Tony Chavarria

Harvey W. Branigar, Jr. Native Intern

1995–1996

For Tony Chavarria of Santa Clara Pueblo, the School’s first Harvey W Branigar, Jr., Native American intern, the training and hands-on experience provided at IARC confirmed his intention to pursue a career in museum collections management. During the nine-month internship, Chavarria worked with Collections Manager Christy Sturm on the new computerized collections data system, cataloged Acoma and Laguna pottery from the Rick Dillingham bequest, helped Daryl Candelaria with the Native American Arts Education program, toured other museums, and attended professional meetings. “It’s been a very rewarding, productive year,” he said. “I worked with so many wonderful, supportive people at the School. I've made some good contacts, and even more important, some good friends.”

Chavarria feels he was lucky to have been involved with the collections automation project. “One is not always fortunate enough to be in on the genesis of an undertaking of such scope and lasting impact,” he wrote in a letter to SAR Board of Managers chair John Catron. Of his work with the visiting Native American groups, Chavarria wrote, “To hear them speak of their art and the collections was an education beyond any art history class I could take.” Chavarria expressed gratitude also to David and Kathy Chase, whose family foundation supports the Branigar internship to train Native Americans for the museum profession.

After completing his internship, Chavarria accepted a position as assistant curator of collections at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe. “The Branigar internship played a large role in my getting this position,” he said. “The museum staff were very impressed by the work I had done at IARC.” He has recently moved from that position to the division of Education and Public Programs. A University of Denver alumnus, Chavarria plans to enter the graduate anthropology program at UNM.


Sponsored by BF Foundation

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