Carol Lovelady tabbed as new PPHM director

Posted by Chip Chandler on
Carol Lovelady is new director of Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

An Amarillo woman whose family were among the city's earliest residents has been named director of Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon.

Carol Lovelady, who has been serving as interim director since Guy "Cliff" Vanderpool left the museum in April, has already begun her duties at the museum.

“We conducted a careful review of a number of very qualified candidates,” said Walter Wendler, president of West Texas A&M University, in a news release. “Carol Lovelady rose to the top of the list as a person with tremendous interest in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and its continued development as a strong partner with West Texas A&M University. I am pleased that she has accepted our offer, and she will begin work immediately in charting a course for continued progress.”

Lovelady stepped in as interim director May 16.

She said she didn't expect to stay on when she first started as interim director: "I told the committee I would stay until October, but when I got here, I really came to believe that I was the right person for the job at this time, and a lot of that is because I'm from this area and because I am deeply appreciative of the people in this area who support the museum."

She first joined the PPHM board of directors in the 1990s, then served as its president from 2010-12, but her ties to the museum date back to her childhood.

"I have always loved the museum," said Lovelady, 61. "I was one of those people who came to the museum on the train (from Amarillo) when I was a little girl.

"I've watched the museum grow and change, and it's a tremendous honor to carry the museum and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society into the future."

Lovelady's roots in Amarillo are deep: She's the daughter of former mayor L. Ray Vahue and community volunteer Helen Vahue. A former journalist and public relations director, she has worked for the Amarillo Globe-News, the former High Plains Baptist Hospital and, as we were known at the time, KACV-TV. She has volunteered for Llano Cemetery and Presbyterian Home for Children, among other organizations.

As director, Lovelady will oversee all aspects of the museum’s operations, the news release said, continuing to build on the museum’s reputation as well as the visitor base to share the cultural heritage of the Texas Panhandle through its extensive collections, exhibitions and educational programming.

"My goal is to build the audience by telling the story of the people of this area, from the very first people who lived here to the people who've just moved here," she said.

The museum, 2503 Fourth Ave. in Canyon on the WT campus, opened in 1933 thanks to the efforts of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, founded in 1921 by Hattie Anderson. Today, the museum attracts about 60,000 visitors per year and has more than 2 million artifacts in its collection. 



Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at on Facebook.

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