History Colorado's incomparable collections—from books and manuscripts to artifacts and photographs—encapsulate the rich history of this state and help us understand the present in the context of the past.
We are currently looking for interns to assist with collections inventory, archaeology collections, as well as exhibits and registration - find out more here!
You can extend the life of your family’s papers, photographs, and heirlooms by following basic guidelines for care and storage. Here are some sources for more information on how to care for your collections.
It’s hard to believe that seventeen years have passed since History Colorado launched its Italian community documentation project. Guided by the History Colorado Collection Plan, the leaders of this initiative collaborated with the Italian American community statewide, aiming to better represent that community in History Colorado’s permanent collection. As an early immigrant group in Colorado, Italians brought their culture, traditions, and skills to our state—playing a major role in the businesses that supported a growing population while providing labor needed for the development of the railroad, mining, and agriculture in the place we call home.
Sportswriter Tommy Holmes once said of Babe Ruth, “I stopped talking about the Babe for the simple reason that I realized that those who had never seen him didn’t believe me.” This sentiment holds true today. Most know the name Babe Ruth, but many don’t fully understand the fascination and awe that he inspired as a player—even after his retirement from the game in June of 1935.
The exhibit Written on the Land: Ute Voices, Ute History will enable us to share Ute history and contemporary life through text, images, videos, interactives, and artifacts—the latter from History Colorado’s comprehensive Ute artifact collection and generous loans of contemporary items from the tribes. One of the most interesting Ute artifact types is the cradleboard; Ute people used cradleboards historically, and many still use them today. And, while many native people have used cradleboards, Ute cradleboards are distinctive for their basketry, tanned hides, and beadwork.
From its beginnings as an unruly mining town, Denver was described as “most lively...in any and all kinds of wickedness.” The writer, prospector William Hedges, went on to doubt that there was ever “a place on this continent where a greater amount of evil to the square acre was so spontaneously and openly developed” (quoted in Clark Secrest’s Hell’s Belles). Wickedness ran rampant no more openly than on Market Street, nee Holladay Street, nee McGaa Street. Denver’s notorious vice district, known as The Row, teemed with opulent parlor houses, maisons de joie, common brothels, dancehalls, hurdy gurdy houses, and lowly cribs.
Here we offer a tour of “Hell’s Swift Alley" that you can take by way of reading or by walking to the designated (or approximate) locations.
There are over 10,500 artifacts in History Colorado’s historical archaeology collection, representing a variety of artifact types that provide insight into life during the state’s early settlement. The artifacts are from more than twenty significant sites—such as historic houses, stage stations, and fortified strongholds. Funding from the Statewide Internet Portal Authority recently made records for the historical artifacts available digitally via the online portal here.
History Colorado’s exhibit Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects highlights the history of Colorado through the stories behind one hundred objects. At the end of the exhibit, we ask visitors to fill out a card identifying what they think the 101st object should be. In this blog post we share about visitors’ 101st object suggestions and what we’re doing in response to them.
Among the many pieces of correspondence available to researchers at the Hart Library are the letters of Martin Bischoff (Mss. 01509), who wrote home to his family from England during World War II. Here, Martin—somewhat casually—tells his family of a disaster in the English Channel that would earn him the Purple Heart.