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Silver City Museum
October 29, 2005

Silver City Museum Society
Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Visit the museum's web site.

Twenty will be the lucky number when the Silver City Museum Society celebrates its 20th anniversary with a "20/20" gala event on the evening of Saturday, October 29. Theme entertainment, music, tapas, New Mexico wines, special guests and door prizes are planned for the celebration, to be held from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Pinos Altos Opera House in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. In keeping with the theme, tickets are $20 per person (participants need not be Museum Society members) and are available at the Silver City Museum. Seating is limited, and advance ticket purchase is encouraged.

Bayou Seco, featuring the "hard-chugging accordion, soaring fiddles and gutsy voices" of Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie, will perform cross-cultural music of the Southwest during the evening. Highlights of the Museum Society’s twenty-year history (such as the Bootleggers’ Ball held at the Murray Hotel in 1986), will be reviewed in a power-point presentation, memorabilia display, and a series of "20/20"-style interviews. Door prizes will be awarded every 20 minutes throughout the evening.

Special guest Sandy Solenberger will share her recollections of the Museum Society’s founding at the anniversary celebration. Now a resident of Kodiak, Alaska, she will be making her first visit to Silver City in ten years. Solenberger attended an initial meeting to launch the organization in February, 1985, the same month she moved to Silver City. As past president of the Friends of Recreation and Parks in San Francisco, Solenberger brought valuable experience to the genesis of Silver City Museum Society, becoming its first president. She also worked extensively with the Silver City Main Street Project during ten very active years in the community.

The Silver City Museum Society is a private, 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization providing volunteer and financial support to the Silver City Museum, which is owned and operated by the Town of Silver City. The Society operates an active volunteer program, runs the Museum Store, sponsors public events and educational outreach programs, and provides supplemental staffing to the Museum. Society fundraising and volunteer efforts have resulted in major upgrades to the Museum facility, including a large expansion/improvement project in 1988 which created a professional quality collections care wing and exhibition gallery; development of a landscaped courtyard and parking lots in 1989; extensive rehabilitation of the historic H.B. Ailman house in 1993-94; another major landscape project dedicated in 1997; and an addition and improvements to the collections care wing in 2002. An ambitious volunteer-led project in 1991 saw the reconstruction of the original east porch of the Ailman House and conversion of the original kitchen into a meeting facility.

Publications by the Silver City Museum Society include walking tour guides to three Silver City historic neighborhoods, as well as the first (1986) and second (1995) editions of the book Built to Last: An Architectural History of Silver City, New Mexico by Susan Berry and Sharman Apt Russell. In 1996 the Society sponsored the preservation filming and video duplication of "Silver City On Parade," a 1940 promotional film originally shown in local theaters. Calendars featuring historic photographs from southwest New Mexico have been published as a fundraising project by the Museum Society for the past five years. The 2006 calendars, now on sale, celebrate the region’s baseball tradition.

In an innovative move that achieved mention in a recently published handbook for museum trustees, the board of the Silver City Museum Society now meets jointly with the mayor-appointed municipal Museum Board. Although the two entities must maintain their separate legal identities, the boards collaborate wherever possible in strategic planning and institutional development for the Museum. Society officers are Ida Caffey, president; Pauline Gomez and Theresa Strottman, vice-presidents; Judy O’Loughlin, secretary; and Jim Leidich, treasurer. Members Jean Wright, Alex Ricciardelli, Edmund V. Saucedo, Anthony Romero, and Kathleen Jackson round out the Society board.

For more information, contact the Silver City Museum at (505) 538-5921 or e-mail