New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Interim Director Named for New Mexico History Museum & Palace of the Governors

May 16, 2019


(Santa Fe, New Mexico) -- The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment of Billy G. Garrett as interim director of the New Mexico Museum of History and Palace of the Governors. Garrett’s career has focused on management of cultural resources, environmental design, community planning and organizational management. He retired from the National Park Service after 26 years of service, bringing a strong background as a manager and architect, with significant experience with historic structures. A third generation New Mexican, he returned home following retirement, serving as a two-term Doña Ana County Commissioner (2010-2018). Garrett has a strong commitment to public engagement and public-private partnerships.

As interim director, he will oversee the daily operation of the museum along with development of exhibitions and public programs. The museum campus includes the Pete V. Domenici New Mexico Museum of History, the Palace of the Governors, Palace Press, Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, Palace Photo Archives and Native American Artisans Program. It is home to a variety of preservation, exhibition, and educational programs that serve all citizens of New Mexico. Garrett will use his background and experience to build capacity in the museum, strengthen communications and relationships with the public, and ensure the relevance of programs to communities throughout New Mexico. He will consult with the Office of the State Historian on relevant matters as needed. Garrett will serve as interim director while the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico conducts a national search for a museum director.

“We are excited to have Mr. Garrett step into this important role,” states Debra Garcia Griego, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. “The New Mexico Museum of History and Palace of the Governors are cultural treasures in our state. I am confident Mr. Garrett will work tirelessly to ensure their smooth operation while welcoming residents and visitors statewide to experience our rich history.”

“New Mexico has a rich and deep history. Sharing that history recognizes the importance of communities throughout our state,” states Garrett. “I look forward to working with the team at the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs—as well as museum docents, friends and supporters—in building on this great tradition.”

Garrett graduated from Las Cruces High School and has a BA of Architecture and an MA in Anthropology, both from Arizona State University. In 1983, Garrett began a career with the National Park Service. He worked as an historic architect at Grand Canyon National Park, on Civil War battlefields, and in the nation’s capital. He was a principal author of the NPS Guideline on Cultural Resource Management (NPS-28), led efforts to redefine the scope and purpose of Historic Structure Reports, and expanded the use of historic buildings for park housing on a systemwide basis. As chief of operations at Gateway National Recreation Area (2005-2009), he directed the work of more than 300 employees through multiple supervisors and was responsible for annual budgets of approximately $35 million.

The New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors are distinctive emblems of our nation’s history. The museum presents exhibitions and public programs that interpret historical events and reflect on the wide range of New Mexico historical experiences. The Museum actively acquires and holds, in perpetuity, collections relating to the heritage of New Mexico and the Southwest. It serves as a history center for research, education, and lifelong learning by delivering quality programs that encourage knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of New Mexico’s diverse cultures. The museum is located at 113 Lincoln Avenue, steps off the Santa Fe Plaza. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visit or call 505-476-5200 for more information.


About the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs:                    

Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs represents New Mexico’s dedication to preserving and celebrating the cultural integrity and diversity of our state. The Department oversees a broad range of New Mexico’s arts and cultural heritage agencies which include 15 divisions representing a variety of programs and services. Among its primary functions is the management of the largest state sponsored museum system in the country. New Mexico’s historic sites and state-run museums are located across the state and include: New Mexico Historic Sites, Statewide; New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe; Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo; New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque; New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces; and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque.

Events, news releases and images about activities in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at                   


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39-DCA-Billy G. Garrett NMHM interim director

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