History Colorado Announces the 2021 Miles-Bancroft Awards, Provides $2,500 to Organizers of Three Colorado Historical Projects
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DENVER — July 30, 2021 — History Colorado is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Miles-Bancroft Awards, presented annually to some of the most exemplary and impactful historical projects across the state.
Museums, archives, schools, organizations, and even individual applicants submit projects each year for a chance to have their work highlighted by History Colorado, and to receive one of three monetary awards. This year’s awards recognize a variety of noteworthy accomplishments by a community-driven exhibit, an impactful digitization project, and a series of volunteer-led initiatives.
2021 MILES-BANCROFT AWARD WINNERS
Caroline Bancroft Award - Lafayette Arts & Cultural Resources Department, Racism and Discrimination at the Lafayette Swimming Pool - 1934 Exhibit ($1,000)
The Racism and Discrimination at the Lafayette Swimming Pool exhibit is an outstanding example of a community driven project that fosters both self reflection and inspiration in how the public approaches Colorado history. The exhibit was organized by the City of Lafayette Arts & Cultural Resources Department and focused on the story of Rose Lueras, a Latina woman who legally challenged the city’s white only restriction on the local swimming pool in 1934. Although the case brought against the city was unsuccessful at the time, this story of defiance against institutional racism survived within the local Latino community for years. The research and planning that went into the project involved Lafayette locals, descendants of Rose and families involved in the case, and both city and state institutions on almost every level. Their collaboration produced an exhibition at the Collective Community Arts Center in Fall 2020, a wealth of research about both racism and activism in the community in the 1930s, and a plaque recognizing Rose’s efforts at the community pool she was barred from using. The project not only highlighted an important and overlooked chapter of Lafayette’s history, but allowed community members to shine in telling that story for all to hear and recognize.
Josephine Miles Award - Eagle County Historical Society and Eagle Valley Library District, The Alfred Borah Journals, Digitization and Transcription ($1,000)
The digitization of the Alfred Borah Journals by the Eagle County Historical Society and Eagle Valley Library District demonstrates that even one primary source can have a great impact on a community. Alfred Borah was a homesteader in Eagle County who first settled in the Brush Creek area in 1882. Between 1880 and 1905, he kept detailed journals of his experiences, highlighting places visited, relationships, activities like hunting expeditions, and significant events such as mining accidents. The journals, totalling 300 pages, are now in the collection of Eagle County’s historical society, and are more accessible to the public than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed much of the process, but through collaboration with Borah’s descendents, research of the society archives, a series of grant applications, and careful scanning and transcription work, the project was steered to completion. The journals have been utilized in several research requests already, and have even been used to verify building sites on Eagle County Open Space lands. The Eagle County Historical Society hopes to continue using the journals in history hikes and a future exhibit to further reflect Colorado history through Alfred Borah’s life.
Honorary Josephine Miles Award - Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum, 2020 Volunteer Museum Projects ($500)
The Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum kept itself busy throughout 2020 with many different projects, almost all of them implemented with help from their amazing volunteers. The museum has long involved veterans in Broomfield in their activities, but the pace at which they assisted in its programs despite the pandemic was noteworthy. They organized several educational initiatives for local schools to teach Colorado military history, including a history night at Prospect Ridge Academy and self-guided museum tour booklets for 7th to 12th grade students. They were also instrumental in developing a new Cold War fallout shelter exhibit, and engaged the community in heavily attended (and socially distanced) veterans activities such as a Women of World War II panel and a Veterans Memorial Day program. These initiatives continue to highlight the history of Colorado veterans while making volunteer involvement and leadership a key part of the experience.
About the Miles-Bancroft Awards
Named for former Colorado Historical Society Volunteer President Josephine Miles and local Colorado historian Caroline Bancroft, these annual awards highlight outstanding projects throughout the state that further understanding of Colorado history in exemplary and unique ways. Projects can come in many forms, including educational initiatives, publications, exhibits, and preservation projects. Any institution, organization, or individual involved in interesting and exciting Colorado history projects are encouraged to apply. The awards also hold a monetary component of up to $1000 to help recipients continue their amazing work.
Details on next year’s awards and how to apply will be available soon. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
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 142-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), which is the nation’s largest preservation program of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state.
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 HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.