Bond, Frank M.
Briefly describes his personal history. The majority of the interview describes his tenure on the Board of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Foundation (NMF& RHF). He also served as a legal representative for the Foundation.
Tape 1, Side A
Frank Bond was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1943 and lived there until he was ten. His father died then and his mother remarried a man who owned ranches.
His great-grandfather came to the area in 1883 at a time when Las Vegas, not Santa Fe, was the economic center of the state. From there he moved to Espanola and started a mercantile operation. This grew into a large operation and he eventually controlled ninety percent of the wool production in the state.
His mother's father came to New Mexico for health reasons. He started the Charles L. Gold Company and was in competition with his other grandfather's store, Frank Bond and Son.
The paternal side of Bond's family went into ranching in Espanola. In the 1930s and '40s, sheep was the dominant livestock animal, the sheep-raising industry went into decline after World War II when Dupont developed nylon.
Bond, while knowing and liking ranching, went to law school. But prior to that he graduated with a PHD in Spanish, then taught at the University of Illinois as a graduate student. It wasn't until the 1980s, that he went to the University of New Mexico for a law degree. His interest became that of natural resource litigation, including major water cases.
He is very interested in the culture and history of New Mexico. His involvement with the Farm and Livestock Bureau and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association encouraged his interest in the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. New Mexico is a farm and ranch state, a rural state; Bond would like to educate children about food production, and preserve the stories of the farmer and cowboy.
Tape 2, Side A
Bond ran for governor in 1990 and did not win, but following that he became a member of the Museum's Foundation Board. He was active in providing contacts for fund raising and in gaining legislative support. The challenge was to get the Legislature to make a commitment to establish and fund the Museum, which it did in 1993. "Raising money is work," he says. "The Farm and Livestock Bureau and the Cattle Growers Association ...had some real impact" (in establishing the Museum). Bond also felt that bringing in various consultants, for architecture and design, was helpful.
He mentions the political problems encountered in determining the location for the Museum. He agrees that the Office of Cultural Affairs is the appropriate custodian of this Museum and the other New Mexican museums, but does state that this Museum differs in its agricultural basis. Bond refers to the controversies over the architect and bidding processes though he's pleased with the final result
Bond sees as his priorities: artifact preservation, education, and the collection of histories. He thinks it is important to gather history of the three main ethnic components of New Mexico, "the Hispanic, the Anglo, and the Indian." He comments that few museums could demonstrate prehistoric agricultural processes up to and through present day practices. He doesn't think such study is the main mission of the Museum but rather it is a place to explore New Mexico's cultural and historical past. State farmers, ranchers and sheepherders all support the Museum.
Among the influential instigators of the Museum was Helmuth Naumer, Mr. Bond says. He came from an agricultural background as well as having been active in San Antonio museums. Dr. Edson Way also was influential. Bond also mentions the influence of Felicia Thal, and of Bill Stephens.
He feels that New Mexico has the most comprehensive museum system in America. Adequate funding and the hiring of the appropriate number of staff is currently a problem, but one that Bond feels will ultimately be handled by the Foundation and the Museum Board. Looking ahead, he hopes the museum will be open and running in five years from the date of this interview. He feels long term educational planning should be in place.