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201 W. Marcy St.
PO Box 909
Santa Fe, NM 87501

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City Historian

The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission has selected Valerie Rangel as the fourth city historian.

The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission is pleased to announce the selection of Valerie Rangel as the City's fourth City Historian. Established in 2017, the City Historian is an honorary position that is both ceremonial and educational and is given to an individual with a demonstrated knowledge of Santa Fe's cultural history from local, regional, and transnational perspectives. The Historian position is selected based on a commitment to and passion for sharing information about the diverse ethnic groups and historical processes contributing to Santa Fe's cultural development. Rangel, as Historian, embraces the opportunity to engage in inclusive civic discourse and will serve in that role through June 2023. During this time, she will conduct public research and presentations.

Valerie Rangel is an alumna of the University of New Mexico, where she earned a bachelor of University Studies that carried a concentration in Freshwater studies and Cultural Anthropology. She also earned a graduate degree from the Master of Community Regional Planning (MCRP) program, where she majored in Natural Resources & Environmental Planning, concentrating coursework in Indigenous Planning with a minor in Public Health.

Valerie has worked as an archivist for the New Mexico Records Center and Archives and conducted research, contributed historical essays, and digitally archived Spanish land grants, oversized maps, and civil war muster rolls for the New Mexico Office of the State Historian. In 2016, she became a research assistant and author of a Santa Fe County Health Impact Assessment, "Indian Health Services Budget and Urban Indian Budgeting Decisions." In April 2018, she presented selections from the book she published, "Environmental Justice in New Mexico: Counting Coup," at the National Environmental Justice conference in Washington, D.C. Her book presents stories of strife and struggle in the war to protect the integrity of natural systems, rights to religious freedom and the continuation of traditional customs.

Rangel's most recent work experience includes the position of Fiscal Sponsorship & Community Outreach Coordinator for the New Mexico Foundation. Presently, she offers technical support to communities working on Health Impact Assessments through New Mexico's Health Equity Partnership, and she works as the Community Outreach & Engagement Manager assisting staff attorneys and frontline communities on legal cases in a fight for environmental justice and human rights at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center.

Through the City Historian program, the City wishes to explore the complicated cultural history of Santa Fe while identifying key shared assets and values. This program engages the community with our diverse and sometimes difficult histories that make Santa Fe unique qualities from other municipalities. The Historian receives an annual honorarium of $5,000 funded by the Arts & Culture Department, and they serve a two-year term. 


Role of the City Historian

This is a ceremonial position given to an individual who has a demonstrated knowledge of Santa Fe cultural history from within local, regional and transnational perspectives, a commitment to and passion for sharing information about the diverse ethnic groups and historical processes that have contributed to Santa Fe's cultural development; and embraces the opportunity to engage in inclusive civic discourse.

The City Historian position was created by City Resolution No. 2017-41 on May 31, 2017. The position is appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Governing Body.



The Santa Fe City Historian is a ceremonial position that encourages opportunities for individuals to be educated about Santa Fe's rich regional history and cultural heritage.

 The goals for the position are:

  • Conserve, promote, document, and share Santa Fe's diverse cultural heritage within historical and contemporary contexts, engaging local, transnational and global influences on the region's cultural development.
  • Engage broad community participation to understand and embrace the value of stewardship of both tangible and intangible cultural history; and
  • Advertise, publicize and promote historical tourist-related attractions, facilities, and events.



The duties of the City Historian are threefold:

  1. Conserve and share Santa Fe's cultural heritage through an innovative lecture series highlighting key figures, events, and attractions with attention to local, transnational, and global processes and cultural influences that have shaped the multi-cultural landscape of New Mexico and the southwest. The City Historian shall research and develop all lecture and audiovisual content in consultation with scholars, community groups, museums, libraries, and other resources to make content accessible to multiple audiences.
  2. Engage diverse communities in understanding and embracing stewardship of cultural history, practices, traditions, foods, etc., through the production of short articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. The City Historian shall research and develop all content, including historical photographs, maps, charts, and other visual aids. The City Historian will make themself available at a mutually agreed upon time to create media content for various platforms. They may be required to provide additional information to ensure high-quality media materials. All content shall be made available and accessible to diverse audiences on various City media outlets (social media, YouTube, TOURISM Santa Fe, etc.)
  3. As mutually agreed upon, the City Historian will provide information for and review historical content for official City documents, publications, proclamations, etc. They may also serve as a resource to City officials for the development of such documents.

The City Historian may utilize alternative formats and approaches to ensure broad participation and engagement in carrying out these duties.


Eligibility & Terms of Service

Individuals 18 years of age and over living within Santa Fe county may serve as City historians. A minimum of a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in history, ethnic studies, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, arts, or related fields is required. A background in communications and public relations is desired but not required. 

The City Historian will receive an honorarium of up to $10,000, including applicable taxes, to offset costs associated with the position. Funds will be dispersed in four equal payments, distributed quarterly.

The City Historian will serve for 12 months, starting from the appointment date. If the City Historian cannot fulfill their contract due to extended illness, relocation, or other circumstances, the City may appoint a new City Historian based on previous nominations to fill the remainder of the term.

The City Historian will be required to enter into a professional services agreement with the City and obtain the New Mexico CRS number, City of Santa Fe Business Registration, and applicable insurance coverage.

The City retains a license to publish and distribute the content created as part of the City Historian program for noncommercial purposes, including but not limited to use in city-related advertising, brochures, media, publicity, catalogs, or other similar publications.

The City Historian must abide by the City Historian's Code of Conduct.


Becoming City Historian

Individuals interested in the position of City Historian shall submit the following by the published deadline:           

  1. Letter of interest stating the individual's qualifications, why they should be considered, a description of their interest, and a proposal for fulfilling the duties.
  2. Resume/curriculum vitae
  3. Links to websites, publications, social media, and video content serves as examples of the individual's engagement in public history or cultural work.

An advisory group consisting of individuals representing a variety of constituencies and expertise will review all applications and make a recommendation for an appointment. The appointment is not final until approved by the Governing Body.

The panel will evaluate all eligible nominations based on the following:

  • Qualifications
  • Uniqueness of approach
  • Past work
Click Here to read about past City Historians
Click here to apply to be the next City Historian