About The Collections
History Colorado, the Colorado Historical Society's collections are central to its
educational mission of preserving and interpreting the history of
Colorado and the West.
|Telegraph machine and
type-setting print blocks
History Colorado holds thousands of items in trust for the people of Colorado as a means of documenting and interpreting the state's history. Curators assume responsibility for the research, care, and interpretation of collections and for the selection of objects to become a permanent part of History Colorado’s holdings. Collections are divided into four categories.
BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS
The Books and Manuscripts Department collects textual material in a variety of formats, including printed books, serials, ephemera, manuscripts and archives, oral histories and sound recordings, scrapbooks, maps, and architectural drawings. The department houses the largest collection of Colorado newspapers in the state, and collects documentary material relating to organizations, people, places and activities throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West. Holdings relating to mining, railroads, agriculture, and business are especially rich.
DECORATIVE AND FINE ARTS
Household furnishings, toys, sports equipment, and architectural elements along with paintings, drawings, prints and posters comprise the bulk of the Decorative and Fine Arts Department’s artifacts. Collections are showcased at History Colorado’s house museums where they help interpret the lives and life styles of former residents. The department holds particularly fine collections of 19th century engravings and lithographs, late 19th century silver and china, Depression glassware, dolls and also includes sporting goods equipment, WWI and WW II posters, and the 10th Mountain Division collection.
The Material Culture Department collects a wide array of objects reflecting more than 12,000 years of human presence in Colorado and the region. Collections include such diverse objects as gold coins, mining equipment, horse-drawn buggies, life-sized mannequins and clothing, and the Mesa Verde Collection. The department is also responsible for consulting with more than 400 tribes under NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) regarding the nearly 25,000 objects in History Colorado's archaeological and ethnographic collections.
The Department of Photography and Film collects photographs of all kinds, from early daguerreotypes and glass negatives to digital prints, and from humble snapshots to masterworks of photographic art. The department also collects motion picture films, news film, and home movies on a selective basis. The photography archive includes over 750,000 items that span the sweep of Colorado and Western U.S. history from the 1840s to the present. Perennial favorites within the archive are William Henry Jackson's 19th century views of Rocky Mountain scenery and railroads, portraits from Trinidad's Aultman Studio, and Western Slope photographs by Fred and Ola Garrison.