Briefly discusses his background from a ranching family in southeastern New Mexico. Details his involvement with the founding of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
Tape 1, Side A
James Foley's grew up on a ranch near Hobbs, N.M. He remarks that when oil was discovered in the area in 1926-28, the ranchers were not too "shrewd" in making lease agreements.
At one time his family raised both cattle and sheep on the ranch. The sheep were not too well liked by the family. He tells an amusing anecdote about his uncle keeping a single sheep so he would "never forget how bad an animal they are."
Foley did not return to ranching after receiving an education at the University of New Mexico, but instead went into banking. He has been a banker in Belen since 1967, the family ranch is leased to a neighbor.
Discusses his role in the founding of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum [NMF&RHM]. He attempted to raise funds for the Museum and felt that raising funds from private sources was very difficult. Foley states that the fund raising consultants that were hired did not, in his opinion, do an adequate job of directing the fund raising activities. On the other hand, he states that the public funding of the NMF&RHM was much more generous than the original founders had anticipated. He credits G.X. McSherry as having been an important person in ensuring that the legislation to establish and fund the Museum was passed in the New Mexico Legislature.
Foley states that he doesn't feel that the general public reacted unfavorably to the controversy over the museum architect selection process in 1993, because they were not informed about it. He believes that they are not yet (1996) well-informed about the museum.
Tape 1, Side B
He states that Peter Mocho was a major influence on the development of the NMF&RHM in the Belen area.
He feels that the process of founding the NMF&RHM went a great deal quicker than he thought it could be done, given his experiences in working with other museums.
Foley discusses that many different groups will have competing expectations of the Museum, which he states is "good and bad".