20 Apr 2024

The Board of Directors will convene for an online meeting on April 20, 2024. Whether you’re looking to stay informed or connect with the community and leadership, you are welcome to attend. For those interested in attending, we kindly ask you to express your interest by contacting our Executive Director, Brandon Johnson at You will receive all the necessary information, including the online meeting link and agenda in advance. 



28 Mar 2024

March 28th at 5pm, MST
Hosted by the Archaeological Conservancy (WEBSITE)
FREE to the public

Please join The Archaeological Conservancy for the premiere of our newest Virtual Site Tour, Episode 8: The Living Landscape of Mesa Prieta. Our panel of speakers will include: Dr. Matthew Martinez, Director Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project; Dr.Chester Liwosz, Project Archaeologist Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project; Dr. John Kincheloe, Site Steward for the Cottonwood Petrogylph Preserve; April Brown, TAC Southwest Regional Director; and Mandy Woods, TAC Southwest Regional Rep.

Register to join us for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the significant archaeological landscape.



1 Mar 2024

As we bid farewell to our Chief Information Officer Ellen Dornan, the words that come to mind are “impossible to replace.” Ellen, who joined the New Mexico Humanities Council as Program Officer in 2016, worked with the Council as a consultant since 2001 providing IT support and training, serving as a National History Day judge and developing the Centennial Online Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps.

Her journey with us here has been marked by significant personal and professional growth, culminating in her role as Chief Information Officer. She has had tremendous impact not just on the Council’s work but also in communities across the state. Her dedication and innovative spirit propelled the NMHC to new heights, and she has worked tirelessly to make the humanities accessible to all.

Throughout her time with us, she has led innovative projects such as Augmented Humanity, a podcast series that brought together artists, storytellers and academics to explore the intersection of technology and the humanities in New Mexico, nationally and internationally. Her ability to identify and forge partnerships also played a pivotal role in facilitating the archival project Manitos Community Memory Project; and she secured significant funding from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the creation of Southern New Mexico Heritage, an online tour of ancient archaeological sites and modern cultures of southeast New Mexico. These projects and programs represent just a small part of the breadth of her contributions.

We are immensely grateful for her contributions and leadership. While we will miss her presence and vision, we are pleased to tell you that this is not a final goodbye. Ellen will continue to be part of the NMHC by serving as a consultant. We hope you will join us in thanking Ellen for her dedication and hard work over these past years. If you’d like to reach out to her personally, she can be reached at

Photogrammetry data capture of Fort Selden. Photo courtesy NG Technology for Conservation.

Photogrammetry data capture of Fort Selden. Photo courtesy NG Technology for Conservation.


1 Mar 2024

The New Mexico Humanities Council (NMHC) is pleased to announce the Cultural SITEs (Scans for Interactive 3D Experience) project partnership that began in 2023 with Northrop Grumman’s Technology for Conservation (T4C). Cultural SITEs is a digital humanities initiative that preserves New Mexico’s historic sites in the form of digital models that can be used for immersive experiences and as research materials. NMHC was awarded an additional $30,000 grant from the Northrop Grumman Office of Corporate Citizenship to continue Cultural SITEs this year.

Cultural SITEs integrates technology and humanities research by using photogrammetry (image-based modeling) and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to forge inroads in digital preservation of historic sites throughout New Mexico. The T4C team supplied both the technology and expertise to scan two significant sites—Fort Selden in Radium Springs, N.M., and Sevilleta Pueblo in La Joya, N.M.

This grant award will extend the Cultural SITEs project by conducting additional scans of New Mexico’s historical sites, create interactive exhibits to animate the 3D models, and leverage these digital assets as educational resources for university students. This expansion not only aims to preserve New Mexico’s rich heritage but also to enhance public engagement and academic research.

WATCH: SITEs Unseen, Preserving New Mexico's Culture

"Bridging the Cultural Gap: An Honest Discussion About Gun Violence"

"Diversity, Resilience, Inclusivity: The Filipino Identity in a Foreign Land"

"Did Poetry Cause the Civil War?"


1 Mar 2024

The “United We Stand” speakers are available to book through the end of August!

The National Endowment of the Humanities, in cooperation with the White House, launched the initiative “United We Stand: Connecting Through Culture” to stem the nationwide increase of domestic extremism and hate-motivated violence.

One way NMHC is addressing the goals of the “United We Stand” initiative is through a  “special edition” catalog of speakers separate from our regular Speakers Bureau. The goal of this special catalog is to provide New Mexico communities–especially rural and underserved communities–with the opportunity to learn about the components of hate-motivated violence and the importance of cross-cultural understanding. Program topics include first hand stories of living in New Mexico’s Japanese internment camps, how comic books reflect and challenge American culture, poetry’s influence on the Civil War, an in depth look at the challenges faced by Filipino immigrants to New Mexico,  and even a frank and balanced discussion on gun violence and legislation. By booking or attending these talks, New Mexico residents can learn and grow together.

To find the United We Stand Speakers go to the Speakers Bureau Catalog, click "Browse Programs", and select "United We Stand" under the series filter.

Darryl Wellington

Darryl Wellington

Lynn Cline

Lynn Cline

Fred Friedman

Fred Friedman


1 Mar 2024

The Speakers Bureau has nearly thirty presenters and forty programs to choose from! With so many options, finding the right program for your organization can be a bit overwhelming. Let NMHC re-introduce you to some of our Speakers! Learn more and book here: Speakers Bureau Catalog.

Darryl Wellington is the 2021-2023 Poet Laureate of Santa Fe, N.M. His full-length first book is Psalms at the Present Time.

In Darryl's Speakers Bureau program “The Power of Indignation: Richard Wright, Black American Novelist,” Darryl recreates Wright's final days, looking back on his career, while delivering a lecture to an American audience in Paris. Richard Wright (1908-1960), the author of the novel Native Son (1940) and the autobiography Black Boy (1945) pioneered an influential school of protest literature. He became the first Black writer to pen a bestseller that overtly criticized racism and white supremacy. Born into dire poverty and oppression in segregated Mississippi, his journey to international success was unlikely. Following his success, Wright grew disillusioned with the United States, and, in 1947, relocated to France. Before his death in 1960, at age 52, he coined the phrase "Black Power" in support of African anti-colonial revolutions.

Lynn Cline is the award-winning author of “The Maverick Cookbook: Iconic Recipes and Tales from New Mexico” and “Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers’ Colonies, 1917-1950.”

Lynn's Speakers Bureau Program “The Foodways of New Mexico” covers New Mexico's rich culinary history, full of fascinating food traditions representing diverse cultures across the centuries. Ancestral Puebloan people, Spanish settlers and miners, cowboys and ranchers as well as pioneers along the Santa Fe Trail, railroad passengers and many others have all contributed New Mexico's melting pot. The Foodways of New Mexico program introduces the many cultures that have shaped our culinary history along with the iconic people who've stirred the pot, including Doña Tules , Fred Harvey, Billy the Kid, Georgia O'Keeffe and the contemporary farmers, chefs and restaurateurs who continually cook up new ways to evolve our food traditions.

Fred Friedman holds a masters degree in U.S. History and English Literature, plus an extensive & practical understanding of the New Mexico's territorial and state railroading past. This includes supervising the New Mexico Railroad Bureau for thirty years, developing a railroad history narrative for the traveling Van of Enchantment on behalf of the NM Tourism Department, and in 2018 he was recognized by the New Mexico State Historians Office as a State History Scholar.

Fred’s Speakers Bureau Program “New Mexico’s Railroads: From Territory and Statehood to the Present” explores the history of transportation in the state. Railroads were the "Space Program" of the 1880's and New Mexico was a proving ground. The arrival of the Iron Steed changed everything from legislation to architecture. Amtrak, the Union Pacific and several smaller systems continue as major economic generators throughout the Land of Enchantment. Most towns in this state began as railroad communities, and their physical reminders, in the form of alignments, structures and vacant depots, have often been reinvented as civic buildings, hiking and biking trails. The state's railroading legacy continues as tourist systems and new freight opportunities emerge throughout New Mexico.

Miriam Langer

Miriam Langer

Fabian E. Sisneros

Fabian E. Sisneros


1 Feb 2024

There is a changing of the guard, and the New Mexico Humanities Council is honored to welcome its new board leadership. Miriam Langer and Fabian E. Sisneros will serve in their new positions as Chair and Vice Chair and will undoubtedly guide and enrich the organization. Their commitment to expanding accessibility of our programs and serving our diverse state ensures that the NMHC will continue to make a meaningful impact in the humanities and the communities we serve. Please join us as we welcome them to their newly elected roles. Elva Osterreich will remain as Treasurer as will Maressa Thompson as Secretary.

Newly elected chair: Miriam Langer
Happy 2024 to all! I’m pleased to introduce myself as the new NMHC Board Chair. I have served as a board member since 2019 and stepped into the role of Vice Chair in 2022. With the previous Chair’s term having ended, here I am! Thank you so much to Arif Khan for demonstrating what an effective, supportive, NMHC Board Chair can be. I miss you already.

In my four years as an NMHC Board member, my primary contribution has been as a member of the grants committee. In my 20-plus years as a faculty member at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, I’ve applied for many grants — from funders small and large. I’ve written grants for building projects, for general support, to fund our internship program, for programming and exhibits. Serving on the grants committee for NMHC gave me the incredible opportunity to be on the other side, reviewing applications from around New Mexico. We have awarded funds to humanities programs in rural communities, on tribal lands, and in N.M.’s population centers. During Covid, we were able to distribute additional federal funds through the CARES act, which meant sending almost $500,000 out to N.M. organizations to help deliver programs during and after the lockdown period. The joy of awarding funding is (almost) better than receiving it!

As Chair, grants remain my focus. I hope to work closely with the grant/program officers to bring in new applicants and discover ways to make the application and expensing process more accessible. I know, as someone working in a small department in a rural institution, how we weigh the time spent writing a grant application vs. the odds of being funded.

The NMHC staff always impresses me with their knowledge, commitment to the humanities, and efforts at inclusion. I hope they will share their expertise with me as we move in to the new year together.

If you’d like to contact me with ideas and thoughts, please email me at

Newly elected vice chair: Fabian E. Sisneros
The initial draw to NMHC began with a simple invitation by a previous board member. So it is more accurate to say that it is not what I was drawn to, but rather to speak of who it was that drew me to NMHC. This is an important distinction to make. When I consider the mission of the NMHC, it is incumbent on me to remember that my involvement with NMHC began with a relationship with others in my local arts community. As a board member, I will do my best to remember that a council dedicated to the humanities must be engaged with the communities it serves.



1 Feb 2024

The 2024 Regional National History Day contests are upon us, with the guiding theme of 'Turning Points in History.' This theme invites exploration into questions of time, place, cause and effect and the impact of pivotal moments that have shaped our world. Whether you're a teacher, student, judge, or volunteer, please sign up at the link below for your local contest. If you have any questions or encounter problems with the registration system, please contact Contest Coordinator Stephanie Wilson.

Register Here:

Deborah Blanche, actor, writer, and storyteller (as Nina Otero-Warren)

Deborah Blanche, actor, writer, and storyteller (as Nina Otero-Warren)

Dianne Layden, professor and writer (as Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

Dianne Layden, professor and writer (as Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

VanAnn Moore, Chautauqua performer and researcher (as Concha Ortiz y Pino)

VanAnn Moore, Chautauqua performer and researcher (as Concha Ortiz y Pino)


1 Feb 2024

March marks Women’s History Month. Celebrate with us by booking one of our speakers to discover more about their stories, achievements and contributions, as well as the vital role women have played in shaping our history and culture. We encourage organizations and schools to book our speakers early for their community events. Click here to learn more and book your program!



La Nina: Nina Otero Warren
Presented by Deborah Blanche
She is best remembered for her role in securing passage of the women's suffrage amendment by the New Mexico legislature. Afterward, Nina wasted no time before tossing becoming the first woman in N.M. to run for Congress. Never timid about taking charge, she was superintendent of schools; an organizer of Santa Fe Fiesta, Indian Market, Spanish Colonial Arts Society; matriarch of her large family and hostess to her extensive social circle of artists, writers, historians, priests, and politicians. Nina takes you back on the campaign trail of 1922.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "Notorious RBG"
Presented by Dianne Layden
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is celebrated for her work as an attorney, federal judge, and Supreme Court justice, notably on behalf of gender equality. Her life will be presented in both a lecture and Chautauqua portrayal that include her judicial opinions, family life, and reverence for opera. She visited Santa Fe with her family for many years and called the Santa Fe Opera the finest summer opera company in the world.

Concha Ortiz y Pino
Presented by VanAnn Moore
In 1936 at the age of 26, Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kelven served in the New Mexico House of Representatives, the youngest American woman elected to State office. By 1941 at age 30, she became the Democratic majority whip, the first woman to hold such a position in state government. She championed woman's rights, bi-lingual education, and equal funding for urban and rural schools. President Kennedy appointed her to the National Humanities Council, and she served on 60 community boards while managing her family's 100,00 acre ranch.

Arif Khan

Arif Khan

Germaine Mitchell

Germaine Mitchell


1 Jan 2024

As we bid farewell to two key members of our board, we express our deep appreciation for their significant contributions that have furthered the New Mexico Humanities Council's mission. Our heartfelt thanks go to our esteemed Chair, Arif Khan, who navigated the NMHC through uncertainties and challenges brought on by COVID-19. His forward-thinking leadership was pivotal in guiding the organization during a time of ambiguity. Additionally, we recognize the vital role played by board member Germaine Mitchell, whose commitment to enlarging our circle of supporters has been key to the Council's advancement. We owe a great debt to these departing members for their dedicated service, financial generosity, and guidance, which have been central to the growth and success of the organization.

In a brief interview, we asked both what their biggest takeaway was from serving on the board:

Arif Khan

"I became involved with the NMHC because it serves the entire state of New Mexico. It has been a pleasure learning about all the amazing humanities projects happening throughout the state. An unanticipated takeaway from my board service has been the lasting friendships I have made with the NMHC staff and my fellow board members.

"My term as board chair coincided with the pandemic and I am very proud of the work the NMHC did during that time of crisis.

"While my time on the board has ended, the NMHC will continue to receive my financial support and I encourage anyone who cares about humanities in New Mexico to get involved and support the NMHC."

Germaine Mitchell

"My greatest takeaway from serving as a member of the New Mexico Humanities Council's Board of Directors, was the opportunity to experience an eclectic mix of representation from various cultural groups, educational institutions, museums, and nonprofit and public sector agencies. It was through this governing body experience that my understanding and appreciation for the rich cultural uniqueness of Nuevo México increased exponentially."

We are excited to welcome our new chair, Miriam Langer, who begins her tenure this month! Look forward to learning more about her in our next newsletter.



1 Jan 2024

Please join us in welcoming Stephanie Wilson as our new full-time NHD (National History Day) Contest Coordinator. Stephanie brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously taught NHD at Hope Christian School, Rio Rancho Middle School, and Tony Hillerman Middle School. She holds a master's degree in secondary education and has impressively served as the NHD Central Regional Coordinator for the past two years. Stephanie's commitment to NHD is so deep, she often jokes that she 'bleeds NHD!'. Her passion for the program is evident, and she is eagerly looking forward to assisting every student in New Mexico the opportunity to participate in NHD.

As Stephanie Wilson joins us in her role as NHD Contest Coordinator, we extend our deep gratitude to Heather McClenahan for her significant contributions during her time as the NHD Contest Coordinator. Over the past two years, Heather has been instrumental in the program's achievements and success. And we are thrilled that she will remain a part of the NHD program in her new advisory role, where her invaluable experience and support will continue to guide the program's ongoing development.



1 Jan 2024

In December, the New Mexico Humanities Council Board of Directors selected 11 diverse and impactful projects for sponsorship through its Major Grant Program. A total of $127,452.76 is being awarded to organizations based in the Pueblo of Zuni, Taos, Ruidoso, Silver City, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. We are excited about how these projects will feature scholars, tradition-bearers, elders, historians and tribal leaders from around the state, from various parts of South America, and Australia.

Instead of having another major grant cycle in May, 2024 NMHC is seeking to launch a new quick grants program. Once solidified this new program will be accessible year round. Please watch our website for updates as this new program is still in development.

AWARD: $8,040.00
PROJECT: Experiments in Cinema: Future Trends in Cultural Representation
ORGANIZATION: Basement Films Inc based in Albuquerque

AWARD: $4,008.20
PROJECT: 2024 Ruidoso Books and Writing Festival
ORGANIZATION: Eastern New Mexico University — Ruidoso Branch Community College

AWARD: $15,592.50
PROJECT: Indigenous Australian Cultural Exchange
ORGANIZATION: Gathering of Nations Limited based in Albuquerque

AWARD: $8,779.00
PROJECT: Community in Conflict: The Legacy of the Santa Fe Internment Camp Marker
ORGANIZATION: Japanese American Citizens League New Mexico Chapter based in Albuquerque

AWARD: $12,685.00
PROJECT: Community Conversations: Presenting Voices
ORGANIZATION: Keshet Dance Company based in Albuquerque

AWARD: $15,000.00
PROJECT: 9th Biennial New Perspectives in Flamenco History and Research Symposium 2024
ORGANIZATION: National Institute of Flamenco based in Albuquerque

AWARD: $9,035.00
PROJECT: Nuestra Voz: The Chihuahua Hill Story
ORGANIZATION: Silver City Museum Society based in Silver City

AWARD: $10,000.00
PROJECT: SOMOS Writers Showcase
ORGANIZATION: Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS) based in Taos

AWARD: $16,639.56
PROJECT: 2024 AfromMundo Festival: Maroons, Rebels, Dreamers and Visionaries
ORGANIZATION: Teatro Nuevo Mexico DBA AfroMundo based in Albuquerque

AWARD: $12,673.50
PROJECT: Family Community Engagement in Santa Fe's Preservation and History
ORGANIZATION: The Historic Santa Fe Foundation based in Santa Fe

AWARD: $15,000.00
PROJECT: Oral History Theater Project (Delapna:we)
ORGANIZATION: Zuni Youth Enrichment Project based in the Pueblo of Zuni

From left, Lee Wilson, Claudie Thompson, Isaac Beck, Elizabeth McDonald, Kylee Jones, Dayna Jones, and Alicia Beck celebrate at the national NHD contest.

From left, Lee Wilson, Claudie Thompson, Isaac Beck, Elizabeth McDonald, Kylee Jones, Dayna Jones, and Alicia Beck celebrate at the national NHD contest.

For the Becks, NHD is a Family Affair

1 Jan 2024

At the 2023 New Mexico State National History Day contest, four brothers from Silver City took home first place medals: Anson Beck in senior group website, Isaac Beck in Senior Group Documentary, Joshua Beck in Senior Individual Documentary, and Jonathan Beck in Junior Group Website. Isaac and Joshua both went to finals at nationals, with Isaac sharing the prestigious History of U.S. Marine Corps award with his group, and Joshua receiving the Senior Outstanding Affiliate Award. How does one family achieve so much in NHD?
The family first became involved in NHD when oldest brother Avery had Dayna Jones at La Plata Middle School. Mrs. Jones helps students explore their passions and determine the best way to present them, Alicia said.
The winning ways the family now enjoys were not immediate, though. Avery’s first year proved challenging as he struggled to understand some NHD requirements like multiple perspectives. He faced tough judges and came away from his first regional contest feeling awkward. However, “sometimes our failures are our greatest success,” Alicia said. The challenges “just motivated him even more.” In fact, Avery’s senior year, partnered with younger brother Anson, they took 4th place at nationals.
Along with NHD, all of the Beck children play soccer, play an instrument (piano at least through mid-school – they can switch from piano to band after that), and attend their church youth group. Alicia tries to find a balance between allowing her kids to find their own ways and helping to motivate them without pushing too much. She sees her role as an NHD parent as a provider of ideas and suggestions, ensuring topics are tied to the theme and probing whether the search for primary sources is really complete. She admits, “it does get crazy” in their house as NHD contest time approaches and everyone is working on projects.
For the Becks, defining success is not just winning or bringing home medals and awards. “It’s the effort and who we are becoming in the process,” Alicia says, adding that she, her husband, and her kids are all competitive and have high expectations. “If we’re going to do it, do it well and do your best. Take pride in your work.”
Alicia has high praise for the NHD program, pointing out that students learn so much more than history. They learn public speaking skills, research skills, evaluation of sources, teamwork, and how to write better. “Their experience in NHD has really benefited them as people,” she said.
The Beck family is one reason the Silver City NHD program, under Claudie Thompson and Lee Wilson at Silver High, along with Dayna Jones, has become such a powerhouse in the state. (Their NHD competitors may be chagrined to hear that the youngest Beck, Katelyn, will be coming along soon!)
As for the 2024 contest, Alicia hopes her boys will continue to learn and make connections to history that they love. “You have to enjoy it,” she tells them.
The 2024 contests will be:
Southern Regional in Las Cruces at the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum on Friday, Feb. 23
Northwest Regional in Farmington at San Juan College on Friday, March 1
Central Regional in Albuquerque at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Friday, March 8
State in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico on Saturday, April 13.
For more information, contact Stephanie Wilson at

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