrote in my last message the Center of Southwest Studies has experienced a severe budget cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s health and economic impacts on our community and Fort Lewis College. We have no idea how long this pandemic will last and the overall consequences of it are still not fully understood.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the American Alliance for Museums virtual conference and I paraphrase here something that one of my favorite sheroes, Dr. Johnetta Cole, said about museums that I found both meaningful and inspiring - Every aspect of our lives are going to be changed for far longer than we are comfortable with. The sacrifices we are making now will make a stronger and more resilient society in the future. By adjusting our expectations and addressing our fears, we will be able to provide new models and a reimagining of what the future can look like. The freedom that accompanies this moment provides us the space to be more creative and innovative…
This is a transformative moment for the Center of Southwest Studies as we discover new ways to better serve and train our Fort Lewis College students, engage with the public, and learn new ways of presenting programs and making our collections more accessible. This crisis is giving us the opportunity to reflect on our mission and to reimagine what the future looks like. As I mentioned in my last message, we want to hear from you. Over the next couple of months, we will be putting our planning team together and start our listening tours as we explore the different possibilities that will assist us in creating a new model and reimagining what the future will look like for the Center.
As the staff comes back on campus over the next month, we will be preparing the Center to slowly reopen the archives, library and museum gallery by appointment starting in August. Visitors to the Center will be expected to follow all Fort Lewis College health and safety guidelines to come onto campus and while visiting the Center of Southwest Studies. Information will be posted on our website soon as to what the health and safety protocols are. We look forward to welcoming you and providing you with a safe and enjoyable experience.
Stay safe and strong!
Shelby J. Tisdale, Ph.D.