Rita Franquez had a short but fruitful role with the Guam Museum. The former teacher was the assistant director of the Guam Public Library in 1991 when Governor Joseph F. Ada signed Executive Order 91-17 which the created a Cultural and Historical Working Committee under the direction of Tony Mariano, the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Franquez, along with the members of the committee, were concerned that the museum needed some serious attention. The collections had far outgrown the small decrepit building at the Plaza de España in Hagåtña, which had been the home of the museum since 1954. The Guam Museum had been placed under the Guam Pubic Library in 1960.
The Committee hired a museum planner, Mary McCutcheon, of the Smithsonian Institution, to create a comprehensive planning document for a Guam Museum facility. Franquez thought it best to separate the museum from the library as the museum planning document recommended. When the library board rejected this idea, Franquez made her case with Governor Ada, a move that she said made her unpopular among her peers. However, Public Law 21-118, which separates the museum from the library, was signed into law by Ada in 1992.
Ada then moved Franquez to Adelup as a special assistant, where she created a museum exhibit on the upper floor of the multi-level facility. Without using government money, Franquez made the facility work by asking people to contribute their time, knowledge and skills, and even managed to get display furniture donated.
Another notable effort by Franquez was her work to repatriate items from the Hornbostel collection at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Hawai’i. These artifacts from the Mariana Islands had been at the Bishop Museum since the 1920s. Several crates of artifacts were returned to Guam and were displayed at Adelup. They are now a part of the Guam Museum’s permanent collections.