Community museums receive boost


FORT GARLAND — The 71st Colorado General Assembly has approved a  $1.4 million funding request for fiscal year 2017-18 to strengthen the Community Museum of History Colorado.  The legislature’s appropriation will allow the eight Community Museums across the state to better connect with audiences by presenting inspiring exhibits, programs, and increase access to collections.

“This funding request will allow us to expand  programming and services and increase staff and facility safety” said Steve Turner, History Colorado executive director. “We will not only be able to achieve greater financial sustainability in the future, but we will be able to help strengthen the communities where these museums reside.” 

The eight properties of the Community Museum Division include the Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center; the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose; Trinidad History Museum in Trinidad; Healy House and Dexter Cabin in Leadville; Fort Vasquez in Platteville; El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo; and Byers-Evans House Museum and Grant Humphreys Mansion in Denver.

“Our community museums are important partners in the communities that we serve — including infusing over $18 million in economic impact around the state,” said Dawn DiPrince, director of Community Museums. “This appropriation will allow us to increase staffing levels at our sites to expand programs that support economic development, bridge gaps in educational access, and engage communities in nurturing local roots and civic pride.”

Some of the expanded programs include:

Hands-On History after school programs and summer camps, offer safe, history-based education to local children.

Museum of Memory, a public history program that empowers residents to reclaim and record the history of diverse communities located throughout Colorado.

Bridging Borders Teen Girl Fellowship works with local teen girls to foster a stronger sense of history and a sense of place that are the building blocks to a healthy sense of self.

Over the next year the History Colorado’s community museums will work toward expanding revenue enhancement opportunities by increasing facility rental revenues, bus tour business, membership programs, and revenue from expanded hours of operation. Additional funds will also be used to improve the information the information technology infrastructure at each museum.