Silver City Museum & WILL Present talk on Fort Bayard Preservation

Oct 13, 2021

Credit Silver City Museum

  On October 23rd at 11am, presenters will gather in Fort Bayard’s historic theater to discuss how a partnership with Historicorp can benefit the preservation of Fort Bayard. Join Sheila Hudman, Clerk/Treasurer of Village of Santa Clara; Liz Rice, HistoriCorps Workforce Manager; volunteer Mary Stoecker, and Doug Dinwiddie, Chairperson 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 Fort Bayard Theater and on the virtual platform Zoom, where questions and commentary will be relayed to Javier and the live audience in real time.

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

Fort Bayard was established in 1866 to protect farmers and miners from Apaches. Its later history included use as a TB hospital, Veterans’ hospital, and then, in 1964, the federal government sold the Fort Bayard Campus (consisting of approx. 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 history and the role of Ft. Bayard in Grant County and Silver City history), has been trying to obtain the site for many years before it completely falls to neglect and demolition. Progress has been made over the past 4 years, and a partnership with HistoriCorps could provide the means to the next steps in preservation.

The mission of HistoriCorps, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is to foster a preservation ethic by engaging volunteers in saving historic places. HistoriCorps, working with local partner organizations, provides volunteers of all skill levels with hands-on experience preserving historic structures on public lands across the USA. Volunteers learn preservation skills and put those skills to work saving historic places that have fallen into disrepair, thus 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 successfully generated grant awards including those to fund Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) members over several years, and those to bring in Americorps/NCCC members to aid in the preservation of Historic Fort Bayard. Due to her passion for preservation, Hudman has provided training to YCC and Americorps/NCCC staff for projects at Fort Bayard National Historic Landmark and within the Village; surveyed Historical Building conditions with State Historical Preservation Staff and Silver Architects in preparation for Americorps, YCC, and Village Redevelopment planning for Fort Bayard; and performed historical records research on Village owned buildings and the local Cemetery.

Liz Rice joined the HistoriCorps crew in 2017. She brings a decade of experience in nonprofit program development and management, often in partnership with public land management agencies. As an AmeriCorps VISTA alumna and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Liz has a personal understanding of the incredible power volunteers can contribute to accomplishing organizational and community goals. Her role with HistoriCorps is to recruit, coordinate, and support volunteers and staff on each and every preservation project across the country. Liz earned her BS in Public Affairs and Nonprofit Management from Indiana University-Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and is currently pursuing a MS in Environmental Policy and Management through the University of Denver. She lives in Indianapolis with her partner, cats Quark and Dax, and dog Charlie.

Though “kicked out” of three HistoriCorps volunteer work projects due to the pandemic and then a forest fire, Mary Stoecker loves the work HistoriCorps staff and volunteers do with their public partners! She and her husband, both 40+ year residents of Silver City/Grant County, are happily retired and livin’ the good life, including climbing mountains to reach the historic Harkness Peak Fire Tower and hanging out on L. Superior to rehab the Point Iroquois Lighthouse with other volunteers. She looks forward to the possibility of volunteering on a Santa Clara/Ft. Bayard partnership with HistoriCorps.

Doug Dinwiddie grew up in the local area, and earned his Bachelor and Masters degrees in History from WNMU. He received his PhD in History and Political Science from Northern Arizona University. After several decades in academia, and with two “outstanding teaching” awards to his credit, Doug and his wife returned to the Silver City area in 2015, this time as retirees. He remains active in the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society, where he currently serves as the Society's President, as well as instructing numerous classes through the Western Institute for LIfeLong Learning (WILL.) Doug also has 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 region's unique history. It is nationally recognized through its accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.

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

For more information on this or other programs, contact ; to volunteer, contact; to join the Silver City Museum Society, contact For all of the above and more, visit or call the main office at 575-388-5921.