Murray Ryan Visitor Center
The Silver City Visitor Center provides visitors and locals with an abundance of information in the form of maps, brochures, flyers, knowledgeable staff and volunteers, updated events listings, and exhibits. Buttons, magnets and post cards are available for purchase.
Featured exhibits have included: The Million Bones Project; Merchants of Main Street; Day of the Dead Ofrenda; and Clay Arts Trail exhibits.
Slide shows about recent events show on three large screens, and a large mural by the famous Chicano muralist Carlos Callejo de la Calle adorns the wall above the reception desk. Elsewhere in the facility are paintings, weavings, quilts, clay art and clay murals.
The exterior of the Center is covered with extensive murals installed by the Youth Mural Project of the Mimbres Region Arts Council.
The Visitor Center building, owned by the Town of Silver City, is located at 201 N. Hudson St., Silver City, New Mexico. It is dedicated to the memory of Murray Ryan, a New Mexican political leader and long-time resident of Silver City.
Murray was born July 22, 1922 in Central, New Mexico to James S. Ryan and Lyda Murray Ryan. He was born in the same home as his beloved mother. He was the second born following his sister Martha and later was joined by his brother Jim and sister Mary. His early education was at St. Mary's Academy and Western High School. He attended New Mexico State Teachers College for two years and was then given an appointment to West Point by Senator Dennis Chavez.
He graduated from West Point in June, 1945 where the commencement speaker was General Omar Bradley. He married Marion Buchella of Hurley, NM shortly after graduation. They were then stationed in Germany until 1948. After Germany he finished out his military career at Ft. Lewis in Washington in 1949. During their time in Washington their son William Murray Ryan was born. After Murray left the military the family came home to Silver City. He participated in several businesses including his father's liquor distribution company Silver Liquor Company. Eventually he went to work for Kennecott as the Safety Director from 1975 to 1987. During this time they had four more children, Kathleen, Robin, and twins Kevin and Kerry. He also entered into politics first as a school board member and then as a State Representative for District 38 from 1969 to 1998.
During his political career he supported many community projects such as the Southwestern New Mexico Services Helping Children and Adults, the acquisition of emergency medical surgical equipment for San Lorenzo, the Senior Center for San Lorenzo, and the Visitor's Center in Silver City. He was also very dedicated to education and worked hard to support Western New Mexico University and its students. His support for the nursing and occupational therapy programs was key in getting them funded. He also supported renovations for Watts Hall, the Fine Arts Center Theater, and the Miller Library. He was recognized in 1998 by the University for his contributions when they bestowed upon him the Honorary Degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters. Murray was also an active member of Silver City Rotary, American Legion, Elks Lodge, Farm Bureau, and St. Francis Newman Center.
Murray loved the State of New Mexico and devoted his life to the people of South Western New Mexico. He enjoyed how special our multi-cultural town of Silver city is. He saw everyone as a friend and never knew a stranger. He enjoyed going out to eat and seeing old friends; if none were around he would make new friends.