May 22, 2023 -- The board of directors is delighted to welcome Alyce Sadongei as our new Executive Director. She will bring an incredible background and an exciting expanded vision to Mission Garden—the focal point for interpretation of Tucson's birthplace.
Alyce will begin her work as Executive Director the week of July 10, 2023. She has previous experience with the planning of the Tucson Origins Heritage Park, of which Mission Garden was part. While Assistant Curator for Native American Relations at the Arizona State Museum, Alyce helped coordinate input by Tohono O'odham elders to the planning of the Park, including the ancestral O'odham village of S-cuk Ṣon.
Alyce Sadongei (Kiowa/Tohono O’odham) was the first Native American director of the American Indian Museum Studies Program at the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Museum Programs where she developed training workshops for tribal museums and cultural centers. She later worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian where she laid the foundation for the current training opportunities available at NMAI.
Alyce left the Smithsonian Institution to serve as the Assistant Curator for Native American Relations at the Arizona State Museum. During her tenure there, she led an eight-year project that focused on tribal libraries, archives and museums in partnership with the Arizona State Library and funded by Institute of Museum and Library Services. She has subject expertise in repatriation, consultation and research regarding pesticide use on museum objects subject to repatriation and was also a contributor to the Protocols for Native American Archives.
Alyce received the Director’s Chair Award from the Western Museums Association for her contributions to the museum field at a national level. She was the first recipient of a leadership award given by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums in recognition of her work with tribal communities throughout all discipline areas of archives, museums and libraries. She has published work focusing on issues related to Native American repatriation, collections care, and community collaboration.
Alyce has served on numerous boards and commissions including the Arizona Humanities Council, Pima Arts Council, now known as the Arts Foundation of Southern Arizona, the governor-appointed state board for Historic and Geographic Names and was co-founder of the Native American Museum Collaboration Network, now known as the Indigenous People’s Network at the American Alliance of Museums. She is currently a commissioner for the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission. She most recently was the Program Manager at the American Indian Language Development Institute at the University of Arizona.