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History - Museum Foundation - Museum of New Mexico Foundation History

Museum Foundation

Museum Foundation


The Museum of New Mexico Foundation provides critical private funding to one of the nation’s largest collection of state-run museums, historic sites and arts and cultural programs. Founded in 1962 by Thomas Catron III, the Foundation was created after the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents asked him to establish a private foundation to support the four state museums located in Santa Fe.

"The Foundation was basically a way to get around the general fund," Catron recalls of the organization's nonprofit incorporation in September 1962. "Before that, private donations went straight into the state's general fund. The Foundation provided a way for private gifts to be directed to three vital areas of cultural support: education, collections and exhibitions, and funding for the future."

Today, the Foundation marks more than $84 million in total giving by 23,000 donors and membership of some 14,000, the groundwork laid by Catron and others into one of New Mexico's most successful nonprofits. The impact of private giving at all levels is seen daily throughout our museums, historic sites and Office of Archaeological Studies.

"Few states are richer in history, anthropology and the arts than New Mexico, and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation offers a superb opportunity to contribute to the preservation of our cultural resources, and to bring to all of the people an understanding and appreciation of this rich heritage." 

-Tom Catron, founder, Museum of New Mexico Foundation