Roswell Museum and Art Center

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Roswell Museum and Art Center
LocationRoswell, New Mexico
OwnerCity of Roswell

The Roswell Museum and Art Center is located in Roswell, New Mexico, United States, and features exhibits about the art and history of the American Southwest. Exhibits include fine art, sculpture, prints, decorative arts, and historic artefacts.

The museum operates the Patricia Lubben Bassett Art Education Center, which opened in 1998[1] as a learning facility in the state of New Mexico. The facility supports a museum-school-community creative exchange that provides arts education opportunities for all ages.

The Robert H. Goddard Planetarium was built through an initiative shared by the museum and the Roswell Independent School District in 1968. Once considered the largest planetarium in New Mexico, it is capable of reproducing the night sky as seen from any point on earth. The multimedia laboratory features an Astronomy Resource Center and hosts the Roswell Astronomy Club "Star Parties".[2]

Today, the planetarium continues its partnership with the museum and school district through educational and public programming – including such activities as Space Camp, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's informal science education resource "ViewSpace," and other family science events and activities.


The featured art collections are Early Modernists from New Mexico, Taos Modernists, Taos and Santa Fe Art Colonies, Native American Collection, 20th Century Art, 20th Century Sculpture, Southwestern Art, Contemporary Art, American West Historical Collection, Liquid-Propellant Rocketry Collection, International Print Collection, Peter Hurd & Henriette Wyeth Collection, WPA-era Art, Decorative Arts, Spanish Colonial historical items, Landscape Artists, and Regional Artists.

Featured artists include the following, as well as the contributing artists from the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program (RAiR):[3]


The Roswell Museum and Art Center in 1941, a community art center established by the WPA Federal Art Project

The museum was founded in 1935 through an agreement between the City of Roswell, Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, Chaves County Archaeological and Historical Society, and Roswell Friends of Art. The Museum opened on October 6, 1937, as one of numerous federal art centers established by the WPA during the Depression era. Only a handful of these centers are in operation today.

In commemoration of the museum's opening, celebrated author and museum board member, Paul Horgan stated: "Civilization began when the materials of life were not only used, but understood…".[This quote needs a citation] Early museum exhibits included those traveled by the FAP; artifacts; paintings by Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth (daughter of N.C. Wyeth); and other regional archaeological and ethnographic objects.

In the 1940s, the City of Roswell assumed control of the museum and a donor program brought in works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, John Marin, and others. Esther Goddard also gifted the museum with one of its most significant historical collections: Dr. Robert H. Goddard's material research on liquid-fuel rockets.[5] Goddard's rocket tower now stands in the museum's courtyard. In the Robert H. Goddard exhibit, visitors may see a moon rock donated by Harrison Schmitt from the Apollo 17 Mission.

In 1967, the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program was established through the support of local artist and philanthropist Donald B. Anderson. The first Artist-in-Residence was American painter and Taos resident, Howard Cook.[6]

In the 1990s, the museum received a collection of western art and historical artifacts donated by Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston.[citation needed]

The museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1978.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Roswell Museum and Art Center". Currents New Media. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "Roswell Astronomy Club". Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  3. ^ "Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program Home Page". Roswell Artists-in-Residence Foundation. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  4. ^ Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. RAIR | 2011-12, Rodney Carswell. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  5. ^ Bragg, Terry A. "Register to the papers of Robert H. & Esther C. Goddard". WPI Gordon Library. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  6. ^ Ebie, Teresa H. "Remarkable Women of Taos New Mexico: Barbara Latham". Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.

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Coordinates: 33°24′15″N 104°31′25″W / 33.4042°N 104.5237°W / 33.4042; -104.5237