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.
Reading the cards we’ve received from visitors to date has been an interesting experience indeed. The suggestions so far include:
Objects already in the collection but not currently on display.
Objects displayed in other History Colorado exhibits but not featured in Zoom In.
Objects and stories relating to future exhibits that History Colorado staff are working on.
Objects and stories that are already targeted for acquisition.
Objects and the stories associated with them that are not well represented in the collection.
Lots of visitors made 101st object suggestions related to stories featured in Zoom In. They want to learn and see more. For example, while there’s an “Orange Crush” sweater from the late 1970s in the exhibit, we’re still getting lots of cards expressing interest in seeing “more about the Broncos.” If you visit the long-term exhibit Denver A to Z, you’ll see “Barrel Man” Tim McKernan’s Broncos barrel and orange cowboy hat. There’s even a replica barrel you can try on for the perfect photo op—and a smaller-sized barrel for young visitors.
A recent addition to History Colorado’s collection, not yet on exhibit, is a Von Miller #58 Broncos jersey sent to Denver Post sportswriter Mark Kiszla, who graciously donated it to History Colorado. Both sides of the jersey are covered with writing voicing the sender’s displeasure with the NFL player protests during the national anthem. Staff solicited the jersey for the collection because it embodies a multilayered national story through a Colorado lens. It also demonstrates the depth of passion many residents have for the Denver Broncos.
One Broncos story we’d love to be able to tell more fully is that of becoming the 2016 Super Bowl champions. Were you there? If you have a ticket stub or a program from Super Bowl 50 that you’d consider donating, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “101st Object-Broncos” in the subject line.
Quite a few visitors said they’d like to see more items related to Baby Doe Tabor, a central figure in a Colorado rags-to-riches-to-rags saga that captured public attention during the glory days of the 1880s silver-mining boom. History Colorado is fortunate to have a large collection of items that belonged to Tabor. Though she lived in poverty in her final decades in Leadville, she hung on to a great many personal treasures by putting them in trunks stored in Denver—hoping to keep them safe from creditors. After her death in 1935, a group of Denver community leaders banded together to buy these precious items from her estate to donate to History Colorado. The collection includes her wedding gown, some of her daughters’ toys, the gold watch fob the citizens of Denver gave her husband Horace in celebration of the opening of the Tabor Grand Opera House, scrapbooks of photographs, Baby Doe’s handwritten journals, and even her long underwear. If you’d like to see more of the Tabor collection you can find it online at: h-co.org/collections.
Visitors have also said they’d love to see more about Denver’s hosting of the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the nomination of Barack Obama. Zoom In features one representative artifact from each of the Democratic National Conventions held in Denver, in 1908 and in 2008. History Colorado only collected a few items from 1908, a fact that inspired us to solicit a much broader type and variety of items in 2008. Staff collected buttons and signs, including one for Hillary Clinton; promotional items from special interest groups; items representing the Native American Caucus; press passes, programs, and schedules; a commemorative bag with its contents, like those given to all the delegates; and many other things. You can find these through the Hart Research Library or the online collection catalogs at h-co.org/catalogs.
If you haven’t had a chance to see Zoom In we hope you’ll come in soon! And, of course, let us know what you think. We’d love your idea for the 101st object.