When you think of Roswell’s history, your mind probably jumps to one or two events that the town is often linked to, but its rich history is so much more than that. The Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico (HSSENM) aims to enrich citizens and tourists alike with the stories of the culture and people who made Roswell what it is today. Museum Director Amy McVay-Davis says to her, the most interesting part of Roswell history is, “The beginning… How we began. How it took its course and how, like with so many communities, the initial concept absolutely turned into something so different,” McVay-Davis, a Roswell native, points out how incredibly resilient Roswell is, and after the closing of the Walker Air Force Base was able to bounce back. “It was thriving then, but I don’t believe people of that generation ever dreamed we would be where we are today,” she adds.
Roswell’s history is preserved inside the stately, former home of J.P. White and his family, built in 1912, which now houses the Historical Museum and archives. McVay-Davis loves to welcome visitors to the museum and fill them in on Roswell’s history pertaining to their areas of interest, explaining, “One of my favorite things to do is learn more about people, find out their passion and then connect the dots.” She points out that whatever a person’s interest, whether it be art, NMMI, Lincoln County Wars, etc… Roswell’s history is so in-depth that she can steer them in the direction of their curiosities, revealing the many, less publicized sides of Roswell’s history.
McVay-Davis emphasizes, “It is so important to preserve the history of Roswell and promote it for future generations.” The HSSENM implements programs in local schools to bring history to the students, the biggest program being the 4th grade tours where students get to do hands on activities to learn about different time periods in Roswell. McVay-Davis challenges all 4th graders to bring their families back and give them a tour of the museum discussing what they learned. Community members are encouraged to get connected to the HSSENM to learn more about preserving and continuing Roswell’s history.
The Historical Society is located at 200 N. Lea Ave Roswell, NM 88201. The museum is open daily from 1-4 p.m. and the Archive Center next door is open M-W-F from 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information call 575-622-8333 or visit www.roswellnmhistory.org.