Posts Tagged 'Fort Collins Museum'

Scenes from the Indian Market

It was another gorgeous Colorado weekend and a fantastic time down in Old Town Fort Collins for the Fort Collins Museum’s annual Indian Market. Over two dozen Native American artists and craftspeople from six states were on hand with a wide variety of beautiful wares; Ram Nation kicked off each day with traditional drumming and singing, and then festival goers were treated to contemporary Native American music by Scotti Cliff and the Briggs Brothers, Plateros, and Casper and the Mighty 602. A huge thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers who help make this such a great event, especially Anita and Cary Morin, Linda Aguilar, and Kim Tamkun (and family)!

Beautiful Native American crafts (photo by Matt Gale)

Beautiful Native American crafts (photo by Matt Gale)

Ram Nation drum group

Ram Nation drum group

Indian Market festival goers

Indian Market festival goers

Casper of Casper and the Mighty 602 Band (right) and Cary Morin

Casper of Casper and the Mighty 602 Band (right) and Cary Morin (photo by Matt Gale)

Scotti Cliff

Scotti Cliff

Last Month to Visit Bugville at Discovery Science Center

by Deb Price,Education Coordinator, Discovery Science Center

As Discovery Science Center prepares to close the doors at its current site on Prospect Road May 30, visitors have a last chance to visit the popular Bugville exhibit.

During the month of June, Discovery Science Center will be trasitioning many of its exhibits to the Fort Collins Museum, where both sites will open together as one institution June 30. The brand new building to house the new science and history museum will begin construction sometime next year.

In the mean time, Discovery Science Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm through May 30 at 703 E. Prospect Road. Admission is $7 for adults, $5.50 for seniors (60+), and $5 for children ages 3-12.

For more information about the move and the new museum project, please visit the partnership website at www.fcmdsc.org.

Come enjoy Bugville one more time!

Come enjoy Bugville one more time!

Give me that old-time stimulus

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

With all the talk in the news about the economic crisis, stimulus proposals, and plans to create more jobs, I can’t help but be reminded of a similar situation that happened sixty years ago: The Great Depression and the creation of the Works Progress (later Projects) Administration, or WPA.

The WPA was a New Deal program that focused on providing jobs for the unemployed by funding a variety of public projects, including constructing buildings and roads and funding the arts. From 1936-1939, almost $7 billion was spent on WPA projects, and almost 8 million jobs were created. The WPA continued until 1943 when the onset of WWII provided employment in war production.

The Fort Collins Museum has special ties to the WPA: through it, $18,881 was allocated to help fund the construction of our precursor, the Pioneer Museum, which stood at the east end of Library Park from 1941-1977. Back then the Carnegie Library (the current home of the Fort Collins Museum) was located on the west end of Library Park, so the current locations of the museum and library are opposite of where they started out.

The Pioneer Museum, Fort Collins

The Pioneer Museum, Fort Collins

In 1976 a new library was built in a U-shape around the Pioneer Museum, the Carnegie Library was turned into the Fort Collins Museum, and in 1977 the Pioneer Museum was demolished (apparently it had to be done in that order because the books from the old library had to be moved into the new library before the artifacts from the old museum could go into the new museum, which had been the old library).

The Pioneer Museum and and the new library

The Pioneer Museum and and the new library

The sandstone lintel inscribed with “PIONEER MUSEUM” over the door of the Pioneer Museum was supposed to be saved and moved to the new museum, but the “PIONEER” part was shattered during the demolition. “MUSEUM” and the corner stone inscribed “Works Projects Administration 1940,” were saved and can still be seen in the planter in front of the museum’s west steps. Neat side story: the wedding suit of the man who cut and hauled the stone the cornerstone was shaped from was just donated to the Museum’s collections.

Original WPA cornerstone

Original WPA cornerstone

Other WPA projects in Fort Collins include the City Park Nine Golf Course and the Municipal Power Plant on North College Avenue. Both the plant’s retaining wall along the south bank of the Cache la Poudre River and the fountain on its grounds were WPA projects that are now local historic landmarks. You can read more about the fountain at the “Lost Fort Collins” blog. 

New museum news

The Loveland Reporter-Herald published a great story about the new museum yesterday:

http://www.reporterherald.com/news_story.asp?ID=22820

It’s going to be an exciting summer as the Fort Collins Museum and the Discovery Science Center start operating under one roof — a big step towards realizing the vision of our new museum. Stay tuned — and come see us often!

Tough time for trees

by Brent Carmack, Assistant Director, Fort Collins Museum

It’s been a tough time for trees at the Fort Collins Museum in recent months. Right at the end of 2008 a huge 60 foot spruce blew down on the west side of the Museum (see our Flickr site and check out the “Windstorm” photo set). Last week City Foresters took down a Ponderosa pine tree located at the southwest corner of the Museum that had been attacked by mountain pine beetles.

Pine beetle larva

Pine beetle larva

For a long time this tree had appeared weak, but as the Forestry folks were taking the tree down they showed us just how bad things had gotten. Peeling back some of the bark revealed mountain pine beetles in adult and larval form. There were yellow spots all over the trunk of the tree. The branches coming off the tree were dry and brittle and weighed next to nothing as there was no sap left in the tree.

My family has camped for several years in a row at what I consider the finest campground in the state, Pearl Lake State Park, north of Steamboat Springs. In recent years we could see the devastation that the pine beetle was creating on the western slope of Colorado, to the point where the campground is closed this year while they remove many of the dead trees. I had thought that the pine beetle infestation was primarily a western slope problem, but David Sexton of the City’s Forestry Department told me that pine beetles have made their way to Fort Collins and are beginning to attack weaker pines in the city.

Pitch tube

Pitch tube

David said that beetles have most likely been carried on the wind from the western slope and landed in Fort Collins. He explained that the yellow spots on our tree are called pitch tubes and indicate where the beetles bored into the trunk and the tree tried to push back — but to no avail, because it was already weak. When beetles attack stronger trees the pitch tube is usually white and sometimes you can see a beetle stuck in the pitch, an indication that the tree is healthier and potentially winning the battle with the beetles.

Blue stain caused by pine beetle infestation

Blue stain caused by pine beetle infestation

One interesting side effect of a beetle-killed tree is a blue staining of the wood which is caused by a fungus that the beetle introduces to the tree. The result is an eerily blue hue to the wood as compared to the normal yellow color of pine. The sheer volume of beetle-killed trees has resulted in a new market for beetle-killed pine in the construction business. The finished blue-tinted pine makes beautiful furniture, window sills and other finish pieces in homes.

To learn more about mountain pine beetle, how to spot signs of infestation and how to protect your trees, visit the website of the Colorado State University Extension Office.

Summer programs at the Fort Collins Museum

by Treloar Bower, Curator of Education, Fort Collins Museum

Lately I’m receiving calls from people interested in the Museum’s summer programs. Most are from parents and grandparents asking when is registration (April 4), what are the age requirements (different for each program, but all geared for elementary ages), what’s the dress code (kids can check out period clothing from our costume library). Occasionally, someone calls interested in teaching our programs. The most recent job-inquiry voice mail was left by a young woman from Oregon. You might wonder how someone in Oregon knows about summer job opportunities at a local history museum in Colorado, but this woman, Lydia, lived in Fort Collins as a child and participated in our Boxelder Schoolhouse program.

Now, my first reaction upon listening to her message was, “Hey! I remember you!” And then I though, “Oy, I’m getting old.” I remember Lydia as an elementary-aged girl attending Boxelder as a student and now she’s a college-aged student looking for a job! And then I landed on, “Wow, that’s impact.” Lydia must have had such fun as a student that her enthusiasm for the program remains with her, even 8 years later, and she wants to return as a teacher.

This is not the first time I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the impact of our summer programs. When people learn that I work at the Fort Collins Museum, the Boxelder Schoolhouse program is often the first thing they mention. Many past-program participants return to the museum as teen volunteers during the summer, assisting teachers and helping the youth participants with projects. Some have even returned at the age of 18 to teach themselves. And a couple are now parents themselves who have registered their own children in our summer programs. And how’s this for reach: I lived in Pittsburgh for a couple of years and someone I met there had lived in Fort Collins in the late 90s. She remembered, 10 years later and 1,500 miles away, that two little girls from her street had attended Boxelder Schoolhouse and loved it.

So why do our programs resonant in the community the way they do? I think it’s because all of our programs, Boxelder Schoolhouse, Wild West Days, and Early American Home Arts, are immersive. Kids get to see, and hear, and taste, and smell and touch things they don’t normally get to in their everyday lives. And that will be true for our new program, Jr. Scientists Camp, too. It just validates Confucius: I hear and I forget. I see and remember. I do and I understand. And in the case of Fort Collins Museum summer programs, I come back.

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Registration for summer programs begins at 9:00 Saturday, April 4th. These programs fill up fast, so be sure to register early! Program costs are discounted for families with Discovery Science Center memberships. Not a member? You can sign up for a membership Saturday when you register, and still receive the discount. Contact Treloar Bower (416-2768 or email tbower-at-fcgov.com) for more information or if you have questions.

Anita Morin teaches a traditional Crow dance during the Wild West Days summer program

Anita Morin teaches a traditional Crow dance during the Wild West Days summer program

Panning for gold during the Wild West Days summer program

Panning for gold during the Wild West Days summer program

Fort Collins Memory Project

memoryThe front page of the Coloradoan is running a great story today about the Fort Collins Memory Project, an event being organized by the Fort Collins Museum as part of Beet Street‘s “Finding Home: Sharing the Journey of our Collective Immigration” series. On April 18th, the Museum will be hosting an all-day workshop where participants can digitize their photos, documents, and small objects and, with the help of Museum staff, create an interactive album of their own immigration story. Not only will participants leave the workshop with their own digital album, but their stories will also become part of the Local History Archive and the larger story of our community.

The workshop was inspired by a similar project at Berkeley’s Magnes Museum and we hope that it will be just the first of many such events. Workshop registration is free, but limited. If you’re interested in participating, please contact Leigh Westphal at the Fort Collins Museum, 970-416-2769, or email her at lwestphal-at-fcgov.com. Registration closes April 8th. For more information, see the Museum’s website.


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