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Garrett hired as interim director of N.M. History Museum, Palace of the Governors

May 17, 2019 GMT

Former Doña Ana County commissioner and longtime cultural preservation expert Billy G. Garrett has been appointed interim director of the New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors.

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs made the announcement Thursday.

Garrett is a graduate of Las Cruces High School and holds degrees from Arizona State University. He worked in various roles at the National Park Service in a 26-year period and was a key author of the agency’s guidelines on managing its cultural resources.

“About half of my career was spent working with historic buildings and architectural projects in parks, but always focused on visitor experience,” he said Thursday.


Garrett served two terms as a county commissioner and was its chairman from 2013-16. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2018.

He will serve as the interim director while the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents continues its national search for a director. The position has been vacant since Andrew Wulf was fired in February after a four-year tenure.

Garrett will oversee operations of the Pete V. Domenici New Mexico History Museum, the Palace of the Governors, Palace Press, Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, Palace Photo Archives and the Native American Artisans Program, as well as work with staff on exhibition development and public programming.

“I have a pretty good grounding with how to work with the Palace as a historic building as well as it being a place where we do interpretation of not only the Palace, but other themes in New Mexico history,” he said.

The History Museum and the 400-year-old Palace of the Governors maintain and chronicle New Mexico’s historic patrimony, which includes the cultural contributions of Spanish, Mexican, Pueblo, Navajo and Apache people.