Thomas E. Chávez is a historian with a Ph. D. from the University of New Mexico. In December of 2004, he retired as the Executive Director of the National Hispanic Culture Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque. Before that, he was Director of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico for twenty-one years. He has published numerous book reviews, articles, nine books, and wrote a monthly Sunday article for The Santa Fe New Mexican. Among other projects he helped the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art begin an endowment and consulted for the University of New Mexico Press and the New Mexico Women’s Forum.
He has initiated and supervised many innovative exhibitions at the Palace of the Governors, the NHCC, as well as for other institutions. Among the many programs that he supervised while at the Palace of the Governors are the highly acclaimed “Portal Program” that involves over one thousand Native American artisans selling handmade goods. He initiated “Christmas at the Palace,” including “Las Posadas,” and “The Palace Mountain Man Rendezvous and Buffalo Roast.” He oversaw the expansion and construction of the Palace’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and Photographic Archive. He oversaw the land purchases, initial planning, and fundraising for the new state history museum that opened in 2009 behind the Palace of the Governors. Dr. Chávez and his staff brought back to New Mexico the internationally famous “Segesser Hide Paintings” from Switzerland as well as the “Martínez de Montoya” documents from England that establish the founding of Santa Fe as early as 1607. At the NHCC he helped raise the funds and oversaw the construction and first year’s programs for the Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts. Under his leadership the NHCC purchased the neighboring warehouse and parking lot that was planned to be renovated into a series of artist studios.
Dr. Chávez has researched throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, and in Argentina. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Fundación Xavier de Salas in Trujillo, Spain and is a former President of the New Mexico Association of Museums as well as the Old Santa Fe Association, and has served on many City of Santa Fe committees. He is the former Chairman of the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities and has sat on the boards of the Historical Society of New Mexico, the Hispanic Culture Foundation, the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, and the Santa Fe Public Libraries. He also served on the Board and then chaired the board for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico and the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance. He served on the nationally elected boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. Currently he is on the Board of Directors for the Latino Center of the Smithsonian Institution, the New Mexico Humanities Council, The National of Humanities Councils, and El Rancho de las Golondrinas. He recently served as President of the Advisory Board for the Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque and continues in an advisory capacity.
Dr. Chávez received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Spain in 1987. He is a recipient of the “Distinguished History Award Medal” from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the 1997 Excellence in the Humanities Award from the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities. He is a recipient of the 1998 Mayor’s Recognition Award for Excellence in the Arts in Santa Fe as well as the Old Santa Fe Association Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the People of Santa Fe.” In 2002, the University of New Mexico Alumni Association presented Dr. Chávez with its “Zia Award” and in 2007 New Mexican Hispanic Culture Preservation League bestowed upon him the title of El Adelantado. In 2011 he was presented with the first El Premio Fundación de Salas from Trujillo, Spain.
For his publication, see http://thomasechavez.com/Books.aspx