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.
Stay tuned for 2020's call for nominations in late spring 2020.
1959 Custom-built high security telephone, used in the North American Defense Command's Cheyenne Mountain complex during the nation's first DEFCON 2 alert status during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Painted metal, dimensions:11"x16"x22".
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 Late Victorian, wood mining table belonged to J.J. Brown; husband of the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”. The Brown’s wealth was acquired when J.J., a mining superintendent, made a fortuitous discovery of gold in the Little Johnny Mine. J.J. owned this table while he and Molly lived in Leadville on 7th Street. The legs of the table are carved to resemble seahorses that form an X shape. The table top was easily removable allowing it to collapse for transport on the back of a mule or horse. JJ would carry the table with him when he travelled into the mines.
The Thacher Cylindrical Slide rule preceded the modern slide rule. In 1881, a patent was granted to Edwin Thacher (1839-1920) to create a slide rule that could fit on a desk. The previous slide rule measured 59 feet, as compared to the Thacher slide rule at 22 inches long. Keuffel & Esser manufactured this “calculating instrument” for Thacher in 1887. With operating instructions affixed, the rule was housed in a wooden case with U.S.G.S. hydrography designation.
This collection comprises mug shots of Colorado inmates from 1871-1970s. Many of the earlier images are labeled on the reverse with information including the photographed party's name, crime, sentence, and various details of physical appearance (eye color, hair color, height, weight, etc.).
Originally located where the historic Nevada Ditch enters the Columbine Country Club, this headgate was installed in the 1950's. Made out of iron, the adjustable device consists of a hand-turned control wheel which raises or lowers the gate to control and divert the flow of water within the ditch. The gate is set within a frame that would have fit snugly into the ditch. Headgates were originally made from wood and iron, but these were eventually replaced with more sturdy iron and/or concrete gates like this artifact. Similar headgates are still used today.
Oeškeso (pronounced ōsh-kiss), a Cheyenne word for dog, inspired the name for the archaeological site at which the Oeškeso zoomorphic or animal effigy was recovered. The figure is characterized as a canine, although it could represent another animal prized by prehistoric plains inhabitants such as a deer, antelope or rabbit. It measures one and one-half inch in height, and is made of reddish brown fired ceramic. It has not been determined whether the Oeškeso effigy was a ceremonial object perhaps related to hunting, a child’s toy, or was intended for some other purpose.
Onlooker is important as it represents a dichotomy in American socio-political logic during the Second World War. While interned, Japanese-Americans were offered many of the trappings and services available to them prior to internment. However, the fact remains that they were prisoners. Onlooker is much like any other high school year book, but its myraid faces are those of persons that fell victim to grim circumstance.
This 2.5’ by 3.5’ poster, “The Plutonium Chemist’s Periodic Table,” is printed on ½” cardboard and was created during Dow Chemical’s contract with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to run the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Production facility north of Golden Colorado. The content was compiled by J.M. Cleveland, an employee of the U.S. Atomic Commission, and the unique artwork was done by T.G. Gray.
Protest flier by the organization American Disabled for Accessible Public Transit (ADAPT), 1983. This flier invited “wheelchair users from every state whose dream is a totally accessible bus system” to take a stand against the American Public Transit Association during their national convention held in Denver during October 1983. The flier described the protests as a “chance to demand our right to board every public bus in the nation” and encouraged picketing, rallies, demonstrations, and “wild parties” to disrupt the conference, which was attended by Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole, Vice President George Bush and Presidential Candidate Gary Hart.