Press Release

Happy Harts! History Colorado Marks Another Historic Year of Preservation | #HistoryColorado

Denver, Colo. (February 10, 2021)  — Shining and resilient elements of Colorado’s history take a curtain call today.

Sara Doll, Outreach Specialist
History Colorado, State Historical Fund 
303-549-6190 (cell) |

Videos featuring the 2021 recipients of the Stephen H. Hart Awards are now available on History Colorado’s YouTube channel and at The vignettes were released yesterday to help kick off the 2021 Saving Places Conference organized by Colorado Preservation, Inc., held virtually this year through February 12. This year’s awards include an introduction by Governor Jared Polis. History Colorado also begins to share its draft 2030 Historic Preservation Plan during the annual conference.

Since 1986, History Colorado has presented these awards, named after Colorado’s first State Historic Preservation Officer, to recognize outstanding projects and individual achievements in archaeology and historic preservation throughout Colorado. The 2021 Stephen H. Hart Award recipients are:

Governor's Award: Boulder County Courthouse National Register Nomination Amendment
State Historic Preservation Officer's Award: Japanese-American Resource Survey, Otero County
State Archaeologist's Award: Palmer Trash Discovery/Camp Creek Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Honorable Mention: Coronado Lodge National Register Nomination
Honorable Mention: Lithophones of the Great Sand Dunes National Park

More information and video about the recipients is available here.

Like the Centennial Farms and Ranches program, the Hart Awards join a host of History Colorado services and hallmark occasions that have continued despite Covid-19 disruptions. The History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF) finished 2020 with all of its grant rounds completed on schedule, awarding more than 100 grants last year. The final round of 2020 awarded grants to 20 projects, amid 244 active projects in 55 Colorado counties at year’s end. The fund also launched a new series of non-competitive grants on January 1 and a new SHF guidebook on February 1, available on the SHF website. In 2021, the History Colorado State Historical Fund commemorates 30 years of providing multi-layered economic stimulus to Colorado communities. The nation’s largest preservation grants program of its kind, the SHF has now surpassed $2 billion of total economic impact on our state since its inception in 1991. A yearlong anniversary exhibit opens at the History Colorado Center on April 30.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at History Colorado finished 2020 by streamlining its services into a pair of optimized divisions: Cultural Resources Support Services, led by State Archaeologist Dr. Holly Kathryn Norton; and Preservation Incentive Programs, led by Dr. Chris Bowles. Norton’s division ensures smooth and productive partnerships with local governments, fellow state entities, and national agencies that depend on History Colorado. Bowles’s division, which includes the History Colorado State Historical Fund, will publish History Colorado’s 2030 Historic Preservation Plan this spring. History Colorado’s next decade of service will build beyond a solid history of economic impact to new heights of community vitality, social accountability, and environmental sustainability. The plan sets a bold vision for an equitable and just preservation ethic where all of Colorado’s voices drive the conversation about what is significant and preserved through the stories and places they care about.

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 141-year-old institution that operates Colorado’s oldest museum, nine additional museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF). The SHF currently administers more than 240 grants across Colorado, of which more that 70% are allocated in rural areas.

In the spirit of healing and education, we acknowledge the 48 contemporary tribes with historic ties to the state of Colorado. These tribes are our partners. We consult with them when we plan exhibits; collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts; do archaeological work; and create educational programs. We recognize these Indigenous peoples as the original inhabitants of this land.

History Colorado’s outlets are publishing Black voices and confronting entrenched racism in historic preservation. Beginning in 2019 History Colorado has added curators of Latino Heritage and LGBTQ+ History to its staff, and added a full-time position to its Museum of Memory team, which works proactively to incorporate underserved communities and voices into its contemporary collecting initiative and other efforts. The History Colorado Center is the nation’s first state history museum to display a monument toppled last summer with new, inclusive interpretation. History Colorado now shares anti-racist grounding virtues in all of its job postings, and asks all applicants to describe how these principles show up in their work.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and nine other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.