A Day in the Life of the Collections and Library Division
At History Colorado, care of and access to the collection is handled by the Collections and Library Division. The Division includes the Curators, Collections Management and Registration, the Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Center, and the Photo Studio.
On any given day, you may find division staff cataloguing artifacts, giving a behind-the-scenes tour, responding to a patron request to see a collection, meeting with a donor who has something they think History Colorado might be interested in, working at a regional museum or off-site storage to inventory collection items, doing research for an upcoming exhibit, photographing an event, or responding to an e-mail inquiry on some aspect of Colorado history. Every day is different.
History Colorado collects in three primary areas: Archives, Artifacts, and Photography, with curators for each .The artifact collection is further divided into three areas of curatorial responsibility: Art and Design, Culture and Community--which includes archaeological and Native American material and holds responsibility for compliance with federal repatriation law--and History. Relocation to the new facility gave us an opportunity to rethink our approach to the collection--what is in it, how it’s organized, and how we can provide greater public access to it.
We recognized that while there are five distinct curatorial areas, they are really part of one unified collection. Provenance, the history of a collection item, is important. It gives context to the object and connects it to the other collection items that share the same history. Maintaining these information links between objects, especially those that are in different curatorial areas, is critical and something that we have not always done well. We are actively working to restore lost connections between archives, artifacts, and photographs that we have collected over the past 134 years. One of the things that makes the History Colorado collection special is that we collect holistically; the type of material collected is immaterial. Our focus is on the stories embodied in the collection and how they document and illuminate Colorado’s history.
The goal of the Collections and Library Division is to provide excellent stewardship of the collection while providing broad public access to it. The Library & Research Center, which is located on the 2nd floor of the History Colorado Center, is the central access point to the collection. Visitors can physically access the archives and photography collections and make arrangements for access to artifacts. Researchers can also browse or search our collection catalogs online to explore our collection more deeply.
As Director of the Collections and Library Division, I have the pleasure and privilege of working with the exceptional division staff on a broad range of projects, just a sampling of which are mentioned here.
Director of Collections and Library Division
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