We are so excited that, for the first time since 2019, we will be hosting our annual Women’s History presentation live in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater here at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Join us on the evening of Wednesday, August 10 from 7:00-8:30pm to learn about these fascinating Fort Collins women through Museum collections, archival images, and more. Get inspired!
Mary Ault was born in 1911, grew up in Fort Collins and began flying at age 19, when only 117 American women had earned a pilot’s license. In March 1931 she became the first licensed female pilot from Fort Collins. Mary became a member of the Betsy Ross Flying Corps, a pre-WWII organization of female pilots formed to support the Army Air Corps. When tragedy struck in 1945, Mary’s life took an unexpected — and personally meaningful – direction. In Mary’s own words, seen on the National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor, “I didn’t make a career of it but never lost my love for flying
Adrienne Jean Roucolle hailed from France and arrived in the Fort Collins area with her family circa 1888 when she was about 13 years old. She lived near the present-day intersection of North Shields Street and Highway 287 at a home the locals called “Lafayette’s Place,” a cottage surrounded by gardens and fruit orchards. A long illness by her little sister Marie Antoinette inspired Adrienne to concoct wondrous stories to entertain and enchant her sibling; these fairy tales were gathered and published in 1898 into her first book – TheKingdom of the Good Fairies. She went on to write several more books, plays, and newspaper serials, that celebrated adventure, fantasy, and romance.
Belva Williams Cahill, born 1896, moved to Fort Collins with her family when she was a young woman. She lived with her parents until she got married to JB Cahill in 1921. The Cahills had two daughters, Shirley and Beverly. The typical life of a wife and mother can be hard to trace in an archive, but the snapshots of Belva’s life help answer the question of who around Fort Collins. Who worked at Wolfer’s grocery store? Who got their hair done at Varra’s Beauty Salon? Belva Cahill.
Frances Withers Bigelow was born on March 15, 1913, in Denver, Colorado. Women ministers seem commonplace now, but when she was ordained in 1958, she was one of the first six ordained women in the Methodist Church nationwide. From 1973-1977 Frances W. Bigelow served as the Associate Minister at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Collins. Even after she retired, Frances led church services as needed. Leading churches in Colorado and Wyoming was only part of Frances’ legacy. In Fort Collins, she was instrumental in the planning of Elderhaus and the first substance abuse center in the city.
Object collections like the Historical Artifact Collection at FCMoD often harbor insights into the lives of people who are not well represented in the written record. Teasing out these stories, however, can be tricky. Join Collections Curator Linda Moore as she shares the stories of local women that are contained within FCMoD’s collection of objects. These women include a surprising number of artists, as well as adventurers, educators, and community activists.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is very excited to announce that we will host our next traveling exhibit from June 18 through September 4.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT Micro Views of Sustenance: Threats and Prospects offers a micro perspective on how one part of nature –our food– is connected to climate change.
Using photomontages, Robert Dash’s work ponders threats to our staple foods and provides hopeful prospects surrounding the issue of climate change.
The subjects and sources of Dash’s intriguing images were primarily found in the San Juan Islands, Washington. and he was granted permission to use the University of Washington, Friday Harbor Lab’s electron microscope for these spectacular images.
Robert Dash is an educator, photographer and naturalist whose work has been published by National Geographic, TIME, Buzzfeed and LensWork. In 2016, he presented a widely viewed TEDx talk entitled “The Intercourse of Nature: It’s What We Are.”
El Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins se complace en anunciar la próxima exhibición especial, que se llevará a cabo desde el 18 de junio al 4 de septiembre.
La exhibición especialAlimentando ideas. Microvistas del sustento: amenazas y posibilidades, ofrece una perspectiva micro sobre cómo una parte de la naturaleza, nuestra comida, está conectada directamente con el cambio climático.
Por medio de fotomontajes, el trabajo de Robert Dash reflexiona sobre algunas de las amenazas a nuestros alimentos básicos y brinda perspectivas distintas y esperanzadoras en torno al tema del cambio climático.
Los temas y las fuentes de las intrigantes y espectaculares imágenes de Dash se encontraron principalmente en las Islas San Juan, en Washington, y para poder llevarlas a cabo, se le concedió permiso para utilizar el microscopio electrónico de Friday Harbor Lab de la Universidad de Washington.
Robert Dash es un educador, fotógrafo y naturalista cuyo trabajo ha sido publicado por National Geographic, TIME, Buzzfeed y LensWork. En 2016, presentó una charla TEDx ampliamente vista titulada The Intercourse of Nature: It’s What We Are.
We are just finishing up our inaugural year of FCMoD Squad. For the past nine months, FCMoD Squad members worked with our FCMoD Squad Leadership Team to get involved in the music community.
We are starting our second year this summer, and we’d love for individuals between 15 and 19 years old to consider taking part.
If you love music, and want skills in leadership, public speaking, and collaborating with like-minded folks, fill out our application up until July 11. Jam sessions are highly encouraged.
Read on to learn more about FCMoD Squad.
So, what is FCMoD Squad?
One of the best things in town. Really.
The FCMoD Squad is a youth advisory board consisting of individuals from across the Front Range. The FCMoD Squad ranges in ages from 15-19 and meets twice a month at the museum for a 9 month period. In that time, they actively engage the community in a variety of ways, including reviewing and judging entries for local music competitions and events, touring world class studios, participating in college level presentations and discussions, emceeing stages at concerts, and much more.
The purpose of FCMoD Squad is to provide hands on experience and education pertaining to the local music community as well as represent the voice and influence of our emerging youth.
Who are the FCMod Squad?
The FCMoD Squad are individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 who are interested in becoming more involved within Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and their community. By participating in FCMoD Squad, you are dedicated, open to learn, and participate fairly. Most of all, you are open to positive new experiences to learn from and pass on.
FCMoD Squad members will:
Actively provide insight into current and future museum exhibits, programs, and events
Participate in outings with other community groups and organizations
By Barbara Cline, Archive Assistant – Processing, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Is there anything special about July 12, 1962? I imagine there are several reasons for that date to be special. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration article on their website, it was “The Day Information Went Global.” It was the day that the world first witnessed communications via satellite.
On July 10, 1962, the first active communications satellite, Telstar, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Thor/Delta 316 rocket.
The first transatlantic television signal was relayed via Telstar two days later on July 12, 1962, from Andover Earth Station, Maine, to Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center, Brittany, France. Maine and France had the two tracking stations for Telstar.
Though only operational for a few months, the Telstar satellite transmitted images from President John F. Kennedy’s press conference, short clips of sporting events and images of an American flag and Mount Rushmore.
The first telephone call via Telstar was between Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and Fred Kappel, President of AT&T.
“Good evening, Mr. Vice President,” Kappel said. “This is Fred Kappel calling from the Earth Station at Andover, Maine. The call is being relayed through our Telstar satellite as I’m sure you know. How do you hear me?”
“You’re coming through nicely, Mr. Kappel,” said Vice President Johnson.
So, we see the beginning of the information age. But what is the connection between Fort Collins and Telstar, you ask? Let me tell you!
Telstar 2 was launched by NASA on May 7, 1963 and remained active for two years. As part of a Memorial Day-Centennial event on May 21, 1964, Myron “Mike” M. Braden, president of the Fort Collins Rotary Club and Rotary district governor in Sweden, Percy Hallencruetz, spoke via Telstar 2. By using the satellite, the Swedish Rotarian was able to express congratulations on the occasion of Fort Collins’ Centennial anniversary. Mr. Hallencruetz tied the Centennial slogan to the use of Telstar in making this phone call:
“This is probably why we are making this call the way we are. But I didn’t tell you, Mike, that this call is taking place by way of Telstar. The most advanced means of communication in this fast-moving world of ours. This is our way of helping you make your Centennial slogan come true: Past Achievements Challenge the Future. It’s an excellent slogan, and I cannot think of any better way to challenge the future, nor to fulfill the dreams of the past than to speak to you on this historic occasion through the reality of today’s modern communication achievement, the Telstar satellite.”
When you use your cell phones and other handheld devices, laptops, and televisions, you can proudly note that Fort Collins was at the forefront of the use of satellites. And as you ponder this piece of local, national, and international history, you can listen on YouTube to “Telstar” by the Tornadoes. Inspired by the first of the famous satellites, the pop song went to number one on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
By Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Pollination is one of the most important things that happens in the natural world and without it, life on Earth would look very different. Here are key points that I would like to share out.
What is pollination?
Many plants use a technique called pollination to reproduce. The plant produces pollen, which must be transferred to another flower of the same species. Once pollination happens, the plant can make seeds, which grow into new plants.
Plants need some help to get pollen moved around, since they don’t move on their own. Only 20% of plants manage to get pollinated with only wind or water as a vector. The vast majority of flowering plants require an animal to help: a pollinator.
What are pollinators?
Many species help pollinate plants: bees, wasps, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats.
In Colorado, our most common pollinators are: more than 250 species of butterfly, 946 species of bees, and more than 1,000 species of moth.
Why should you care about helping pollinators?
Humans depend on plants for many things. A small sample:
Take a deep breath. Feel that good clean air in your lungs? Plants consume carbon dioxide, which is a poison for us, and produce oxygen, that we breathe.
Eat a strawberry. Many fruits and vegetables we enjoy depend on pollination.
Have a glass of water. Plants can filter pollutants from water, making it safer for humans to drink.
Heal your pain. Many medicines, like aspirin, are derived from plants. Humans have been using plants to heal themselves for thousands of years.
Look at your house, or a building nearby. Chances are, it’s largely made of wood and other plant-derived products.
Wash up. Many soaps, shampoos, and other cleaners are made from plants.
Get dressed. Many fabrics, like cotton, linen and bamboo, are made from plant materials.
How can you help pollinators?
There are two big threats to pollinators that you can help with.
Many species that act as pollinators are in decline due to something called habitat loss. The environment that these animals evolved to live in is decreasing, largely due to human activity. Any time a suburb is built where there used to be wild lands, the animals that depend on it will die. What can you do? Look up native plants and add them to any landscape you can, so that pollinators have space to live alongside humans. In Fort Collins, try planting prairie wildflowers, like chocolate daisies, in your flower beds instead of cultivated flowers from somewhere else in the world. Have a native plant like yucca in a pot on your balcony. Tell your friends and neighbors to do so too. Remind your representatives that we need to make space for our wildlife neighbors.
The other big factor affecting many pollinators is the common use of herbicides and pesticides. Many of these have been found to affect species that we actually like. In the news recently (spring 2022) is a common herbicide, glyphosphate, that turns out to kill bees as well as the intended weeds. What can you do? Read about any herbicide or pesticide and find out what else it’s going to do, and if you must use it follow the directions precisely. Or, use other ways of controlling pests such as trimming or removing infested plants by hand.
Pollinators at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Check out the honeybee colony featured in our Animal Encounters Zone. These bees form a thriving colony that go out and collect nectar – and pollinate flowers – every day. Come see them hard at work!
After some time away, volunteering is back and more important than ever at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. We even have a new volunteer and internship coordinator, Jessica. Let’s check in with Jessica to find more about the program, her vision, and how you can take part in our volunteering efforts. As for internships, those are coming back soon too, and we will certainly keep our community posted as that all happens.
Welcome to Fort Collins Museum of Discovery! What’s been the best thing so far?
Jessica: The best thing about working at FCMoD is the people—it’s a joy to work with such a community-minded group. From our wonderful staff to our dedicated volunteers, providing a meaningful experience and space to learn for the Northern Colorado community has always been the priority. It means a lot to work within an organization that shares a lot of my own goals and values. I started out as a volunteer myself, and it’s been so fun to step into different spaces and roles to see the full spectrum of all that FCMoD achieves.
You join us as FCMoD’s volunteer and internship coordinator. It’s great to have volunteering back. What does volunteerism mean to you?
To me, volunteerism is a chance to not only bring your own unique skills, experience, and knowledge to an organization, but also utilizing the opportunity to develop and grow personally. There’s something really powerful about bringing all our respective strengths and backgrounds together to work towards the same goal.
For me personally (and I bet for a lot of others as well), volunteering also gives me the space to work directly within my passions and interests. My background is in ecosystem science and sustainability, and that’s still where much of my energy goes to. Volunteerism has allowed me to keep my personal values regarding wildlife conservation and sustainability active and relevant within other aspects of my life.
I hear you volunteer at a raptor program. Cool! What’s your favorite part about being a volunteer there?
My favorite part about volunteering with the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program (RMRP) is getting to share my love of wildlife and conservation with the public, especially young learners. Handling raptors is definitely cool, but nothing fills me with more joy than being able to present our beautiful Educational Ambassador birds and educate people not only about the animals, but also what they can do to be stewards of the natural world and help the RMRP achieve its mission.
As an experienced volunteer, what advice do you have for FCMoD volunteers?
Try your best to build community and relationships with fellow volunteers and staff. Not only does this help individuals feel supported and have fun during their service, it also creates a strong foundation for FCMoD’s mission and vision to be accomplished. It’s my belief that a strong sense of community is the basis for an effective volunteer program, and volunteering gives us a space to meet people with similar interests, values, and goals. At the very least, I hope all FCMoD volunteers feel comfortable in coming to me with any questions, concerns, or ideas. I hope to make it clear to any FCMoD volunteer or intern that I am here as their resource and support, and their experience within FCMoD is my priority.
What are some of the goals that you have with volunteers in our community?
I hope to offer a volunteer program that not only helps FCMoD achieve its mission and vision, but also helps propel volunteers through experience and leadership opportunities. One of my main goals is to offer a program where non-traditional students can fulfill school credit through experience-based service learning, rather than in a traditional classroom setting. I strive to provide opportunities for students who might struggle in a traditional classroom but might also thrive within direct experiences. I hope to create and foster a volunteer program that can highlight the important life skills that can be learned while serving as a volunteer, and later applied in other areas of life.
Where can folks go to become a volunteer?
Volunteering with FCMoD starts by going to our website and submitting an application. I’m always happy to answer questions or give more insight on this process for anyone who is curious—my “door” is always open.
Are there any volunteer events we can look forward to?
We are hoping to have a special Volunteer Orientation scheduled during the summer. Since COVID put a big pause on our volunteer program and other FCMoD activities, this orientation will be a chance for returning and new volunteers to meet new staff, learn of the changes that have occurred at FCMoD, and hopefully start building a community together. April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, so I’m hoping to plan a Volunteer Appreciation party during April to show our gratitude for all our wonderful volunteers.
As far as upcoming volunteer opportunities, there are a couple of exciting new traveling exhibits that FCMoD will be hosting through the summer and fall of 2022. I’m hoping to use these exhibitions as a chance to bring new volunteers into the program especially since they tie into climate change. I feel FCMoD and its volunteers can use these exhibitions to have a powerful impact and help our community feel like they can take real steps towards tackling the issue of climate change.
When will the internship program be coming back and where can folks go for information?
Unfortunately, our internship program will have to wait to resume until 2023. For those wanting more information, all are welcome to email me to learn more.
So, what’s your favorite museum exhibition?
My favorite permanent exhibit is our Animal Encounters zone. I got my start at FCMoD volunteering in that department, and the Animal Encounters husbandry team does a wonderful job of keeping our live animals happy and healthy. Animal care and education is a personal passion of mine, and I love seeing the educational programming that the Animal Encounters husbandry team provides for the public.
My favorite traveling exhibit that has come through so far is Mind Matters. Mental health is such an important topic that impacts everyone, and I loved being a part of providing a safe space for these kinds of conversations to foster. Mental health is hard to talk about, and even harder to do something about. It was so important for me to see not only the conversations that guests and their families started because of the exhibit, but also the resources FCMoD and our collaborative partners were able to provide.
What does it mean to work at a place as cool as FCMoD?
Working at FCMoD is cool because we are in a unique position to cater to the needs of not only our local community, but especially to those within the community who are generally underrepresented. It’s also always fun working in a place where I can learn something new every day. From our exhibits to our staff to our volunteers, each piece of information and unique perspective brings about a different dynamic every single day.
I love science, so being in a place that fosters not only scientific curiosity but also how to apply a scientific background to history and culture makes every day exciting and different.
Dope Is Death is the story of how Dr. Mutulu Shakur, stepfather of Tupac Shakur, along with fellow Black Panthers and the Young Lords, combined community health with radical politics to create the first acupuncture detoxification program in America in 1973 – a visionary project eventually deemed too dangerous to exist.
This is a free event.
The event is presented by Fort Collins Museum of Discovery in collaboration with ACT Film Festival, SummitStone, Unite Us, and Northpoint Colorado.