All About Animals!

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

All About Animals!

Saturday, Dec. 15, animals are taking over all of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery! Come to the museum and learn more about all of these amazing creatures at Museum Takeover: Animals. 

 

What do we mean when we are talking about animals?

What do you picture when you hear the word “animal”? Some people think of living things that move, but that are separate from human beings. Some imagine the specific kind of animal they know best, such as a pet.

“Animal” actually refers to a large family of living things that are related to each other and share similar characteristics – including humans. We are still discovering new species of animals in the world, so we don’t know exactly how many there are. However, scientists estimate there are around 1.2 million different kinds of animals!

All animals are multicellular; have to eat food of some kind rather than generating it themselves; breathe oxygen; and are able to move themselves around (motile). Animals are generally bilaterally symmetrical, and most animals have specialized tissue, or organs, in their bodies.

 

How scientists differentiate between different kinds of animals:

There’s a lot of variety in kinds of animals in the world. Scientists have come up with many different ways to distinguish one species from another. Some of these techniques include: What does the animal look like (size, color, number of legs, etc.)? Where does it live (on land or in water)? What does it eat? What kind of structures or organs does it have in its body? Try and think of some other ways you could tell different animals apart.

 

Of the estimated 1.2 million different species, 80% of them are arthropods! This group includes spiders and insects. There are also approximately 32,000 different kinds of fishes. Mammals, which we may think of first when we hear “animal,” have some 6,000 different kinds. Humans, dogs, and cats are all mammals.

You may have heard about the difference between vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Vertebrates (like humans) have an internal skeleton, whereas invertebrates do not. Many invertebrates have what is called an exoskeleton, and they have a rigid shell on their outside that has to be shed as the animal grows. Some animals (like jellyfish) have no skeletal structure at all!

Animals have several different ways of obtaining food, and scientists can classify animals by how they eat. Predators kill and eat a prey species – imagine a wolf pack hunting and eating an elk. Parasites feed on their prey species without killing it. Herbivores (animals that eat only plant matter) are actually defined as a parasite. Imagine an elk eating grass, or a tick sucking blood from that elk: both are parasites. Finally there are detritivores, who eat bits of decomposing organic matter. Many insects, such as roaches or millipedes, will eat this way.

 

Extreme animals:

  • Biggest (by weight): Blue whale
  • Tallest: giraffe
  • Longest: Bootlace worm
  • Fastest: Peregrine falcon
  • Most poisonous: Poison dart frog
  • Most venomous: Box jellyfish
  • Best vision: Bald eagle
  • Able to see the most colors: Mantis shrimp
  • Most Deadly (non-human): Mosquitos

 

Animals at the museum:

The museum has several animals on display in the Animal Experience, but they all come from just two families: Arthropods (insects, arachnids, etc.) and Chordates (amphibians, reptiles, mammals, etc.).  Take a moment to compare the different kinds of animals we have. How do they move differently? Do they have an internal skeleton or an exoskeleton? Each of our animals requires different kinds of food, as some are predators, some are parasites, and some are detritivores. See if you can guess which is which! What else do you observe about the FCMOD animals?

Animals in your own life:

Take some time to appreciate the animals you see every day! If you have a pet, take good care of them and show them some love. Come to the museum and see our more unusual critters, and sign up for one of our animal programs. Or, take a walk outside and enjoy spotting some animals in the wild.

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Time Travel: 1950s – 1980s

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

Time Travel: 1950s – 1980s

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? In our latest blog we travel back to the historic decades of Fort Collins. We will start in 1910 and travel up to 1980. Join us as we scavenge the local history of our town.

 

1950s: Reformation

The need for reform in Fort Collins’ city government had been a local topic since the late 1940s. Voter reluctance to change the structure of the local government led city officials to move the city toward a more efficient system by using special powers, as with the placement of Guy Palmes as city manager in 1949. This movement necessitated a revision to the city charter. To this end the local chapter of the National League of Women Voters, formed in 1951, supported an analysis of the government, an updated charter, and voter education to convince the public. The effort was rewarded when, on October 5, 1954, a new city charter was adopted by special election.

Under the council-manager form of government, the City Manager was given administration of the city. He was hired and fired by the city council, attended council meetings, but had no vote. The mayor was chosen by the council, did not have the discretionary powers a mayor in the council-mayor form had, and authority for decision-making resided in the council.

In 1952 the local streetcar system became the last such operation in Colorado to end its services. The trolley had been costing the city money for several years and the cars were not in good condition. The establishment of an independent bus company in Fort Collins in June 1951 made the loss easier for local commuters. However, Bussard Bus Company’s Fort Collins operation did not match the trolley’s longevity. It ended its services in December, 1955.

 

1960s: Migration

The 1960s were turbulent years in Fort Collins. National unrest over the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement was reflected locally, especially on the Colorado State University campus. These crises combined with amazing growth in the city’s size and population, made the 1960s an unsettled period in Fort Collins history.

Rapidly increasing enrollment led to a building boom on the CSU campus. 7,304 students were enrolled at the University during the 1962-63 academic year. The figure grew to 15,361 in the 1968-69 year and plans were made to provide facilities for 25,000 students in the 1970s. Three new structures were built during the 1960s: Morgan Library, Moby Gym, and Hughes Stadium. In 1968, CSU became a member of the Western Athletic Conference and dedicated the new 30,000-seat Hughes Stadium to legendary coach Harry Hughes.

The social consciousness of the 1960s found expression through a variety of organizations and activities. One of these was the Peace Corps, which began with a feasibility study conducted at CSU in 1960. Maurice Albertson, an engineering professor who directed the University’s international programs office, was responsible for obtaining the grant for the study. By 1966, over 15,000 Peace Corps volunteer workers were scattered throughout the world.

 

1970s: Designing tomorrow

Campus unrest over civil rights issues and the Vietnam War continued at CSU in the 1970s. The alleged racist practices of Brigham Young University were a relatively volatile issue. While CSU’s administration refused to cancel a basketball game with BYU in January 1970, it did reluctantly allow a peaceful demonstration prior to the game. The demonstration proceeded as planned with no problems. However, during halftime, a group of predominantly black protesters rushed onto the floor of Moby Gym, fists held high in the “Black Power” salute. The protesters were slow to leave the floor and Fort Collins police were called on to clear the area. A student protest on a less serious matter occurred in April 1975. University administrators were reluctant to allow a Rolling Stones concert at Hughes Stadium that summer. The protest was relatively small, and the band was allowed to play. Traffic jams and discarded beer cans were the only adverse consequences.

The growth of Fort Collins between 1950 and 1970 completely changed the city. A new organization was founded in 1970 to help Fort Collins residents cope with rapid changes and to develop comprehensive long-range planning. Under Mayor Karl Carson’s initiative, a committee called “Planned Development for Quality” (PDQ), was formed. The name was later changed to “Designing Tomorrow Today” or “DT squared.”

“Design tomorrow today.”

In October 1970, DT reported projections up to the year 2000 concerning housing, transportation, education, employment, utilities, recreation, and social services. Task forces developed plans for public facilities and projects. On January 4, 1973, DT included: A new City Library; the Lincoln Community Center; Poudre River Parkway; land use planning and growth control; Transfort and Care-a-Van transportation systems; new parks; federally subsidized low income housing projects; sewer lines to Alta Vista and Andersonville; and restoration of the Avery House.

A popular park developed during the 1970s was the Lee Martinez Park, bordering the south bank of the Poudre River, west of the College Avenue bridge. The park was named after Librado “Lee” Martinez, a Fort Collins resident from 1906 until his death in 1970. Martinez was very active in community affairs. Shopping malls appeared in Fort Collins in the 1970s. The malls changed the face of the city and ended the downtown area’s dominance retail business. The major malls built during the decade were Foothills Fashion Mall, University Mall, and The Square, all off South College Avenue.

 

1980s: Growth

City planning continued as a major concern of the city of Fort Collins in the 1980s. Unincorporated border areas were a special problem. These areas often developed in ways inconsistent with standards established by the City, which created problems when these areas were annexed. To obtain some control over this development and avoid inefficient urban sprawl, the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, joined by Larimer County, instituted the Urban Growth Area Plan in 1980. This plan designated a growth area boundary to accommodate expected development, provided guidelines for development within the boundary, established zoning regulations for development in the growth area, and contained an agreement which assured that land would be annexed by the appropriate adjacent city.

The development and restoration of downtown Fort Collins, a consideration begun in the 1970s, continued in the 1980s. In March 1981, voters created the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), made up of downtown property owners. Its board included one city council member. Their initial concerns were for parking and the undergrounding of utilities. The DDA supported projects with money from a five-mill tax levy in the DDA district and from tax revenue generated by new development. Projects the DDA has completed or supported included the parking garage on Mountain Avenue near Old Town and Old Town Square on Linden. Mitchell and Company of Denver revealed plans in 1981 for turning Old Town into a viable business district. 200,000 square feet of business space was included in the project, which sought to preserve historic buildings and build new structures compatible with them.

Increased growth was blamed, in part, for a two-thirds increase in felony crimes in Fort Collins between 1978 and 1981. One crime in Fort Collins that received worldwide attention in 1981 was the conviction of Eugene A. Tafoya for third-degree assault and conspiracy to commit third-degree assault. He had been charged with first-degree attempted murder and conspiracy. Investigators suspected that Tafoya had been hired by a former CIA agent to kill Faisal A. Zagallai, a Libyan dissident who had been critical of Mohammar Khadafy. However, there was not enough evidence to connect Tafoya with the agent.

 

To discover more about the decades and history of Fort Collins check out Fort Collins History Connection, the online collaboration between FCMoD and the Poudre River Public Library District: history.fcgov.com.

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Time Travel: 1910s – 1940s

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

Time Travel: 1910s – 1940s

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? In our latest blog we travel back to the historic decades of Fort Collins. We will start in 1910 and travel up to 1980. Join us as we scavenge the local history of our town.

 

1910s: Development

The 1910s were turbulent for Fort Collins, as for the rest of the world. The first world war dominated the news of the latter half of the decade. However, there were also many important civic developments. Among these was the city’s change to a commission form of government in 1913.

Also important to the town’s continued development was the sugar industry, which continued as the dominant economic force of the area. In September 1919, The Fort Collins Express noted that an estimated twenty million dollars had been paid for sugar beets in Larimer County in over a period of seventeen years.

College students built and whitewashed the “Aggie A” on a hillside west of town in 1912. Three years later the school and the town celebrated the football team’s first conference championship. The Fort Collins Express expected the title to bring more students and prestige to the school and consequently benefit the town. Annually, the “Aggie A” is still painted by college students.

   

1920s: Prospering

Despite a generally depressed farm economy after World War I, Larimer County farmers were comparatively prosperous. The Fort Collins Express-Courier (the two local papers combined in 1920) claimed that no other county in Colorado fed as many sheep and cattle as did Larimer County.

Beet growers were also still doing well. An attractive contract in 1925 between Great Western Sugar Company and the Mountain States Beet Growers Marketing Association guaranteed eight dollars per ton plus incentive bonuses.

Larimer County was also prospering industrially. It ranked third among Colorado counties in manufacturing. Most of the factories were in or near Fort Collins. The biggest producers were the sugar factory and the Ideal Cement plant built in 1927 near La Porte.

“History is the whole series of past events.”

History contains the good, bad, and ugly – and the 1920s witnessed a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. The Klan gained control of state politics during the early part of the decade and had many men in elective and appointive offices. Klansmen in Fort Collins could be found in courthouse offices and city hall. During one rally, sheet-covered KKK members marched from North College Avenue to Lincoln Park. However, the Klan did not place a significant number of its people into local public offices. Its influence faded during the latter half of the decade.

A political figure on the rise, Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited Fort Collins in 1920 on a campaign tour as a vice-presidential candidate, and spoke from the courthouse steps against increasing the Navy and for the League of Nations.

 

1930s: Depression

The Great Depression of the 1930s worsened an already dismal situation. A farm economy which had been depressed since the end of World War I sank even lower as prices fell to new lows for agricultural commodities. Drought during the first half of the decade, combined with a grasshopper plague, added to the hardships, especially for plains farmers, many of whose crops were lost.

In the Fort Collins area, the water shortage became so severe that the city banned the use of water from the waterworks system for lawns and gardens in September 1934. The Cache la Poudre River was said to be at the lowest level known since settlement of the valley. In March 1935, the city council approved a watering rule which allowed townspeople to water their lawns one day per week.

The Extension Service of Colorado Agricultural College played a vital role in providing relief to afflicted farmers. Extension personnel helped to gather and distribute food, protect crops from grasshoppers, and promoted tree cultivation. The Extension Service also participated in the development of several New Deal programs. The College’s Experiment Station also worked to alleviate the effects of the drought and grasshoppers and conducted other beneficial projects.

 

1940s: Defense

The war in Europe, which began in 1939, had almost immediate effects in Fort Collins.In October 1940, 3,881 Larimer County men registered for Selective Service. A national draft was held at the end of the month. Battery A, of the 168th Field Artillery and Medical Detachment, was inducted into the U. S. Army in February 1941.

Because of Colorado State College’s tradition of supplying military instruction, an R. O. T. C. program, and pilot training, its former students contributed heavily to the war effort. More than eighty former C. S. C. students died in the war. The College’s faculty also took part. Over one-third of the male teaching and research staff served in the armed forces or as advisers to the military. Several members of the faculty aided in weapons research, including work on the atom bomb. The College’s Extension Service and Experiment Station worked to maximize food production.

Fort Collins women took part in defense training classes which taught skills needed for war industries. Although excluded from foundry work, women were included in classes for welding, machine shop and sheet metal work.

 

To discover more about the decades and history of Fort Collins check out Fort Collins History Connection, the online collaboration between FCMoD and the Poudre River Public Library District: history.fcgov.com.

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The Last Straw

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

The Last Straw

Deer Fort Collins Museum,
I love your museum I have fun every time I come here. My favorate part is lifting the piano. But it makes me sad that you are wasting plastic straws on the exibit where you feel the vibrashons threw your teeth.” – Quinn, age 7

Quinn, this blog post is for you!

The History

That’s the last (plastic) straw! As an article in The Coloradoan illustrated, Fort Collins restaurants are joining a national movement to replace plastic straws with paper straws. Some restaurants are getting rid of single-use plastic all together. Others are no longer carrying straws or offering them unless requested. The Museum Café recently swapped out plastic straws in favor of biodegradable ones, expanding their list of compostable items to include plates, cups, and silverwares as paper products.

The Why

Plastic straws do not decompose in landfills, and they are likely to end up in the rivers and contribute to the environmental problem on beaches and in the oceans. In an effort to address this issue, many Fort Collins restaurants and companies are ditching the plastic straw.

The Response

Our exhibits manager, Ben Griswold, had the honor of responding to Quinn. The vision of the museum is to inspire inquisitive thinkers and encourage responsible stewardship of the future. Quinn shared his thoughts with us and we wanted to take them very seriously. Quinn has – and will continue to – make a difference in the world.

 

Closer to home, the museum’s exhibit “Sound Bites” is now working with wax paper instead of plastic straws to make “green” exhibits the norm.

 

So where do the compostable straws end up? Biodegradable waste generates several tons of compost that can be used as a soil amendment in gardens and elsewhere.

 

Will you join Quinn and the museum as we strive to be sustainable?

Sustainability is a core value at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Throughout the museum, we talk about stewardship – of self, community, and environment; how our small actions impact the world around us in ways both large and small.

Below are some steps that you can take to recycle in your home to be sustainable. #AmericaRecyclesDay #BeRecycled

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Volunteer Spotlight: Rawan J.

Volunteer Spotlight: Interview with Rawan J. by Laurel Drasner, Volunteer Coordinator

Position at FCMoD: Public Programs/ Special Events and Tot Spot Gallery Hosting

When you started volunteering here: I started at FCMoD in November 2017.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing my violin, going on hikes, listening to podcasts, and playing with my cat and dog.

Hometown: I’m from Dallas, Texas.

Current/previous occupation: I am currently working as a Medical Scribe and Assistant at a Neurology Clinic. I graduated with a B.A. in Music and was a Pre-Med, so I am currently applying to medical schools. I am interested in either pediatrics or academia to become a medical school professor. I am keeping my options open!

Favorite book: My favorite book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Favorite vacation memory: My favorite vacation memory was at my grandma’s house in Akka, Israel when my cousin and I found a dove with a broken wing. We were able to foster it and get it the help it needed, so that was neat! My grandmother taught me the word for “bird” in Arabic and I never forgot it!

One thing you want people to know about you: I love meeting new people and learning about what makes everyone unique so if there is anything you would like to know about me, come and introduce yourself!

Favorite thing about volunteering at FCMoD: I like being able to interact with different age groups here at the museum. I also love seeing what kids can teach me and discovering what they are passionate and excited about. The museum creates an excellent space for learning and exploring.

Thank you for all you do for FCMoD, Rawan!

 

Interested in volunteering? Learn more here.

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Armistice: The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Research Assistant, and Doug Ernest, Archive Volunteer.

Join us on Thursday, November 8th, for World War I and Fort Collins: Exploring the John Hurdle Scrapbook in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater to commemorate the “War to End All Wars” through the local lens of a remarkable scrapbook created by John Hurdle, a Fort Collins man who traveled to Europe and served on the Western Front with Artillery Battery A during The Great War.

Armistice:

On November 11, 1918, an armistice with Germany was signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne. The ceasefire went into effect at 11am, and for the soldiers of Battery A, the war was effectively over.

“There was none of the cheering or the excitement, crying, weeping, hugging and slapping of shoulders that you would want to see. It is hard to express our feelings. We were tired.” Fort Collins Weekly Courier, December 27, 1918

H12036: WWI Red Cross Nurses in Parade on College Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado, 1917

The fighting may have been over, but it would be many more months before the soldiers of Battery A returned home to Fort Collins.

Soldiers of the 66th Field Artillery Brigade (which included Battery A) were part of the occupation force in Germany. They spent a few weeks in Blercourt; on Thanksgiving were served a huge traditional dinner; on December 2 departed for Germany; and celebrated Christmas Day in Germany by opening six kegs of beer. They remained in the town of Hohr-Grenzhausen, near Koblenz, until late May 1919.

H00350: Charles Conrey (circa 1910), killed in action during WWI

Stories in Fort Collins newspapers in 1918 and 1919 reported the deaths of three men of Battery A. Charles Conrey was killed in action on October 10, 1918. Jesse Martin and Frank Niemeyer died of pneumonia while the unit was still in Europe. In addition to these three, John Hurdle’s album lists four other casualties: Louis H. Pinkham, Charles C. Moore, James Orendorf, and Walter G. Ridgeway.

“LeRoy Hafen’s Colorado and its People, Volume 1 (1949), page 540, reports that ‘1,009 [Colorado military personnel] were killed or died in service.’ … Many died of disease, including Walter Ridgeway of Battery A, felled by tuberculosis. … Ironically the number of war dead paled in comparison with the more than 7,783 Coloradans who died during the influenza pandemic which dealt death around the world mainly between September 1918 and early 1919.” (Colorado World War I Centennial Commission)

Battery A soldiers left Germany for France on May 26, 1919; departed France on June 3; and arrived in New York City on June 15. At Camp Mills, on June 19, their regiment was disbanded.  Batteries A, B, C, D, and E arrived at Colorado Springs on June 24 via train, and “the Regiment marched in parade amid the shouts and praises of the entire populace.” From there the soldiers went on to Denver, Fort Collins, and Cheyenne, where they received similar welcomes “and the appreciation from the citizens of our record on the fields of France.” By the end of June the batteries had been discharged from military service.

To learn more about what happened to our Fort Collins soldiers AFTER World War, check out the resources below. And visit the Archive!

Resources:

 

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National Authors Day: Barbara Fleming

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

National Authors Day

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery had the honor of interviewing local author, Barbara Fleming. Barbara, a Colorado native, was interested in history and reading historical novels at a young age. When she went to college at Colorado State University, she studied English and writing. Barbara then ventured out to work as a journalist, teacher, and finally found herself writing books of her own in the 1980s.

Barbara sat down with staff for an interview in honor of National Authors Day on November 1st. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to FCMoD?

I am a native of Fort Collins. I have always been a lover of history. When I retired, and we moved back to Fort Collins, my late husband and I, I started writing the historical column for the now Fort Collins Weekly which became Fort Collins Now, in the meantime I had been contacted by a company called Arcadia publishing about writing historical books. So, I got together with a friend of mine, Mac McNeill, and we put together Fort Collins: The Miller Photographs and in the course of writing that I got even more interested in the history of my hometown because it is rich and fascinating. So, when the Weekly went out of business, I contacted the Coloradoan and started writing the column for them. Doing that brought me to the Archive multiple times before and after it was moved to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD). I was well acquainted with [the archivists] back in the basement of the Carnegie building, where the Archive used to be, and am still now acquainted with the archivists at FCMoD. So, I have been coming to the Archive for a very long time.

“The history of [Fort Collins] is rich and fascinating.”

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I was always a writer. I started writing, almost, well actually before I started school and I taught myself to read when I was four years old. When I was young I was going to be like Jo March from little women – I was going to be sitting in a garret and eating apples and writing famous books. Didn’t quite work out that way, I had to earn a living, so instead I started teaching English. I did write a book in 1983, which is called, Fort Collins a Pictorial History, which is a hard-back book that is now out of print. And subsequently I wrote from time to time about various topics for various publications. It was not until I came back here that I started to devote more time. I went to college at CSU. My late husband Tom and I lived in Denver for a time and I taught at various community colleges as an adjunct English teacher. But I was always a writer.

  1. How did the process of writing your first book, Journeying, go?

Journeying was the first book I published without a co-author. Then I published a couple more: Legendary Locals of Fort Collins, Fort Collins A History, and Hidden History of Fort Collins. The process included a lot of research, and a lot of pondering. But when I write a novel – and I have written several, even though only two have been published – I just wait for the characters to find out what they are going to do, that’s hard to describe if you’re not a writer, but writers understand that. Journeying is historical fiction. The others I have written are more contemporary, but who knows if they will ever see the light of day, it’s hard to say.

  1. Now that you’ve been published, is there anything you wish you would have known before?

I think any writer can look at anything he or she has published and would like to do it all over again. We can see the flaws even if other people can’t. But, no, when your writing you reach a point that I quit that’s it and enough is enough and you let it go because you have to. So, no there is not anything that I wish I would have known before.

  1. What are some books you would recommend for locals to learn about Fort Collins history?

History of Larimer County Colorado by Ansel Watrous – it’s not a book you sit down and read, but a book you can take in bits and pieces of. And a book that ought to be in any serious historian’s library. And Fort Collins Yesterdays by Evadene Swanson as well as and John Gray’s book The Story of Camp and Fort Collins: Calvary and Coaches, which I would love to own (but if I got it through ebay or somewhere it would cost me almost $300 so I can’t do that). The Wrecking Ball of Progress by Wayne Sundberg is a good video to understand about historic preservation. The museum has done a video about the history of Fort Collins and that’s a good one too. I don’t listen to podcasts so can’t recommend one. There is a digital newspaper state collection online, Colorado historic newspapers, which goes from beginning of newspapers of the 1860s to 1924, that they have all been digitized.

  1. What role would you like to see museums like FCMoD play in helping prepare young people for a career in STEAM related fields?

Anything that can get them engaged is of value. Young people are – well I can’t make generalizations – I feel young people can be somewhat disaffected, and not as involved with the world around them as we – or I – would like them to be. Anything a museum, or anyplace really, does that reaches young people and encourages them to be engaged and hands-on is of value. The arts are critical to the survival of a culture. We need art.

“Anything a museum does that reaches young people and encourages them to be engaged & hands-on is of value.”

  1. FCMoD’s archive has multiple of your books in our collections. How does it feel to have your story preserved in a museum?

I think it’s very gratifying. I think the more information we can share about history the better. To me, history is not just dates and events – and that’s the way it is usually taught. And so, a lot of people say they hate history and say it is boring. History is people and their stories. And so, I don’t record history. I tell stories. And there is a huge difference between the two. So, I am pleased if my stories are there for future generations.

  1. What do you wish people would ask you about writing?

Hmm…  I think rather than having people ask me about writing, because it is such an individual task, I would like to be able to encourage people to write, whether they think they are good writers or not, because everyone has stories to tell and we ought to share our stories. So even if you do nothing more as an older person than write out significant events in your life, you are telling a story and that is what is important. I would love to think that such ideas and information are being shared by younger generations. One of the things I do is through the Partnership for Age- Friendly Communities- a formal nonprofit organization. They publish a blog once a month called Graceful Aging that is written by older people whose stories are told about their experiences of aging. Our goal is to reach young people to help them understand what it feels like to be old and what kind of experiences we had and what we share; to touch them in some way.

  1. Here at FCMoD, we tell the stories of Northern Colorado. Part of the museum’s vision is to inspire inquisitive thinkers. What advice do you have for the future journalists, writers, authors and dreamers of the world?

Well for writers, first of all, write about what you know, write from your own life and experience and it will expand as you begin to write to the world around you.

For dreamers, I think anything is possible, the world is changing so rapidly, so intensely, that we sometimes, I feel that I am on a merry-go-round, going around and around, faster than I can keep up with. I think you just have to grab the brass ring and believe anything is possible… because look how far we’ve come.

In my lifetime, it’s astounding, we have gone from communication by telephone – when I was growing up we had a party line – to this; to the internet. It is astounding what has happened, even in the last twenty years. I think it is because people keep dreaming, and I think people need to keep dreaming. Writers should know though that making a living writing is tough, really tough. I couldn’t live on my writing. I travel on it, but I couldn’t live on it. Unless you’re really lucky or if you’re JK Rowling or James Patterson, you’re not going to make a living. But that should not deter them from writing because there are always stories to share. And I think we do not share enough.

“I think you just have to grab the brass ring and believe anything is possible… because look how far we’ve come.”

Thank you to Barbara for her time and for sharing her stories!

To find out more about Barbara’s books and to hear more from a local author follow: www.authorbarbarafleming.com

Barbara will also be at a book signing December 1st at JAX Outdoor for their annual author day celebration.

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Día de los Muertos Celebration

Guest post written by Poudre River Public Library District, with thanks to Johanna & Ludy. 

Day of the Dead Celebration and Altar Exhibit

The Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos is an annual Mexican celebration when families gather to honor the memory of loved ones on October 31, November 1, and 2. Scholars trace the origins of this celebration back hundreds of years to Aztec festivals held during the summer. After colonization, the festivities were shifted to coincide with “All Saint’s Eve.”

Since then, the festivity has been celebrated all over the world and centers on honoring, remembering, and celebrating the lives of those who have departed.

Our community, organizations, and agencies have celebrated Día de los Muertos for over a decade with the Poudre River Public Library District. We are very intentional in the creation of a program that decenters power of European ideologies in this event.

This year the celebration of family and remembrance takes center stage at the Día de los Muertos Celebration at Northside Aztlan Community Center (112 E. Willow St.) on Friday, November 2 from 5:00 – 6:30PM.

The entire community is invited to celebrate the Day of the Dead and learn about this traditional Mexican holiday. This year’s event includes family-friendly activities, bilingual storytime, sugar skull decoration, altars, live music and dance, and Mexican food sampling.

Traditional Altar Display

One of the most visual parts of the Día de los Muertos tradition is the altar, a carefully crafted centerpiece of the annual celebration. For this year’s celebration, a specially crafted altar, designed and created by Ludy Rueda representing the Library District, will be on display at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (408 Mason Ct.) from October 24 – November 4.

Each family or individual’s Día de los Muertos altar is a complex and personal creation with incredible symbolism as each element included carries specific meaning. Here are the most important elements, from flowers to food to fire, and what they mean.

The free Día de los Muertos community celebration is presented by Poudre River Public Library District, City of Fort Collins Parks and Recreation, The Family Center La Familia, and Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Image courtesy Poudre River Public Library District

Celebración y Ofrenda del Día de los Muertos

El día de los muertos es una celebración Mexicana donde cada año las familias se reúnen para honrar a sus ancestros y seres queridos del 31 de octubre al 2 de noviembre. El origen de esta celebración data cientos de años atrás cuando nativos Aztecas celebraban rituales durante el verano dedicados a la muerte.  Después de la colonización, las fechas de las festividades se cambiaron para coincidir con creencias post-colombinas como “la noche de todos los santos”.

Desde entonces, esta celebración ha sido acogida en diferentes partes del mundo y se centra en honrar, recordar y celebrar la vida de aquellos que ya han partido.

Nuestra comunidad, diferentes organizaciones y agencias, han celebrado con el distrito bibliotecario esta hermosa tradición por más de una década. En este evento en particular, el distrito bibliotecario ha creado un programa que, de forma intencional, descentraliza el poder de ideologías Eurocéntricas.

Este año la celebración familiar será en el Centro Comunitario Northside Atzlan (112 E. Willow St.) el viernes 2 de noviembre de 5:00 a 6:30 PM.

Invitamos cordialmente a la comunidad a celebrar esta hermosa tradición mexicana. El evento incluirá actividades para toda la familia: hora del cuento bilingüe, decoración de calaveras de azúcar, ofrendas, danza, mariachi y comida mexicana.

Ofrenda

La ofrenda o altar es un elemento fundamental en esta tradición, la cual es cuidadosamente creada en honor de los familiares o personajes ilustres fallecidos. Este año contaremos con una ofrenda cuidadosamente diseñada e instalada por Ludy Rueda, quien representa al distrito bibliotecario. Dicha ofrenda estará en exhibición del 24 de octubre al 4 de noviembre en el Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins (408 Mason Ct.)

Es importante señalar que cada familia o individuo crea una ofrenda que es personal, compleja y que utiliza detalles y elementos que tienen un gran significado.  En la siguiente imagen encontrará un breve resumen de algunos de estos elementos y sus significados.

 

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Reptile Awareness Day

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

Happy Reptile Awareness Day!

What makes a reptile a reptile?

Reptiles are vertebrates with scaly, with dry, water-proof skin. They generally lay eggs with leathery shells, unlike the hard-shelled eggs of birds. Reptiles are poikilothermic, generally termed as “cold blooded,” which means they maintain their body temperature through external sources of heat such as basking in the sun. Reptiles that live in northern latitudes – such as those native to Colorado – will become dormant in winter: their bodily processes slow in the cold.

There are four orders of animal that make up the class Reptilia: Testudines (turtles), Squamata (lizards and snakes), Crocodylia (crocodiles and alligators), and Rhynchocephalia (tuataras). Turtles and crocodiles first appeared on earth along with the dinosaurs!

Reptiles live on all continents except Antarctica.

 

Meet FCMoD’s Reptiles:

Ball Python (Python regius)

 

Our Ball Python, named Slinky, is approximately 20 years old.  The oldest Ball Python on record lived to be 40 years! The species is native to sub-Saharan Africa. Ball Pythons often burrow underground to stay cool in the African heat. They also may cool themselves in pools of water.

This python is named “ball” because when threatened, it curls into a ball for protection, hiding its head and neck (the most vulnerable parts) in the middle of the ball. Ball Pythons are also called “Royal Pythons,” as there is a story that royalty in Africa would wear the snakes as jewelry, because the camouflage pattern on their scales is so beautiful.

 

Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornate)

Our Ornate Box Turtle, Tara, is a species native to Colorado and the Great Plains. She eats fruit and vegetables – she loves pear the most! – and insects. Turtles don’t have teeth, but instead a sharp beak that they can use to crunch through an insect’s exoskeleton or bite into a tough root.

Turtles have a shell that protects them from predators, made from keratin (the same thing our fingernails and hair is made from!). It is attached inside to their spine and ribs. Tara and other turtles (though not tortoises) are able to pull their legs and head completely inside the shell when threatened.

In a cold Colorado winter, Ornate Box Turtles will dig a hole in the ground and hibernate to survive.

 

Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius)

Our two Leopard Geckos are native to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India, where it is dry and rocky. It can get very hot there during the day, so they generally stay in the shade or in burrows while the sun is out. They are active at dawn and dusk when the temperature is more comfortable. As winter in that area can get quite cold, these geckos will stay underground the entire time and hibernate.

Leopard Geckos will hunt for insects, spiders and scorpions, as well as other lizards. A fascinating fact about them is that they are immune to scorpion stings! These reptiles keep their food reserve in their tails, which is why the tail looks so large compared with other lizards. When they are threatened by a predator, they can even drop their tail completely! The predator will be distracted by the tail while the gecko gets away. The tail eventually grows back.

Geckos use their tongues to clean their eyes. They will also use their tongues to figure out what is in the environment around them.

 

How you can celebrate Reptile Awareness Day!

  • Take some time to learn about reptiles! There are some amazing species out there, and the more we know about them the better humans and reptiles can live together.
  • Visit FCMoD and observe our reptiles in our Animal Encounters exhibit! Observing a reptile will help you understand and appreciate these amazing creatures.
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American Archives Month

Post written by staff members at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Did you know October is American Archives Month?

American Archives Month is a nationwide event that presents an opportunity to communicate to people that historical materials important to them are being properly preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by trained archivists, archives assistants, interns, and volunteers.

On October 16th, the Curator of the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD), Lesley Struc, will attend the Fort Collins City Council Meeting for a special proclamation. Mayor Wade Troxell will proclaim October 2018 to be American Archives Month in the City of Fort Collins!

At Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the Archive serves as a free and open resource for people of all ages to learn about the local history of their families, homes, and communities, so we can understand and strengthen our collective memory and reflect on our shared past.

The Archive fosters discovery. Whether you are writing a research paper on local history, are interested in seeing what Old Town looked like 100 years ago, or are viewing local high school yearbooks – the Archive at FCMoD is the place to study firsthand facts, data, and evidence from letters, diaries, reports, scrapbooks, rare books, maps, newspapers, oral histories, and many other primary sources that elucidate the story of Fort Collins. No appointment is necessary to visit the Archive (open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm), but if you have specific questions, contact the Archive staff or Curator of the Archive prior to your visit so we can better assist you. Access to many resources from the Archive’s collection is also available through the Fort Collins History Connection website (history.fcgov.com), an online collaboration between the Poudre River Public Library District and FCMoD.

Celebrate American Archives Month by visiting the Archive at FCMoD today. What will you discover? For more information visit fcmod.org/research.

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