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.
Photographs from Our Collection
Curator is in
Have you ever wondered what kind of treasures are behind the scenes at the museum? Do you want to know more about how something goes from your basement to an exhibit at the museum? Want to know what's new with the History Colorado collection? Meet curators and other Curatorial Services and Collections Access staff at the History Colorado Center on the second Monday of each month to chat and answer questions.
(11-2 pm, 2nd Mon. of each month, 2nd Floor, History Colorado Center)
Items on view for a limited time:
Photo of the Month: An Otherworldly View
“Pikes Peak with clouds and railroad tracks” by Harry H. Buckwalter (Object ID: 90.156.1451)
(Hall by Stephen H. Hart Research Center, 2nd Floor, History Colorado Center)
Pop-Up Artifact Exhibit
Strange & Wonderful Finds from the CWA Newspaper Index
(10-4 pm, Tues. through Sat., Stephen H. Hart Research Center, 2nd Floor, History Colorado Center)
Hand Print Pictographs from the San Juan Region, near Monticello, Utah (James Mellinger Estate, Object ID: O.8146.1)
(Window in Zoom In exhibit, 3rd Floor, History Colorado Center)
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.
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.
Federico Peña was elected Denver’s first Hispanic mayor in 1983. He went on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation and then as Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration.
Earlier this spring, Peña shared his oral history with our curator of archives, Shaun Boyd, and our director of community engagement, Marissa Volpe. Below is a summary of what he shared—you can also listen to it in its entirety below or here.
It should come as no surprise that, as lovers of stories, many History Colorado staffers find inspiration and delight in listening to podcasts across a wide spectrum of topics.
For this year’s Podcast Day, we asked them which ones they might recommend to people interested in learning more about history, especially the history of our beloved state. Here’s what they had to say!
Visitors to our museums have the opportunity to see hundreds of historic objects that help tell hundreds of stories about Colorado’s past, present, and future. But how these objects get collected, organized, interpreted, and ultimately shared is a story that often goes untold.
This year, we posed the question to you: If you could ask a curator anything, what would you ask? What they do day-to-day? How they prepare objects for exhibit? Something else?
Now’s your chance to find out! We're excited to give you a peek at what goes on behind the scenes at our museums across the state.
The History Colorado Center’s exhibit Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects highlights the history of Colorado through the stories behind a hundred objects drawn mostly from the History Colorado collection. At the end of the exhibit, visitors are asked to fill out a card telling us what they think the 101st object should be. In this blog post we share about visitors’ 101st object suggestions and how we’re responding to them.