Press Release

Discover the Winter Warriors in History Colorado’s New 10th Mountain Division Exhibition

Exhibition takes visitors on multi-sensory journey through the 10th Mountain Division’s origins and combat service in World War II

DENVER — October 19, 2023 — On Veterans Day, November 11, 2023, History Colorado will open Winter Warriors: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II in the newly constructed marquee exhibition gallery at the History Colorado Center. Using photos, video, and first-hand personal accounts from the troops themselves, Winter Warriors: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II explores the history of the US Army's first winter warfare division from its training at Camp Hale in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains through their crucial breakthrough against the Nazi German Army in the mountains of Italy.

Winter Warriors: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II highlights and pays tribute to soldiers forged in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Their elite mountaineering training allowed them to break through the Nazi lines in a forgotten campaign, though it came at tremendous cost - nearly one-third of its members were wounded or killed.

With roughly two-thirds of the more than 5,000-square-foot exhibition dedicated to the development and training of the 10th Mountain Division, Winter Warriors expands visitors' understanding of the unit by both examining the frontline accomplishments of the division and illuminating the fighting force’s origins and lasting legacy.

Winter Warriors isn’t just about combat in World War II, it's also a story of creativity, resilience, ingenuity, and the human condition,” said Dr. Chris Juergens, Head of Curatorial Services and Anschutz Curator of Military History at History Colorado. “This exhibition puts a human face on the inhumanity of war, and highlights the price of freedom that US servicemen and women continue to be willing to pay on behalf of their fellow citizens.”

Opening during the 80th anniversary year of the 10th Mountain Division’s activation in the Rocky Mountains, Winter Warriors introduces a new generation of Coloradans to the famed soldiers on skis through objects, authentic video newsreels, personal accounts and photos which illuminate the origins, training, and deployment of the division. Pulling heavily from the 10th Mountain Division Resource Center – a collection largely donated by veterans of this highly-specialized unit, and maintained by History Colorado and the Denver Public Library – this exhibition includes objects that have never been displayed at History Colorado before.

“The photographs featured in the exhibition were taken by the soldiers themselves and give us an intimate glimpse of their experiences," said Dr. Juergens. "Overwhelmingly, we were able to find photographs taken at the exact times and in the exact places we explore in Winter Warriors. This sort of specificity is only possible thanks to the incredibly comprehensive historical record the veterans compiled here in Colorado.”

Included amongst the objects on display are new donations gifted by families of 10th Mountain veterans, as well as artifacts which have been maintained by History Colorado for decades. Highlights include:

  • A fez taken from Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini’s Italian villa when it was occupied by American troops in 1945
  • A specialized anti-tank rifle used by the Finnish ski troops that inspired the 10th Mountain Division
  • An M29 Weasel mechanized cargo carrier developed for the Army during World War II
  • The bow and arrows used by one of the division’s archers 
  • The uniforms worn by soldiers in training and in combat - as well as those worn by the Women’s Army Corps at Camp Hale and Red Cross volunteers in Italy
  • An exploration of the groundbreaking gear developed for, and tested by, the 10th Mountain Division
  • Pieces of art constructed, carved, and etched by soldiers at Camp Hale and on the front lines

As part of its historical exploration, Winter Warriors highlights a number of individuals throughout the exhibition including: 

  • Ralph Bromaghin, an adventurous outdoorsman, who helped develop specialized gear and tactics 
  • Deborah Bankart, a woman who volunteered to recruit skiers - and even followed the soldiers overseas
  • And Cruz Rios, a draftee who was swept up by the war effort and assigned to the ski troops by chance

“These soldiers were forged in the Rocky Mountains and became America’s first troops trained specifically for mountain warfare,” Dr. Juergens said. “This is a chance for visitors to embark on a multi-sensory journey that explores the history of the 10th Mountain Division from its origins to its combat service in more detail than ever before seen in an exhibition. Even those familiar with the story of these famed Winter Warriors will be captivated by new details, photographs, and objects that bring this history to life.”

To commemorate the grand opening of Winter Warriors: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II the History Colorado Center is hosting an opening reception on November 11 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. This 1940s-themed opening reception will feature a live band playing music from the era, cocktails, cash bar, coffee, food, historic artifacts, members of the 10th Mountain Division Living History Group, tributes to the 10th Mountain Division, and more. 

While the opening reception for Winter Warriors: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II is free and open to the public, RSVP is required.

Located in the heart of Downtown Denver, the History Colorado Center is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission for kids 18 and under is free, and History Colorado is proud to provide Military Veterans free admission to its sites across Colorado on Veterans Day. History Colorado also partners with the Blue Star Museums program to offer free general admission to our nation’s active duty military personnel, including the National Guard, and Reserves, and up to five members of their families, all year long. 

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 144-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado. 

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 10 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. #HistoryColorado