The Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts program highlights the importance of historic and cultural heritage and honors and recognizes all the organizations in Colorado that care for and preserve photographs, documents, rare books and manuscripts, audio recordings, film, digital materials, art, and historic, archaeological and natural science specimens.
Learn more here about the top ten nominations for the years 2013-2017. Details about submissions for 2018 coming soon!
Dr. Justina L. Warren Ford’s medical bag is made of heavy black leather with two sturdy handles, a zippered top, and four small feet. The handles are held to the bag with four bullet-shaped tabs and heavy D-rings. Tabs and other parts are stitched in white.
1956 draft of The Wilderness Act. The Denver Public Library’s Western History/Genealogy is the repository for the Wilderness Society Records (CONS130). The Act’s primary author, Howard Zahniser, was Executive Director of the Wilderness Society. The collection contains Zahniser’s own drafts of the Wilderness Act which he revised over 50 times between 1956 and 1964. The 19page revision dated March 19, 1956 contains Zahniser’s definition of wilderness. His language would later be fleshed out in often quoted Section 2 C of the Wilderness Act, “where earth and its community of life are untramelled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
The first edition of The Colorado Chieftain Volume 1, Number 1, was printed June 1, 1868. The original 1868 edition was bound with the 1868 weekly editions and stored in a safe at the The Pueblo Chieftain for 145 years. In 2013 the edition was donated to the Pueblo City-County Library District Special Collections department and added to their complete collection of The Pueblo Chieftain and Star Journal newspapers spanning 1869-1965. The fragile first edition is in need of conservation, but the entire bound volume is in remarkable condition considering the age and ephemeral nature of newsprint.
This nearly complete, three piece moccasin made from tanned bison hide sewed with sinew, was recovered from excavations at Franktown Cave. The sole is an oval shaped piece of hide folded over the foot and gathered in a tight, puckered, whipstitch seam at the end of the tongue, similar to that on modern “moccasinstyle” slippers. The heel is formed by folding the sides of the back end of the sole together forming a distinctive inverted “T” seam. Moccasins of this type were likely made by the ancestors of the modern Navajo and Apache groups now found in the Southwest and Southern Plains.
The Fulford Signal was the newspaper of the small, short-lived mining boomtown of Fulford, Colorado, and was printed for 22 issues dating April to November of 1893. This special one-page “EXTRA!” was released quickly on Monday, July 3, 1893 to spread the news of a gold strike and was printed onto orange paper—the only issue to ever do so. The paper lists names of producing claims and early assay office reports of weight and value, enticing more miners to the area. This exceedingly rare issue was donated by author Richard Perske and is remarkably intact with clear, readable text.
Niwot's 1910 Fire Cart is made of galvanized steel with cast-iron yokes clamped around the top and middle of the tank. The two cast iron wheels measure 50-inches in diameter. This cart is a factory floor model, not intended to be used outdoors and designed to be pulled by hand, not by draft animals. The front panel on the tank reads that it is a "Buffalo No.21 Soda and Acid Chemical Fire Engine" made in Buffalo, NY, USA. Instructions to charge the mixture and maintenance are stamped on a 13"x11" brass plaque on the cart.
The collection of glass plate slides contains 85 slides with more than 50 unique images were created around 1923. The slides were produced by benevolent committees of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Many of the photographs were taken within the Beth-El General Hospital and School of Nursing, showing the facilities and medical practices of the time as well as the nursing staff and students at work and play.
An unknown sign painter created this curtain in 1927-28 to grace the stage of the Rex Theatre, a popular movie theatre and playhouse on Main Street in Louisville, Colorado. The curtain includes advertisements for twenty-two downtown businesses, highlighting the owners’ family names as well as two-digit telephone numbers and some business services or amenities. With a border illusion of elegant red drapes, this oil on canvas curtain was located in the same building for eighty years at which time it was donated to the Louisville Historical Museum.
Harvey T. Carter’s archival collection contains photo albums, correspondence, extensive climbing records and personal papers, climbing gear, and other items. Collected throughout his life, it includes many photos of rock formations and climbing routes, particularly in Colorado. Carter’s collection includes aid gear, traditional protection, ropes, shoes, bolting equipment, and camping gear, some of which are unique handmade items. Carter recorded many Colorado first ascents and his map collection is organized and covers many Colorado climbing areas. Carter created his own system to rank the difficulty of climbs and applied it to many of Colorado’s climbs.