History of the Ortiz Center

   ORTIZ CENTER HISTORICAL TIMELINEortiz-photos-1972-by-david-grant-noble_page_1-cropped.jpg

   Late 1990s

  •    Following the untimely death of UNM Anthropology Professor Alfonso Ortiz and  
  •    in response to a desire for closer collaboration between the Anthropology  
  •    Department and the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, Professor Marta Weigle
  •    (of the UNM Department of Anthropology) and Curator Mari Lyn Salvador (of
  •    the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology) developed the idea of a center, named 
  •    in memory of Dr. Ortiz, to promote more public engagement in UNM Anthropology.


  • Weigle and Salvador submitted and secured a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant  to raise an endowment and create programming through a newly established Ortiz Center.


  • The NEH grant period began, and Dr. Beverly Singer was hired as the first Ortiz Center Director.


  • The Ortiz Advisory Board  was established with Professor Louise Lamphere as chair.
  • Maxwell Museum Curator of Ethnology Dr.Kathryn Klein became the Acting Director and then Associate Director of the Ortiz Center. She served in this role until 2007.


  • With endowment funds raised from the New Mexico State Legislature (for an interactive exhibit area in the Maxwell Museum), from Dr. Lamphere (to support a public policy fellowship), and from several founding donors, including the McCune Foundation, the Getty Grant Program, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Maxwell Museum Association, the Hibben Trust, the Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Foundation, the Chamiza Foundation, Robert and Miriam Laughlin, and Clifford Geertz, NEH signed off on the grant and matched the funds raised.


  • The  Ortiz Gathering Spacefor exhibitions co-curated by community members opened in the Maxwell Museum with the inaugural exhibition “Elements of the Earth: Potters Past and Present of Ohkay Owingeh.”


  • Professor Sylvia Rodriguez became Ortiz Center Director and served in this role until 2010.


  • Anthropology Associate Professor Beverly Singer became Ortiz Center Director for a second term.


  • Maxwell Museum Curator of Ethnology Dr. Lea McChesney became Ortiz Center Director.


  • Ortiz Center 20th Anniversary Celebrations