GOOD NEWS: Sul Ross names Museum of the Big Bend Director

Mary Bones was recently named director of the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University.

Bones, a museum employee since October 2000, served as interim director since February 2017, following the resignation of Liz Jackson. She began work as curator of collections, then oversaw exhibits and education programs prior to her appointment.

“I am thrilled to have this position,” she said. “I work with a great staff and on behalf of the Museum of the Big Bend, we are proud to be a part of the community and helping to tell the story of the region, its history and its people.”

Bones cited three primary roles of the Museum of the Big Bend: a source for instructors and students “to learn about the history of our region;” serving the tri-county area “to tell the story of the Big Bend through permanent exhibits and other stories;” and to be a center for visitors, potential Sul Ross students and potential new residents, “serving them through our outreach and programming efforts.”

During her tenure, Bones has seen the museum expand outreach and education programs, ranging from lectures to art camps to children’s activities. “We’re not just static in exhibits, we also strive to interact and engage people in our educational opportunities,” she said.

An upcoming exhibit in collaboration with the Texas Photographic Society, “FotoTexas II,” will also include “Look, Learn and Shoot,” photography seminars for area residents.

Trappings of Texas remains the primary fundraiser, but a multi-million-dollar capital campaign will also be launched soon for construction of the Museum Annex. The annex, to be constructed on land just north of the existing building, will house a permanent exhibit of famed artist Tom Lea’s paintings depicting the western beef industry, gallery space for rotating exhibits and a large meeting area for special events, including an enclosed room and adjoining raised patio area.

Bones said the staff is also revamping artifact cases to display items “that tell brand new stories of the Big Bend and its people. We have phenomenal energy for a small staff.”

Bones, the daughter of a career military officer, was born in Hawaii shortly before its statehood, and moved with her family to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio at the age of eight. She attended the University of Texas, then Sul Ross, where she received a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry and a Master’s degree in History and Art History. She lives in Fort Davis with her husband, Jim Bones, a noted photographer. Her three children, Amelia, Paul and Brian, are all Austin residents.