West of Beyond: The Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston Collection of the American West
On Permanent Display
Donated by Rogers Aston, The Aston Collection of the American West is one of the most popular and historically significant aspects of the Roswell Museum and Art Center’s holdings. An independent oil producer, rancher, sculptor, and philanthropist, Aston developed a keen interest in the West during time spent on his family’s various ranches.
When nearly forty, Aston began casting bronzes, using his collection as prop material for the creation of sculptures portraying poignant moments in the history of the American West. Noted western artist Tom Lovell, a mentor to Aston, commented, “Devotion to detail and fidelity to character are his hallmarks. One may be certain that if a weapon or costume is portrayed, it is correct.”
In 1999, Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston bequeathed their collection to the Roswell Museum and Art Center, and in that year the Museum embarked on a $676,000 project that would provide an interpretive framework for these objects. On October 27, 2006 the Museum opened its installation of this expansive collection, West of Beyond.
West of Beyond explores the West as a site of intercultural exchange, and reveals stories, both ordinary and extraordinary, spanning a vast terrain of time and space. Containing over 2,000 artifacts and works of art, the exhibit is arranged into five topical thematic clusters that stress cultural change and interaction over time: Family and Community, Spirit, Farming and Ranching, Trade and Exchange, and War and Conquest.
The Roswell Museum and Art Center acknowledges the following donors and individuals who have contributed to this undertaking
The Estate of Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston
Save America’s Treasures, a grant administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, through the efforts of the late Congressman Joe Skeen with assistance from Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete V. Domenici
State of New Mexico through the efforts of Senators Rod Adair, Stuart Ingle, and Tim Jennings and Representatives Dan Foley, Pauline Ponce, and the late Avon Wilson
Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston Trust
McCune Charitable Foundation
Roswell Museum and Art Center Foundation
Pecos Valley Potters Guild
City of Roswell
R.D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation
Helen Elliott Memorial Fund
Other private donors
This project was designed by Lord Cultural Resources.
Images (top to bottom):
Rogers Aston, Coronado Sights Zuni Pueblo, NM, 1978, bronze, Gift of Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston, 1990.005.0009.
Zuni Storage Jar, c. 1900-1950
Disclaimer: The material in this exhibit is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.