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History Colorado’s New Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation

Q&A with Janell Keyser

History Colorado announced the opening of the Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation—a preservation education center, headquartered in Leadville at the Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin. The Center will create and oversee a preservation education program open to the general public, and serve as a resource for preservation information and training to homeowners, business owners, developers, students, and interested novices across the state and region. 

Photo of Janell Keyser, Director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation

Janell Keyser, Director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation

History Colorado

We spoke to the Center’s Director, Janell Keyser to ask her the important questions: what is a preservation center? What type of workshops will be held and where will they take place? And who can attend them? Perhaps, the most important question we asked was, why?

Here’s what she said.  

Q: What is the Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation?  

A: It’s History Colorado's new initiative to increase preservation trades and education about preservation trades around the state and also within the Mountain West Region. 

Q: So, it’s not just for people in Colorado? 

A: Actually, it’s open to whoever would like to attend. I held a historic windows workshop in Trinidad, and a person from New Mexico attended.. Colorado has a really strong preservation program, and people know that Colorado is a leader across the country. So, they look to us to do things like this.

Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation logo

Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation

History Colorado

Q: Why do we need a Rocky Mountain Center for Preservation? 

A: There’s an urgency. More and more people are retiring from the preservation trades that have been doing the work for a long time. We can’t expect them to work forever. So, we need to make sure that people coming into choosing or changing careers, understand that preservation trades gives people a really great opportunity to own your own business if they choose. There’s opportunity to work on significant buildings in Colorado and contribute to preserving our historic fabric. 

Q: Who can participate? 

A: Anyone! We’re building a curriculum to cover a variety of topics and training components. Some will include hands-on components while others might be more classroom focused. Anyone who has a general interest in preservation trades is encouraged to attend.  

Q: How did you get into preservation?

A: I got into preservation through workshops like these! They answered so many questions for me, and piqued my interest even more. I wanted to know how these buildings are preserved, who was doing the work, and if it was something I might like to do. I hadn’t even realized there were actual careers in preservation, until I attended a workshop. I learned so much about historic sites and their potential, and decided to pursue a career in preservation. So, whether you own a home with historic windows that need care, or you are looking for a new career, join our workshops.  

Q: Are you only going to hold workshops in Leadville? 

A: The Leadville area will be the focus for a lot of our summer workshops, but this is a statewide initiative, so we want to reach folks in all areas of Colorado. We want to travel to different communities with specific projects they want to tackle. So, serving as many communities outside of Leadville as possible is our goal. And we need people to help us get the word out!

Q: Where should people  go for more information? 

A: Easy! First, join our Facebook Group; it’s a community of experts and preservation lovers sharing information about upcoming workshops and exchanging general information about preservation trades. You can always visit our offices at the History Colorado Center. The preservationists there can connect you with more information.