Sewing up History with a Box

Upon learning of that Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors will soon take over leadership of the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, many of our supporters asked what she might want for a going-away present. The answer? Nothing.

At least nothing for herself. In a selfless display of generosity, Fran is asking folks who want to honor her years of accomplishment to instead consider donating money to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Acquisitions Fund.

SC_Sewing_Box-72The item we’re dying to buy is this sewing box, a rare example of an 18th-century delicacy from Michoacán, Mexico, still bearing its original, hand-lacquered finish in the Chinoiserie style. As for what else makes it so special, read Fran’s description of it, along with details about how you can help her leave an even longer-lasting legacy.

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New Mexico Legislators Honor Frances Levine

Fran-1Wednesday, February 19, 2014, found New Mexico History Museum Director Frances Levine on the floor of the state Senate, for all the right reasons. Given a seat of honor on the rostrum, she heard the reading of a certificate honoring her service to the state and wishing her well on her next adventure as president and chief executive officer of the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.

Fran was thrilled to tears. (Literally, tears, but then our staff is fond of saying she cries at puppies.) After the certificate was read, Sens. Peter Wirth, Bill Payne and John Ryan heaped on the praise. Both Wirth and Payne called the event “bittersweet.” Happy as they are for her new position, they said, New Mexico will sorely miss her. To that end, Ryan, who happens to be married to Levine’s boss, Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales, joked that he had heard Gonzales would not be accepting Levine’s resignation. Continue reading

History Museum Director Frances Levine Takes the Santa Fe Trail … East

4-staff_72-FranLevine-2013Dr. Frances Levine, who became director of the Palace of the Governors in 2002 and led construction of the New Mexico History Museum into a world-class institution, has been named president and CEO of the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. She will remain at the New Mexico History Museum until March 15 and start her new job on April 15.

“Everything I have done with the help of our staff, donors and volunteers has prepared me for this next set of responsibilities and challenges,” Levine said. “It’s not a coincidence that I would be traveling to a museum that shares so much of our Mexican period and territorial period history. This new position will also introduce me to another perspective on the American story. I look forward to learning about the diverse cultures and historical experiences brought together here at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and made St. Louis a dynamic American city.

“New Mexico is fortunate to have a robust museum system capably administered by our Department of Cultural Affairs, Secretary Veronica Gonzales and Deputy Secretary Michael Delello, the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents, and the support of so many donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

“I will miss red and green chile. And of course I will miss New Mexico most of all.” Continue reading