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.
While the construction to expand the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose is moving along nicely, the exhibit team at History Colorado is busy planning the new exhibits to be installed there. One of the most exciting parts of exhibit development is selection of the artifacts to support the stories of the Ute people that we will tell.
Having officially finished the Winter Prather collection (expect to see a finding aid online soon!), I have time to share one of the more obscure parts of Prather’s biography. First, just to recap: Winter Prather was a prominent commercial and fine art photographer working mostly in the Denver, Colorado and Taos, New Mexico from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Thanks to the 2015 NHPRC Access to Historical Records grant that History Colorado received last May, I have been able to spend the last two months processing and cataloging Prather’s manuscripts and photographs.
In 1988 Bernice Lang donated her doll collection to History Colorado. Currently, staff and volunteers are working on the collection, originally started by Bernice’s mother, Minnie Belle Jackson, who came to Colorado by wagon as a child in 1867.
Soon to be on exhibit, this beautiful coffee service set has a unique history—not only because of who owned it, but also who made it. From the estate of Townsend Sherman McAllister, the set was donated to History Colorado in 1970. The donor’s father, Henry McAllister Jr. was raised in Colorado Springs and in 1896 married his college sweetheart Phebe Ketcham of Jericho, Long Island. In 1898, son Townsend Sherman was born in Colorado Springs, followed by Henry III in 1904. In 1906, the family moved to Denver where Henry Jr. established his general law practice. Phebe was active in St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, as well as in the Colonial Dames and Monday Literary Club. A prominent family in Denver, the McAllisters often entertained in their home at 1880 Gaylord Street. Guests not only enjoyed good food and company, they sat on antique furniture from Phebe’s family who settled Jericho, Long Island, during Colonial times and enjoyed beautiful art.
In this digital age, the way we read newspapers may have changed, but the characteristics and qualities of newspapers have remained largely the same. A newspaper is a first-hand creation with information relevant to the life and culture of the community it serves. A newspaper is, metaphorically, the eyes, voice and spirit of a community. History Colorado preserves those voices and stories on the best newspaper preservation format available: microfilm.
I’m from Georgia, born and raised a southerner through and through, and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, when it comes to historic places, people from the east think they have all the good stuff. But three decades ago I moved to Colorado and was astounded to find some of the richest, most vibrant historic places I've seen. I still remember my drive up I-70 seeing quaint mountain towns like Georgetown for the first time and being blown away. This place is something special.
Becoming an architect is a rather daunting task when your father is Frank Lloyd Wright. Although John Lloyd Wright had a hard time measuring up to the architectural achievements of his father, he was able to define his own place in history with the invention of Lincoln Logs in 1918. He found inspiration for the toy on a 1917 visit to Japan, where he assisted his father with the construction of the Imperial Hotel using a revolutionary technique of interlocking beams. The inherent simplicity of the design struck a chord with John, and soon after, he set out to democratize the technique for the enjoyment of America’s children.
**Disclaimer: While, of course, the use of the pejorative term “Jap” is no longer tolerated today, writers at the time of World War II used the term liberally. We have left the term intact to preserve the full accuracy of these historical records. Reader discretion is advised.**
There’s often a vast disconnect between those who fight wars and those who remain at home. A manuscript collection recently added to History Colorado’s Archives collection highlights a personal attempt to reconcile this gap. Mr. Ahrend “Ben” H. Turban was born in Denver in 1911 and grew up in various homes for orphans. After attending South High School and the Colorado School of Mines, Ben, as he liked to be called, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1938. He worked as civil engineer and surveyor in major points of military conflict throughout the Pacific, including Guadalcanal, Saipan, and Okinawa.
I have just finished rehousing and processing all of the photographic prints in the David DeHarport Collection! Hold your applause though; I still need to process approximately 2000 color slides, 6200 large format negatives, and 3000 35mm negatives. However, before I begin to wrangle with the organization of the DeHarport negatives, I must consider their long-term preservation.