Museum Studies

MSC01 1050
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Hibben Center
Rm 320

Phone: (505) 277-0786

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Funding Opportunities

Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA)

UNM Graduate Studies Office Funding Overview

Graduate and Professional Student (GPSA) funding

Graduate Assistant Handbook (PDF)

Museum Research Trainee Fellowships


Program Scholarships/Awards

Graduate Student Travel and Research Allocation Grant Application

The Museum Studies Program provides travel and research grants annually to graduate students for travel to professional meetings and conferences or to conduct research pertinent to their Program of Study. Criteria for these awards include: seniority, progress toward completion of a degree, and strength of application. Priority will be given to students who have not received previous awards. Students are limited to one grant per year during the time they are enrolled in the Museum Studies Program.

Hibben Museum Studies Fellowships

To advance diversity in museums, the University of New Mexico offers competitive multi-year fellowships to students in the Graduate Program in Museum Studies. With generous support from the Frank C. Hibben Charitable Trust, Hibben Fellowship awards prioritize support for Native American and Indigenous students pursuing either the MA or MS degree, a dual Master’s Degree, or the Graduate Minor in Museum Studies as part of another UNM graduate program. 

 Opportunities include:

  • Hibben Museum Partners: Two Hibben Museum Partner fellowships are available for Native American students beginning in August 2022. The Partner fellowship package combines academic studies with applied learning in a New Mexico museum or heritage center, supporting a student’s professional training and capstone project focus. The Partner fellowship provides year-round financial support, full-time tuition, and year-round health insurance coverage for a maximum award period of two years.
  • Hibben Fellows: Two Hibben fellowships are available with priority for Native American students and students from underrepresented backgrounds committed to the cultural or natural heritage of New Mexico. The Hibben fellowship package combines academic studies with applied learning in a New Mexico museum organization for professional training. The Hibben fellowship provides an academic year stipend, full-time tuition, and health insurance for up to two academic years.

Hibben and Museum Partner fellows contribute up to 20 hours per week supporting museum operations and programs.
No special application is required for prospective graduate students. All students admitted to the Graduate Program in
Museum Studies will be considered for nomination for a Hibben or Museum Partner Fellowship. Applications are due
each year on January 15, and fellowship awards are announced each spring in late March.

Department Funding Award History

New Mexico Higher Education Department Scholarship Recipients

Academic Year 2023-2024

Alexis Scalese, Jackie Truitt, Sonny Olguin

Academic Year 2022-2023

Alexis Scalese, Jackie Truitt, Natalie Ginez

Academic Year 2021-2022

Bianca Camarillo, Natalie Ginez, Valentina Herrera

Academic Year 2020-2021

Bianca Camarillo, Valentina Herrera

Academic Year 2018-2019

Kendall Lovely 

Academic Year 2017-2018

Kendall Lovely

Hibben Fellowships

Academic Year 2023-2024

Ms. Margaret Cowitz    (1st year Recruitment, Hibben Museum Partner Fellow, MMS)

Ms. Cowitz received her Bachelor of Arts, Art History degree from the University of California Davis in 2019, with a focus on the examination of exclusions from the Western Art Historical Canon and the role of the arts in human rights movements of the 20th Century. She then worked in Arts Education in the greater Sacramento area, through a California Arts Council grant funding the Tour, Talk, and Create program. Wherein fully funded field trips were offered to Title 1 schools, with the inclusion of the National Arts Standards curriculum for the teachers and Visual Thinking Strategy-based tours. During this time, Margaret received her Executive Certificate of Non-Profit Fund Development and Management from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business in 2020. Upon entering the Museum Studies Graduate Program, at the University of New Mexico in the fall of 2023, and through her time as a Hibben Scholar at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, her work has included starting a comprehensive inventory of the Education Collection, as well as joining the team for an upcoming exhibition - the ‘Pottery Families’ project, working under the guidance of Dr. Lea McChesney. Margaret will continue working on these projects in the 2024-25 academic year. She is passionate about the role arts can play in education, cultural empathy, and intrinsic learning, in museum spaces.

 Mr. Sonny Ray Olguin  (Pueblo of Isleta)    (1st year Recruitment, Hibben Museum Partner Fellow, MMS)

Mr. Olguin completed his Bachelor of Arts in History in May 2021 at the University of Portland, where he was a Simon Scholar and recipient of the Davis New Mexico Scholarship. While at UP, he served as President of the Native American Alliance and was also a First-Generation Student Ambassador, supporting Native students on campus. After completing his undergraduate degree, he served in the Indigenous Educator Corps here in Albuquerque and as an intern with the Pueblo of Isleta’s Department of Education. He continues now as a licensed Level III Pre K-12 Educational Assistant. A member of the Pueblo of Isleta, and speaker of Tiwa, Mr. Olguin works with children in the Johnson O’Malley Summer program and the Tiwa Language Program based at the Yonan An Cultural Center. He has also been involved with the Shiehwif Heritage Garden, an intergenerational, cooperative, community garden at the Pueblo. His career interests focus on developing museums and centers as teaching and learning resources for the history of Native American culture. He is committed to serving his community as his professional career takes shape.

Ms. Leticia De León   (1st year Recruitment, Hibben Fellow, MMS program)

Ms. De León will complete her Bachelor of Arts at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX, in May 2023, with majors in Cultural Studies and Spanish and a minor in Music. A student of Hispanic heritage, she has excelled in her academic studies with a particular love for the arts and performance and wants to pursue a career in fine arts curation. While completing her undergraduate degree, Ms. De León has served as an officer for the IUW Honors Program, and as a peer mentor for the university’s First Year Experience Program. She has chaired the UIW Arts and Music Festival committee for the last two years and is recognized for her energetic involvement with campus community service. Her academic path in cultural studies grew from her initial focus in cultural anthropology, and she intends to focus in her graduate work on the interplay of literature, performance, and cultural histories in New Mexico.

Mr. Lucas McDaniel   (Completion year, Hibben Fellow, MMS program)

Mr. McDaniel completed his Bachelor of Arts in 2010 at California State University Northridge with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts. He then completed a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts at Otis College of Art and Design with an exhibition entitled, “An Illustrated Book About Birds” in 2017. Since completing his MFA, Mr. McDaniel has worked in art education and museum collection management positions (both as staff and paid internships) with increasing responsibilities, including with SITE Santa Fe in 2019 and The Harwood Museum of Art in 2021, during the height of the pandemic. He entered our graduate program in the Fall of 2020 with the intention of continuing to work and develop his professional skills and pursue his MMS degree part-time. He has become a highly skilled collections manager and digital archivist through his work at the Harwood and as a National Council for Preservation Education intern with the NPS Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in 2021. Since 2022, he has worked as a contract archivist with The Lunder Research Center, located in Taos at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, while continuing with his academic coursework. He has thrived in his archival work with the Lunder Center, and he is now ready to complete his master’s program with an exhibition project focused on Ben Lujan, a frequent model for E. I. Couse and other members of the Taos Society of Artists. Drawing on archival materials, photographs, audio recordings, and personal records from both Lujan and Couse, this project would be the first to highlight the biography of an individual who was a principal model in this Taos community.

Academic Year 2022-2023

Madisyn Rostro has been admitted to the Masters in Museum Studies degree program for Fall 2022, combining her interests in Native American Studies with Museum Studies. During her undergraduate studies at Iowa State University, where she completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in both History and Anthropology, she worked as a highly motivated intern with their university museum and local art and public history museums.

Alexis Scalese completed her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies in May 2022 at Amherst College, where she is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Her honors thesis is focused on Native community gardens and their relationship with plants, those who tend gardens, and their traditional knowledge. Her interests encompass archival practices, curation of special collections (including botanical collections), community engagement, and heritage education. During her undergraduate studies, she served as an intern with Isleta's Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation Office at Yonan An Cultural Center. A member of the Pueblo of Isleta and speaker of Tiwa, Spanish, and English, Ms. Scalese is seeking a museum career that will serve her community, strengthening foodways and food sovereignty while engaging the youth of the Pueblo.

Jacquelyn Truitt completed her Bachelor of Arts here at UNM in August 2022, with dual majors in Anthropology and History and a minor in Museum Studies. She has excelled in her academic studies at UNM and holds a Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Scholarship for the Study of Archaeology from the Society of American Archaeology. Prior to returning to her undergraduate degree, Ms. Truitt completed culinary school and professional work in the bakery, hospitality, and travel industries, which have all contributed to her desire to focus and formalize her graduate studies on public engagement with the cultural heritage of New Mexico. Toward this goal, she began work this year as an Administrative Assistant and Archaeology Collections Assistant for the Maxwell Museum, and as a Laboratory Assistant at the Office of Contract Archaeology. Her aspirations are anchored here in New Mexico, and her passion for research on foodways, as represented in the archaeological and historical record, promises to grow. She seeks a career in museum interpretation, public history, and collections care that will allow her to combine her interests and skills to engage audiences in the exploration of heritage.

Academic Year 2021-2022

Kylee Aragon received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at UNM in 2018, setting in motion her professional career in arts management and curatorial work focused on contemporary art and modern printmaking. Having grown up in Santa Fe, she came to UNM in 2009 to pursue her interests in art history and embraced gallery work at the Tamarind Institute, ultimately serving as its interim director in 2018. She developed a series of exhibitions for the Tamarind, and now in her curatorial position with Zane Bennett Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, she has revitalized their exhibition programming and gallery impact. She leads the gallery’s acquisition team and actively builds bridges between print artists and their audiences. She is committed to the professional arts and museum community here in New Mexico and seeks to formalize her academic studies with a master’s degree.

Natalie Ginez completed her Bachelor of Arts in May 2021 at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, where she is studying Archaeology. Ms. Ginez has incorporated Museum Studies in her undergraduate degree through multiple internships in museum and archival settings, including at the New Jersey State Museum, the New York Historical Society, The Getty Villa, and the National Museum of the American Indian. She has also participated in archaeological research at the Snyder Site Complex, the ancestral home to the Lenni Lenape in New Jersey, and at Cahokia Mounds, Illinois. She hopes to pursue research with Maxwell Museum collections focused on the imagery of Mimbres pottery and ties to ancestral communities of the Pueblo peoples of New Mexico. Her interests also include museum education and interpretive approaches utilizing digital technologies to increase access to anthropological collections and cultural heritage

Academic Year 2020-2021

Ashlee Boydston-Schmidt joined the MA Program in the Fall of 2021. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Oklahoma in 2018 with dual degrees in Native American Studies and Anthropology.  While completing her studies, Ash gained experience in collection Management at the San Noble Museum of Natural History, where she worked on archaeological election inventory, curation, and archival records related to NAGPRA compliance.  This year, Ash worked with Senior Collection Manager Karen Price in the Archaeology collection of the Maxwell Museum.  In her fellowship, she worked on a variety of projects, including inventorying and researching objects in the People of the Southwest exhibit, reviewing photographs, and making stabilizing boxes for the Meiers collections.

Valentina Herrera completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2019 at the Institute of American Indian Arts with a degree in Indigenous Liberal Studies and a certificate in Museum Studies. While pursuing her academic degree, Ms. Herrera has continued to build her resume in business administration, which includes professional roles in project management, research, and grant administration in many locations, most recently with her home community of San Felipe Pueblo.  Ms. Herrera has spent this year participating in conducting an inventory of objects in the current exhibits at the Maxwell Museum.  Her work includes photographing and documenting objects and working on an inventory of Mimbres pottery.

 Academic Year 2019-2020          

William Riding In (Pawnee Nation, OK, and Santa Ana Pueblo) (Continuing 2nd-year graduate student in the MMS program): Mr. Riding In is expected to graduate in December 2020. Mr. Riding In completed his BA in 2008 with a degree in Indigenous and American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. He pursued graduate studies in public health at the University of Oklahoma but found his true interest in museums while working for the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2015, he accepted a position as a Visitor Services Representative, and while there, he shadowed curators to learn about exhibit design, curation, and proper methods for handling cultural items. That experience gave him the inspiration to become a museum curator, building on his interest in contemporary Native art and passion for telling stories of Indigenous peoples and their experiences in historical and contemporary settings. Mr. Riding In is completing his Hibben Fellowship with Maxwell working with Ethnology collections and the education department. In addition, William works as a contractor at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, NM.

Molly Rannebarger: My interests lie in natural history collections, specifically fluid-preserved collections. The stewardship of wet collections is particularly important to me because of the challenges such collections face in a world where museum funding is increasingly scarce. I am dedicated to pursuing a future career in improving conditions for fluid-preserved collections in small, underfunded natural history museums. I'm about to begin my Master’s project, which will be focused on stewardship of the fluid collections at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Additionally, my Hibben Fellowship has allowed me to work at the Museum of Southwestern Biology for the past year in the herpetology collection, where I have been expanding my knowledge of the herpetofauna of the Southwest, specimen preparation, and large-scale data management. My employment at MSB has undoubtedly enriched my understanding of the museum world and provided me with invaluable experience for my future career goals in natural history collection management.  

Zonnie Gorman: As the daughter of one of the original Navajo Code Talkers and a long-time public historian on the topic, I returned to graduate school to pursue a PhD in History. With a specific interest in Navajo masculinity and identity in the mid-twentieth century, my dissertation will draw from an emerging source of personal archival collections of Navajo Code Talkers. While also pursuing a Graduate Minor in Museum Studies, the Hibben Fellowship is offering me the opportunity to prepare two of these Code Talker collections for donation to the Center for Southwest Research and to assist in their collation. My pursuit of a degree in Museum Studies also has helped to expand my professional museum work. I am currently working on two museum projects: the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA, where I am their Special Materials Expert assisting in the expansion of their WWII Navajo Code Talker display, and, the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AZ, where I am currently designing an exhibit of Kenji Kawano’s photographic work on the Navajo Code Talkers. 

Academic Year 2018-2019

The Hibben Scholars are Kendall Lovely (continuing) and Tess Lukey.

Terese “Tess” Lukey is a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in Massachusetts. She grew up off-island in Westborough, MA. She is currently working towards a master’s degree in Art History: Art of the Americas with a minor in Museum Studies from the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She received a bachelor’s of fine art in Art History and Ceramics from the Massachusetts College of Art Design (2016). Tess Lukey has been the Gallery Director for the Department of Art, John Sommers Gallery, for two years. Previously, she was the gallery assistant for the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, MA (2015). Tess has written for two juried exhibition catalogs, here NOW and The UNM 23rd Annual Juried Graduate Exhibition, and has recently received the 2018 Native American Summer Curatorial Fellowship at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Tess is interested in interrogating the authenticity of institutions for their interpretation of contemporary native art. Her master’s thesis is centered on applying this interrogation to North West Coast Indigenous masking traditions in both historic and contemporary circumstances

Academic Year 2017-2018

The Hibben Scholars are Kendall Lovely and Kaylen Jones.

Kendall Lovely  (Continuing in the MSST program; MA in Comparative Humanities, Brandeis University; BA in Comparative Literature and Anthropology, UNM) Ms. Lovely will continue in the Master of Museum Studies degree program in the coming 2018- 2019 Academic Year and expects to graduate in May 2019. Ms. Lovely completed her BA at UNM in 2015 with a double major in Comparative Literature and Anthropology and a minor in Latin (graduating Summa Cum Laude). She went on to complete a Master of Arts in Comparative Humanities at Brandeis University in 2016. She entered the MMS program in September 2017 and has excelled in her studies. She also continues to work with the Education department of the Maxwell Museum. Ms. Lovely (Navajo) is pursuing a critical analysis of representations of Native American people in museum displays, with particular attention to gender and indigenous perspectives.

Kaylen Jones, from Crownpoint, NM, is completing her MA in Museum Studies with an expected graduation in Spring 2018.  She received her BFA in Art Studio from UNM.  She works as a scientific illustrator for the Museum of Southwestern Biology Division of Mammals and Parasites. She is currently working With Devorah Romanek (Curator of Exhibits) and Joe Cook (PhD Mammalogist) on Installing a temporary exhibit in the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology focusing on the Mexican Wolf and its place in the Southwest, Rural Communities, and UNM (Expected to Open Summer of 2018 and run for 6 Months at Maxwell then be a permanent exhibit at MSB).  Her research in Museum Studies has focused on the Mexican Wolf and its place in the Southwest, Native, and Rural Communities, and its use as a Mascot at The University of New Mexico and how its role in these areas is imperative to their survival.