Silver City Museum & WILL Present talk about the preservation of Fort Bayard


October 23 at 11 a.m., presenters will gather in the historic Fort Bayard Theater to discuss how a partnership with Historicorp can benefit the preservation of Fort Bayard. Join Sheila Hudman, Santa Clara Village Clerk / Treasurer; Liz Rice, HistoriCorps Workforce Manager; volunteer Mary Stoecker and Doug Dinwiddie, president of the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society.

The event is co-sponsored by the Silver City Museum and the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning. It will take place both at the Silco Theater and on the Zoom virtual platform, where questions and comments will be relayed to Javier and the audience live in real time.

To register on Zoom, go to www.SilverCityMuseum.Org and click on Programs and Events, go to, or register directly to participate online at

Fort Bayard was established in 1866 to protect Apache farmers and miners. Its later history included use as a tuberculosis hospital, veterans hospital, and then in 1964 the federal government sold the Fort Bayard campus (consisting of approximately 450 acres and over 50 buildings) to the state. of New Mexico which operated a State Hospital on the site until 2009, when a new hospital was built “off campus.”

The Village of Santa Clara, in partnership with the Ft. Bayard Historic Preservation Society (a group of local volunteers passionate about the history and role of Ft. Bayard in the history of Grant County and Silver City), tried to secure the site for many years before it fell completely into oblivion and demolition. Progress has been made over the past 4 years, and a partnership with HistoriCorps could provide the means for the next stages of preservation.

The mission of HistoriCorps, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, is to foster an ethic of preservation by engaging volunteers to save historic places. HistoriCorps, in collaboration with local partner organizations, provides volunteers of all levels with hands-on experience preserving historic structures on public lands across the United States. Volunteers learn preservation skills and use these skills to safeguard historic places that have fallen into disuse, thereby ensuring the existence of cultural and historical resources for generations to come.

Sheila Hudman’s role as Village Clerk / Treasurer for the Village of Santa Clara began in 2012. She has been successful in generating grants, including those to fund members of the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) over several years, and those to bring in Americorps / NCCC members to help preserve historic Fort Bayard. Because of his passion for preservation, Hudman has trained YCC and Americorps / NCCC staff for projects at the Fort Bayard National Historic Site and in the village; reviewed the conditions of the historic building with State Historic Preservation staff and Silver Architects in preparation for the Americorps, YCC and Village of Fort Bayard redevelopment planning; and researched historical documents on the buildings belonging to the village and the local cemetery.

Liz Rice joined the HistoriCorps team in 2017. She brings a decade of experience developing and managing nonprofit programs, often in partnership with public land management agencies. As a former AmeriCorps VISTA student and returning Peace Corps volunteer, Liz has a personal understanding of the incredible power that volunteers can contribute to the achievement of organizational and community goals. Her role with HistoriCorps is to recruit, coordinate and support volunteers and staff on every preservation project across the country. Liz received her BA in Public Affairs and Nonprofit Management from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington and is currently pursuing a Masters in Environmental Policy and Management at the University. from Denver. She lives in Indianapolis with her partner, cats Quark and Dax, and dog Charlie.

Although “rejected” from three HistoriCorps volunteer projects due to the pandemic and then a wildfire, Mary Stoecker loves the work HistoriCorps staff and volunteers do with their public partners! She and her husband, both residents of Silver City / Grant County for over 40 years, are happily retired and living a great life, including climbing mountains to reach the historic Harkness Peak fire tower and hanging out on L. Superior to rehabilitate the Point Iroquois Lighthouse with other volunteers. She looks forward to the opportunity to volunteer on a Santa Clara / Ft. Bayard partnership with HistoriCorps.

Doug Dinwiddie grew up in the area and received his BA and MA in History from WNMU. He received his doctorate in history and political science from Northern Arizona University. After several decades in academia and with two “Outstanding Teaching” awards to his name, Doug and his wife returned to the Silver City area in 2015, this time as retirees. He remains active with the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society, where he currently serves as the Society’s President, as well as numerous courses through the Western Institute for LifeLong Learning (WILL.) Doug has also worked as a scholar / resource person with the Silver City Museum.

The Silver City Museum creates opportunities for residents and visitors to explore, understand, and celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of southwestern New Mexico by collecting, preserving, researching, and interpreting the unique history of the region. It is nationally recognized through its accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.

Based in Silver City, WILL (the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning) is an intentional community fostering friendships, challenging mind, body and spirit, and exploring creativity and self-expression. We offer lifelong learning experiences and volunteering opportunities that maximize life’s potential, satisfy personal curiosities and enrich the lives of members.

For more information on this program or others, contact [email protected]; to volunteer, contact [email protected]; to join the Silver City Museum Society, contact [email protected] For all of the above and more, visit or call the main office at 575-388-5921.


About Carlos V. Mitchell

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