Robert Dash’s photomontages are simply stunning

Have you had a chance to experience our special exhibition, FOOD FOR THOUGHT? It incredibly combines art and sustainability in a picturesque way, capturing the patterns of our world and food systems. Here are some highlights from the exhibition, which is free with museum admission until September 4. It is presented bilingually.

Information about each image, left to right:

Top:

*50 million years ago, Azolla grew in such huge quantities that it is credited with removing half of the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This recent discovery has inspired new efforts to promote the planting of this floating fern as a method of capturing carbon.

*The decline of bees worldwide is well-documented, as is the threat to crops that rely on them for
pollination. Little known is that natural mycelial extracts are being developed which boost bee
immunity. Mycologist Paul Stamets says, “Mycelium is the immune system of the mushroom.”

*This image in inspired by the 1968 Earthrise photo taken from space by William Anders. That iconic image launched the environmental movements decades ago. Today, agriculture is both the source and potential healer of the climate crisis. Blueberries in Michigan are being impacted by seasonal shifts which bring new pests, harsh weather, and fewer pollinators.

Middle:

*Buckwheat is an excellent source of plant-based protein. When used as a cover crop, buckwheat
reduces the need for fertilizer, captures carbon, and helps soil hold water.

*Ironically, some large farm organic practices, producing kale and other popular foods, create more GHG than does conventional agriculture.

*Lace lichen has been used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes; it has antibacterial properties. Lichens are an indicator of clean air, and lace lichen doesn’t thrive where there are significant levels of pollution. It has been impacted by wildfires caused by drought; researchers have found it failing to return to burn sites even ten years after a fire.

Bottom:

*Fungal/mycelial networks are indispensable for creating healthy soil, optimum conditions for plant growth, and remarkably: rain. Trillions of fungal spoors released into the air act as rain seeds, which create clouds.

*Globally, insect populations are under stress. Researchers have named “nutrient dilution hypothesis” as another possible factor for impacting insects. Increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 cause plants to bulk up on carbon, which leads to reduced nutrients.

All images courtesy Robert Dash.

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The B&M Printing Company: Tear-a-day Calendars, How One Thing Leads to Another

By Sarah Frahm, Archive Assistant, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

In the Cahill Collection, a collection of items from the Wolfer and Cahill families who were grocers and bankers in Fort Collins, there is a tear-a-day calendar. The Wolfer and Cahill collection will be featured in an upcoming Women’s History presentation by the Archive and Collections staff, and the tear-a-day calendar stands out.

This little calendar, about three inches by five inches, starts in the middle of the month with half of the pages already torn out. Each page is mostly blank space for jotting down notes but there are a few printed sentences at the top, part of a story told over the whole month.

The B&M Calendar in 1941, part of the local B&M Printing company

Sometimes, when going through a collection, either for processing or researching, there isn’t time to wonder deeply about an item. Other times, something is so odd or striking that it demands more time and investigation. The answers for questions about this calendar, a singular item from the folders of the Cahill Collection, came from another collection and newspapers.

Newspaper clipping for B&M Services, courtesy the Express-Courier, June 28, 1931

In 1930 William Berry, a foreman for The Fort Collins Express-Courier newspaper and Joseph H. McClelland, grandson and son of McClellands who were newspapermen, bought a press and started a printing company, B&M Printing. To advertise their business beyond newspaper ads, McClelland came up with the idea of a calendar notepad that could be given to potential customers. The calendar would be useful and therefore likely near-to-hand so that customers would be reminded often of B&M Printing.

B&M’s No. 48 Scratch Pad
A collection of B&M Calendars from 1945

Although McClelland left B&M Printing in 1933 to help run the family orchards south of town, Berry continued to print the calendar notepads. Roughly a hundred of these calendars covering the years from 1936 to 1953 are in the Archive in the B&M Printing Collection. The features of the calendars cover a whole range of topics. Some notepads were partnerships with other companies and organizations in town, such as The Business and Professional Women’s Club. One notepad had a story written by local author Agnes Wright Spring.

Sometimes Berry informed his customers about the slow rate of deliveries for office supplies due to lingering wartime shortages, other times he used the covers to stump for his own views on political questions of the day from fencing along a ditch at City Park to federal spending and taxing. Berry wrote his own histories of Fort Collins and Larimer County as well.

The story in the June 1941 calendar pad was borrowed from the Nebraska State Journal and supposedly from the Nebraska Senator Don Hanna. The whole tale is quite a tall one, involving the gentleman spending a night inside the chest cavity of his dead horse in order to survive a blizzard, only to be awoken by two hungry wolves biting at his hiding place. According to Hanna’s telling, he then managed to grab the tails of the wolves and drive them like sled dogs with Hanna inside the horse behind them to the homestead where Hanna’s wife dispatched the wolves and chopped Hanna free of the frozen carcass.

Including such a wild story in a calendar for Mr. Berry was likely a marketing tactic. Indeed, the final page of the June 1941 calendar calls for a customer submission of any tale better than the one told by Don Hanna. A subsequent calendar from December 1945 reminds users of the calendar notepads that while the notepads may be useful and entertaining they are advertisements for B&M Printing, printers and suppliers of office equipment.

The final page of June 1945 calendar
            The cover of December 1945 calendar

This exact aim of Berry’s calendars is probably why one of them ended up among the items of the Cahills. J.B. Cahill was a local grocer and businessman, as well as a member of the board for the First National Bank. He was the kind of person whom Berry would want as a customer, perhaps printing flyers for the Wolfer-Cahill grocery stores or letterhead for the bank. It is unknown if B&M Printing actually ever fulfilled a print order for Mr. Cahill or his associates but the connection between these two collections in the Archive points to how former residents of Fort Collins might have interacted with each other.

Sources:

Fort Collins Express-Courier, September 11, 1930

Fort Collins Express-Courier, June 28, 1931

Cahill-Wolfer-Blattspieler Collection, The Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

B and M Printing Company Collection, The Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

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Event at OtterBox Digital Dome Theater: Women’s History in Fort Collins

It’s the fifth year of exploring local women’s history at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Join us on August 10 as the Archive and Collections staff at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery share stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. It all takes place in our OtterBox Digital Dome Theater.

We’ll be highlighting the paths of many local luminaries for an inspirational evening full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information. We’re so excited to return to a live, in-person event for this occasion.

This is a free event. RSVP is required.

Find out more on our Women’s History collections. 

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Join us August 17 at the museum for Music Industry Night

Calling all music industry folks: you’re invited to our Music Community Family Dinner on August 17 in the museum’s Big Backyard. Join us in sharing four courses under the stars, using rescued food from Vindeket Foods, a no-cost grocery store located in Fort Collins. After dinner, More Than Physics will be hosting a musician’s yoga session and we’ll have tricks of the trade to staying healthy on the road.

You’ll also have the opportunity to view FOOD FOR THOUGHT, our new special exhibition. This exhibit offers a unique lens on the ways in which food is connected to climate change and other ecological issues of our times. 

Special thanks to Fort Collins Musician Association and Music Minds Matter for working to present this event with the museum. 

MusiCares, Alliance for Suicide Prevention, The Phoenix, and Blast N Scrap will all be sharing resources and information at the event.

The Music Community Family Dinner is free to attend. Pre-registration is required. 

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