Posts Tagged 'immigration'

Final installment (for now) of the Fort Collins Memory Project

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

KarlMeissnerOur last story from the inaugural Fort Collins Memory Project workshop comes from Lew Arlen Meissner, whose family, like many in this area, were Germans from Russia. Enjoy his story here, and if you missed any of the previous four stories, browse back through the last month and be sure to check them out too.


Fourth installment of the Fort Collins Memory Project

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

This week’s story of immigration from the Fort Collins Memory Project comes from Kathy Moddelmog, who recalls her parents’ move to Fort Collins after being married in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Read her story here, and be sure to enjoy the previous stories too (look in the “Oral history & oral tradition” category over on the right for links to the other stories).


Second installment of the Fort Collins Memory Project

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

edward-garbuttThis week’s story from the Fort Collins Memory project comes from Ann Garbutt Ryan, whose ancestors were early immigrants to the Laporte area. Enjoy Ann’s story here, and if you missed last week’s debut story, you can find it here.

Stories from the Fort Collins Memory Project

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

We recently held our first workshop session for the Fort Collins Memory Project (see the post from April 1st for more information about the project). On April 18th, we spent all day with six different people from the community who came in to share their stories of immigration. Participants brought in photos, documents, and objects which we photographed and scanned; we recorded audio snippets from each participant explaining the various elements of their story; and then combined everything into an interactive slideshow using Memory Miner. All in an hour and a half to create each story! Each workshop participant left with a CD of their slideshow, which will also become part of the Museum’s Local History Archive.

We are also publishing these stories on our website, one story at a time, over the next few weeks. The first story is from Kirsten Hovorka, who traces her family back to Denmark and England. You can see her slideshow here. Click any of the thumbnail images to see a larger photo. Many of the slides have audio, too; in the blue box to the right, click the underlined link to listen to Kirsten’s recollections. 

The workshop was a great experience — it’s always a gift when someone shares their story with you. Our stories are all so various, and yet we hear in each of them something that resonates with our own. Because we only had an hour and a half to put together each story, we had to put limits on the process, which created another interesting dimension — to see what people chose to show and talk about, given that they had to “edit” their story into a small space. Rather than a comprehensive family story, what we created together were very personal windows into people’s lives. Because history is more than dates and names; everyone’s history has a heart.

The Move to Fort Collins

by Leigh Westphal, Museum Coordinator, Fort Collins Museum

“The Move to Fort Collins” event began as a component of Beet Street’s Finding Home series, which focuses on immigration in the United States. Because we deal with local history at the Fort Collins Museum, I felt inclined to keep our programming for the series focused on Fort Collins history. So, I came up with the idea of pulling some oral histories out of the Local History Archive that contained immigration as a main theme.

My initial thoughts were to simply have three separate members of our staff read one of the oral histories aloud as a reader’s theater-type event. However, things took a different direction when I presented that idea at a collaborative meeting with the other participants in the Finding Home series. Little did I know at the time of that meeting, I was sitting next to the director of Openstage Theatre, Denise Freestone. Upon hearing my concept, she generously offered to put a call out to actors to do the readings for us.  And so, the process began.

Denise and I teamed up and she played an integral role in finding some superb actors, as well as three very talented playwrights. It was an amazing partnership in that there was such a variety of perspectives at play. As a historian, my most pressing concern was maintaining the historical integrity of the oral histories. As playwrights and actors, they were interested in creating a script that captured an audience, while being as accurate as possible. So, there was quite a bit of discussion along the way that dealt with the difference between a historical piece of non-fiction and a piece of fiction based on historical sources. I think the final product successfully walked a fine line between the two. 

Also, we put together a panel discussion at the end of the event that allowed audience members to ask the authors and actors questions about the process of creating historical plays. It was an amazing dialogue that we were fortunate enough to capture on film, which is soon to be housed in our Local History Archive.

Enjoy this short excerpt, which is read by Sam Salas (as Joe Herrera) and Irene Gordon (as Elvira Herrera), written by Richard Strahle. If you’d like to see more of Sam, he’s currently starring in Openstage Theater’s production of Anon(ymous), which runs through May 2nd.

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 Registration closes April 8th. For more information, see the Museum’s website.

March 2023

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