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.
WR.1104.1 is the United States flag carried by the 1st Regiment of Colorado Volunteers during its march into New Mexico Territory during the Civil War. The standard measures 48 by 105.5 inches. Materials utilized in construction are cotton, wool, and brass. The thirteen stripes are made of red or white plain weave wool fabric. The stripes are machine sewn together. The canton is made of blue plain weave wool fabric. Thirty-four white cotton fabric stars are hand sewn to the field. The heading is made of twill weave cotton fabric with five brass grommets. The fly hem is hand stitched.
The brochures and photograph tell the story of self-supporting women of Chicago and their annual migration to Colorado. The photograph was taken in Boulder at the historic “Bluebird Cottage”, near present day Chautauqua. It shows Jean Sherwood, (founder of the Bluebird organization) having tea with several Bluebird members. The Blue Bird Bulletins list upcoming events in Boulder and Gold Hill while the Bluebird Song Book was issued to every member for singing occasions. The Bluebird Cottage & Lodge brochure gave members information about the trip from Chicago to Boulder and then on to Gold Hill.
The "Alma King" is the finest mineral specimen of rhodochrosite in the world. It a football sized ruby red beautifully pointed crystal, set on a bed of snowy white quartz. Some museum visitors who see it remark that it looks like a gigantic piece of candy, and wonder whether or not it tastes like cherry, strawberry, or raspberry.
The CF&I Mine Rescue Car No. 1 was designed by the Wagner Palace Sleeping Car Company in 1882. It remained in service as a sleeping car until 1910 when it was purchased by the U.S. Bureau of Mines and sold to CF&I in 1923. For the next two decades, it served as a rolling classroom promoting mine safety training in an effort to mitigate the dozens of mine disasters that were occurring in mining districts along the Front Range. It later became the Scrapyard Department office at the Pueblo steel mill until the company’s bankruptcy in the early 1990s.
For ages, Plains Indian warriors drew and painted illustrations of their deeds on rock, bison hides, tipi liners or robes. In the mid nineteenth, they began to use other materials which they learned of after contact with Anglos such as pencils and ledgerbooks obtained through trade, gift or capture. This Cheyenne Dog Soldier ledgerbook is an excellent example of ledger art. It is a hardbound composition-style ledger with a marbleized cover containing 106 color pencil drawings by fourteen different warrior artists. The drawings are made on pages ruled in light blue ink, with the page number on the outside upper margin.
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.”
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.
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.
The Mantle’s Cave Collection includes Native American projectile points, basketry, leather bags, pendants, fishhooks, a necklace, shoes, and headdresses, mostly dating to around AD 1000. Another part of this collection is the associated archive of field notes, describing every step in the excavation and each incredible find. The most compelling artifacts include a vibrant pink/orange and yellow feather headdress, which is stunning in its artistry and preservation. Another piece is the deer-scalp headdress in remarkable condition which is the oldest item in the collection from around 3,500 years ago.