Museum of International Folk Art Director Marsha Bol Announces Retirement

Dr. Marsha Bol

MIFA News:

SANTA FE – After 20 years with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), serving the last seven years as the director of the Museum of International Folk Art, Dr. Marsha Bol announced her retirement effective Nov. 1.  

“Dr. Bol has served the Department of Cultural Affairs and the citizens of the State of New Mexico diligently and with distinction, and we will miss her greatly,” said DCA Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales in making the announcement.

“Both MoIFA and the Museum of Art and our museum patrons have benefited from Dr. Bol’s strong background as an effective leader and an art historian.  Dr. Bol has led with vision, worked hard to make that vision a reality, and applied her expertise to explore diverse areas of scholarly interest on behalf of the museum,” Gonzales said.

In 2009, Bol assumed the role of director of MoIFA, the largest international folk art museum in the world, holding 135,000 objects from more than 100 countries.  Secretary Gonzales said, “During her time as director of MoIFA, Dr. Bol is credited with many accomplishments. Among the most notable is the strong relationship she forged with the International Folk Art Alliance and Folk Art Market.  She’s also responsible for developing MoIFA’s “Gallery of Conscience”, and more recently, the highly successful exhibition, “The Red that Colored the World.”

Bol started her museum career at the University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology as the Curator of Education, while she was completing her Ph.D. in Native American art history. In the 1980’s, after receiving her master’s and doctorate degrees in art history at UNM,  Dr. Bol worked at MoIFA  as Curator of Latin American and Native American folk art. In the 1990s, Dr. Bol left New Mexico to become the Associate Curator of Anthropology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and then later joined the faculty of the University of Texas.

Bol says she always wanted to return to New Mexico, and particularly Santa Fe, after working in museums and universities in Pennsylvania and Texas.  “It’s been my privilege and honor to serve at such an exciting and internationally significant museum, the Museum of International Folk Art,” Dr. Bol said.

Dr, Bol says she plans to volunteer for the Museum of International Folk Art to continue work on various international folk art research and publication projects, and will remain in Santa Fe after her retirement. 

An interim director will be appointed by Secretary Gonzales in the near future, and the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents and the NM Department of Cultural Affairs Office of the Secretary will announce a national search.

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