Borderlands of Southern Colorado // El Pueblo History Museum
The Arkansas River in Colorado (or Rio Nepesta) once carved the border between the United States and Mexico. El Pueblo History Museum marks the site of the original El Pueblo, established in 1842 along the border, and is well situated to tell the stories of the Borderlands of Southern Colorado. The river and the landscape of this site encompass a grand history: from a place of meeting between indigenous tribes to a physical border between nations, from the boundary between mountains and plains to everyday convergences of cultural and ethnic borders.
This exhibit illuminates the site’s specific geopolitical border history, as well as the region’s historic and ongoing borders of cultures, ethnicities, landscapes, industries, religions and identities. Visitors will experience:
- Interactive map that showcases shifting zones of control through time
- An original American flag with 38 stars, marking Colorado’s statehood
- The original Colorado Constitution printed in Spanish and German
- Adobe building station
- Ancestor map, where local visitors can connect how their families came to Pueblo
- Video interviews with residents whose ancestors lived in southern Colorado before it was in the US
- Beet topping tool from the Bracero Program
- 1940s interactive kitchen that showcases ethnic food traditions, including the Pueblo Chile
A focal piece of the exhibit will be the temporary display of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, the 1848 treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, a conflict that started as a border dispute. The treaty moved the political border between United States and Mexico from the Arkansas River to the Rio Grande, but it could not shift the linguistic, ethnic, and geological borders that were already taking shape. In shifting this border, the Treaty impacted the lives of families who still consider southern Colorado home. This will be the first time the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo has been on exhibit in Colorado. The treaty will be on display until July 16, 2018.