Posts Tagged 'Soapstone Prairie Oral History Project'

New Lindenmeier resource

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

The folks at Beet Street (our Fort Collins community arts and cultural organization) wrote a great blog post yesterday about a visit to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (SPNA). They very kindly gave a shout-out to the Museum’s recently published booklet, “The Excavation of Lindenmeier: A Folsom Site Uncovered 1934-1940.” The booklet is a great resource if you’d like to know the in-depth story of this amazing archaeological site, from discovery through excavation. Although the site itself is not accessible to the public, you can visit the Lindenmeier Overlook at SPNA and get a great view of one of the most important early  human habitation sites in North America.

I feel a little sheepish because we put a great deal of work into producing the booklet, and I have neglected to talk about it here on the blog! So, thank you to Beet Street’s post for giving me a reminder. The Lindenmeier booklet was part of a Preserve America grant that the Museum received in 2008. We had received our first Preserve America grant in 2006, which allowed us to conduct an extensive oral history project, interviewing over 40 people with ties to Soapstone Prairie; we produced a short video and a research report as part of that grant. For the second grant, we produced another video (“Meeting in the Center with Respect”), the Lindenmeier booklet, and a web-based cultural heritage tour guide (which will be launching soon).

Soapstone Prairie, and the Lindenmeier Site in particular, are very dear to our hearts at the Museum. We have the largest public collection of Lindenmeier artifacts outside of the Smithsonian Institution, with a fine assortment of Folsom points, scrapers, awls, and other tools on exhibit in our gallery. In 2000 we put on a major exhibition called “Dig It!” which provided a detailed look at the excavation. This story will also play a prominent role in our new museum. The story of Lindenemeier is a national treasure, and it’s right in our backyard.

The Lindenmeier booklet is available, free of charge, in our Museum Store. If you can’t swing by to pick up a copy, you can also download a PDF of the booklet from the Museum’s website. I will echo Beet Street’s blog and say, learn a little about Lindenmeier, and then get up to Soapstone. And prepared to be awed!

Folsom points from the Lindenemeier Archaeological Site on exhibit at the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center

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Winter stories

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

Last Friday, I got to spend the day at the 35th Annual Denver March Powwow, and it counted as work! Out of all the new and interesting experiences I had (favorites include watching a Jingle Dress Dance competition and eating my first “Indian Taco” – yum!), the best part of my day was the three hours I sat in a cold little room, on a hard folding chair, and listened to the Powwow’s Storyteller Competition.

Winter is a traditional storytelling time for many cultures. The Fort Collins Museum has been very fortunate to work with Northern Ute elder and spiritual leader Clifford Duncan, who has consulted with us on several projects, including the Soapstone Prairie Oral History Project. In a recent interview, Mr. Duncan talked about winter storytelling:

“If you really look at, or listen, to a mythology or folklore story, they’re talking about people. They’re talking about how to conduct yourself. But Native Americans would say the animals, the coyote said this to the badger, the badger said this to that. The light, the fire was taken from this place, and here’s how this animal created this animal. It’s really a teaching mechanism that takes place in the winter, so that you can go on again in springtime and you live that summer again, and that’s what you’re doing.”

Stories are an important part of history. Author Chris Abani said, “Stories make the world in which we live… everything in the world is explained through story,” and my tenth grade history teacher went as far as to claim that history is just the stories we’ve remembered to write down.  


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