Women’s Suffrage in Colorado: 1877 and Susan B Anthony

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Assistant.

Women’s Suffrage in Colorado: 1877 and Susan B. Anthony

(Image from U.S. National Archives – used in e-article,  no date or identifier given)

Susan B. Anthony spent a month in Colorado in fall 1877 dedicating her considerable political talent to Colorado’s first attempt at voting rights for women.  It failed. 

While most of the country celebrates the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020, Coloradans began our celebration decades ago. That’s because women here got the right to vote in 1893. The road to state suffrage took decades of work, suffered several setbacks along the way – and brought luminary Susan B Anthony out West.

But first – who was first?

In 1869 Wyoming’s territorial legislature approved equal suffrage. The fact that Wyoming was a territory, not a state, is an important distinction (more on that below) – yet Wyoming’s achievement was important.

  • Ruth Orr says that her grandmother was one of the first “women in the world”   to vote in Wyoming in 1869 (Coloradoan, August 23, 1978).   Ruth discusses these and other suffrage issues in her oral history,   available in the Archive.

The Colorado state legislature approved the suffrage referendum in January 1893, and male voters in Colorado approved full suffrage for Colorado women on November 7, 1893. Colorado men were the first men of the country to majority vote for female suffrage. Here’s what a few suffragists of the time said:

  • Susan B Anthony: “The men of Colorado are the best in the world.” (Denver Post, Empire, November 20, 1977, page 39; quoting Anthony from May 8, 1895)
  • Ellis Meredith in a letter to Anthony: “I can’t yet believe it is true—it is too good to be true!” (Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote, Ellen C. Dubois: Simon & Schuster, 2020; p 138)

Let’s not forget, however, that Wyoming’s enfranchisement status, territorial though it was, served as an inspiration for the movement.

  • “Over these difficult years, only the women of Wyoming Territory were able to maintain their franchise rights without interruption, joining with men voters when statehood was secured in 1890. At last and at least, somewhere in the United States, women had full and equal voting rights. In Wyoming they could cast their votes for Congress and for president.”  (Dubois, p 125)

1877: Susan B Anthony comes to Colorado

Colorado territory had not allowed their women at the polls, whereas other territories did (Wyoming Territory passed women’s suffrage on December 1869; Utah Territory on February 1870). For the full story on which states can claim what and when regarding women’s right to vote, read this History Colorado article.

When Colorado sought statehood in 1876, suffragists raised the issue again.

“When Colorado Territory laid plans to become a state in time for the nation’s Centennial, local supporters of woman suffrage saw the historical opportunity to come into the union as the first state with full voting rights for women … Local suffragists petitioned the Colorado constitutional Convention, but it resisted … . Instead, Colorado politicians offered a compromise. Starting one year after statehood, a simplified voters’ referendum … could amend the new constitution to allow women the right to vote. Suffragists accepted the offer … “ (Dubois pages 119-120)

The suffragists of the West needed help —  “enthusiasm was great, but resources were meager”– but few women from the East wanted to spend time here. “[Lucy Stone] wrote to her daughter that her father thought he could make a better living in Colorado than Boston, but ‘I’d rather be hung than live here.’” (Dubois page 120)

The intrepid Susan B Anthony spent a month in Colorado in fall 1877 dedicating herself to the cause:

  • “Anthony .. was a born agitator and an inveterate adventurer, and the call from Colorado proved irresistible. In early September, she arrived in Denver, ready to lecture throughout the state. … With casual fortitude, she rode on a narrow-gauge railroad over a nine-thousand-foot peak to reach a railroad town that was barely three months old.” (Dubois page 121)
  • Read her diary of 1877 here.

Anthony’s efforts were in vain; the Colorado referendum of 1877 was defeated, for various and complicated reasons, by a margin of two to one (see a good account in Colorado Encyclopedia). It did, however, give Colorado women the right to vote in school elections and to hold school offices.

As we all know, the fight was far from over. Our next Suffrage in Colorado blog will look at the events of 1893 and beyond.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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Fourth of July Celebrations in Colorado

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

Fourth of July Celebrations in Colorado

Knights of Columbus float in parade in Fourth of July Parade, Denver, Colorado. From Frank McCafferty scrapbook. Circa 1919.


William Clifford “Cliff” Brollier in front of the old Elks Building at the corner of Walnut and Linden Streets, Fort Collins, Colorado. Photo taken during the July 4 Celebration. The photo was donated by Doris (Brollier) Greenacre. Circa 1913.


Festive Fourth: Sara Hunt, Jill Kusa and Emma Payton join hands to dance to the sounds of Liz Masterson and band during Fourth of July events at City Park. Fort Collins, Colorado. Circa 1993.


Japanese men with parasols marching in Fourth of July Parade in Denver, Colorado. From Frank McCafferty scrapbook. Circa 1919.


Fourth of July parade in Denver – two women with parasols in floral decorated car. From Frank McCafferty scrapbook. Circa 1919.


Similar features adorn the miniature Statue of Liberty at City Park and Rocky Mountain High School senior Chris Olson, who wore his hair in “liberty spikes” during the Fourth of July celebration. Fort Collins, Colorado. Circa 1989.


Spectators and runners enjoy the Fourth of July Firecracker Five race near Horsetooth Reservior. (The Triangle Review, 1979/07/08, p.2)


Fireworks stand in semi-truck trailer near Fort Collins, Colorado. Circa 1979.


Local history lives here. Like us on Facebook to see more historical images and artifacts. Archival images are available for research, purchase, and more through the online Fort Collins History Connection website.

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Father’s Day

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

Father’s in Fort Collins

Today we honor all Father’s, those in the present and in the past.









Local history lives here. Like us on Facebook to see more historical images and artifacts. Archival images are available for research, purchase, and more through the online Fort Collins History Connection website.

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Musicians from Colorado/ Músicos de Colorado

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Programming Lead.

Musicians from Colorado

Colorado has produced some amazing musicians. Explore these groups and individuals! Learn where they are based, interesting tidbits, and more!

Pretty Lights

Band Members (current): Derek Vincent Smith- Born Nov. 25, 1981, Fort Collins, CO

Formed: Boulder, CO 2004

Genre: Electronic

Top Album: A Color Map of the Sun


Formed in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2002, OneRepublic has won several music awards with many nominations. Including nominations for American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, World Music Awards, and Grammy Awards.

Band Members (current): Ryan Tedder,, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, Brian Willett.

Genre: Pop Rock, Pop, Alternative Rock.

Top Album: Native

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Currently based in Denver, Colorado. Nathaniel Rateliff grew up in Missouri. When he came to Denver he first formed Born in the Flood (2002-2008), which transitioned into a more stripped down solo focused effort called Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel (2007-2014). In 2013, while still preforming in earlier bands and groups, Rateliff began a more upbeat and soulful project with longtime collaborator Joseph Pope III and other collaborators. Thus Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats was born.

Band Members (current): Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III, Patrick Meese, Like Mossman, Jeff Dazey, Mark Shusterman, Andreas Wild.

Genre: Soul, Gospel, Folk Rock, Blues Rock, Americana

Top Album: In Memory Of Loss

Gregory Alan Isakov

Currently based in Boulder, Colorado, Isakov originally lived in Johannesburg, South Africa. He and his family immigrated to the US in 1986 and was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He draws influence from Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Bruce Springsteen.

Band Members (current): Gregory Alan Isakov

Genre: Contemporary Folk, Indie Folk, Country Folk

Top Album: This Empty Northern Hemisphere

The Lumineers

Based in Denver, Colorado. The original two founding members Fraites and Schultz began writing and preforming music together in Ramsey, New Jersey in 2005. They were influenced by musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty.

Band Members (current): Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites

Genre: Indie Folk, Folk Rock, Americana

Top Album: The Lumineers


Duo from Boulder, Colorado. They took their name from the area code of Boulder, 303.

Band Members (current): Sean Foreman, Nathaniel Motte

Genre: Synth-pop, Crunkcore, Trap, Electronic Rock, Alternative Rock

Top Album: Streets of Gold


Denver band, formed in 1997. They take their name form the Russian word devotchka (девочка) meaning “girl”.

Band Members (current): Nick Urata, Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King.

Genre: Gypsy Punk, Dark Cabaret, Indie Folk, Indie Rock

Top Album: A Mad and Faithful Telling

Big Head Tod and the Monsters

Formed in 1986 by three Columbine High School students. Began

touring clubs in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder until they built up a following across Colorado and the West. Started touring extensively dubbing their van the “Colonel” who drove over 400,000 miles.

Band Members (current): Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin, Rob Squires, Jeremy Lawton.

Genre: Rock, Blue Rock, Alternative Rock, Funk Rock, Southern Rock, Country Rock, Folk, Jass-Fussion, Jam Band.

Top Album: Sister Sweetly


From Denver, Colorado, Tennis formed in 2010. The husband-wife duo debuted their album Cape Dory in 2011.

Band Members (current):Patrick Riley, Alaina Moore

Genre: Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Surf Pop, Lo-Fi

Top Album: Yours Conditionally

Yonder Mountain String Band

Formed in Nederland, Colorado 1998 this progressive bluegrass group played their first show at the Fox Theater in Boulder.

Band Members (current): Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Allie Kral, and Jake Jolliff.

Genre: Progressive Bluegrass, Country, Jam Band.

Top Album: Elevation

The Fray

The Fray originate from Denver, Colorado in 2002. They achieved worldwide fame with their song “How to Safe a Live”.

Band Members (current): Isaac Slade, Joe King, Dave Welsh, and Ben Wysocki.

Genre: Rock

Top Album: How to Save a Life


Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Músicos de Colorado

¿Sabías que muchos músicos increíbles y famosos han salido de Colorado? Explora los grupos musicales y artistas de nuestro estado, conoce en dónde se basan, algunos datos curiosos y más, mientras escuchas estos géneros musicales diversos.

Pretty Lights

Artista actual: Derek Vincent Smith, nacido el 25 de noviembre de 1981 en Fort Collins, Colorado.

Inició en: Boulder, Colorado, en 2004.

Género: Música electrónica.

Álbum más exitoso: A Color Map of the Sun.

The Fray

La banda The Fray se originó en Denver, Colorado, en el año 2002. Alcanzaron fama mundial con su canción “How to Safe a Life.”

Miembros de la banda (actualmente):

Isaac Slade, Joe King, Dave Welsh, y Ben Wysocki.

Género: Rock.

Álbum más exitoso: How to Save a Life.

Yonder Mountain String Band

Este grupo se formó en el año 1998 en Nederland, Colorado, tocando su primer concierto en el Fox Theater de Boulder.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Allie Kral, y Jake Jolliff.

Género: Bluegrass, Música country, Jam Band.

Álbum más exitoso: Elevation.


Originalmente de Denver, Colorado, Tennis se formó en el año 2010. La pareja casada debutó su álbum Cape Dory en 2011.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Patrick Riley y Alaina Moore.

Género: Música pop/independiente (Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Surf Pop, Lo-Fi).

Álbum más exitoso: Yours Conditionally.

Big Head Tod and the Monsters

Formado en el año 1986 por tres alumnos de Columbine High School, este grupo empezó a tocar música en discotecas y clubs hasta que alcanzaron popularidad por todo Colorado y partes del oeste. Les gusta viajar en su vehículo extensamente, y por lo tanto nombraron a su camioneta “La coronel.” Han manejado más de 400,000 millas recorriendo Estados Unidos.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin, Rob Squires, y Jeremy Lawton.

Género: Música Rock (Blues Rock, Rock alternativo, Funk Rock, Country Rock, Folk, Jazz-Fusion, Jam Band).

Álbum más exitoso: Sister Sweetly.


Un grupo de Denver formado en el año 1997. Su nombre viene de la palabra rusa devotchka (девочка), que significa “niña.”

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Nick Urata, Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King.

Género: Punk gitano, música cabaret oscura, Indie Folk, Rock independiente

Álbum más exitoso: A Mad and Faithful Telling.


Dúo de Boulder, Colorado. Tomaron su nombre del código de área de su ciudad, 303.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Sean Foreman, Nathaniel Motte.

Género: Synth-pop, Crunkcore, Trap, Rock electrónica, rock alternativo.

Álbum más exitoso: Streets of Gold.

The Lumineers

Basados en Denver, Colorado, los fundadores Fraites y Schultz empezaron a escribir y tocar música juntos en Ramsey, Nueva Jersey en el año 2005. Son influenciados por músicos como Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan y Tom Petty.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Wesley Schultz y Jeremiah Fraites.

Género: Folk y rock independiente, música Americana.

Álbum más exitoso: The Lumineers

Gregory Alan Isakov

Actualmente basado en Boulder, Colorado, Isakov originalmente vivió en Johannesburg, Sudáfrica. Junto con su familia, emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1986 y fue criado en Filadelfia, Pensilvania. Se inspira en la música de Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps, y Bruce Springsteen.

Artista: Gregory Alan Isakov.

Género: Folk contemporáneo, Folk independiente, Country Folk.

Álbum más exitoso: This Empty Northern Hemisphere.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Actualmente basados en Denver, Colorado. Nathaniel Rateliff creció en el estado de Misuri. Cuando se mudó a Denver, formó el grupo Born in the Flood (2002-2008). Eventualmente se volvió un proyecto diferente nombrado Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel (2007-2014). En 2013, mientras todavía tocaba en otros grupos, Rateliff empezó a colaborar con Joseph Pope III y otros miembros. Así nació Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III, Patrick Meese, Like Mossman, Jeff Dazey, Mark Shusterman, y Andreas Wild.

Género: Soul, música góspel, Folk Rock, Blues Rock, música Americana.

Álbum más exitoso: In Memory of Loss.


Formada en Colorado Springs, Colorado en el año 2002, la banda OneRepublic ha ganado varios premios musicales y muchas nominaciones, incluyendo algunas para premios de Billboard Music Awards, Premios American Music, World Music Awards, y los premios Grammy.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, y Brian Willett.

Género: Pop Rock, Pop, rock alternativo.

Álbum más exitoso: Native.


Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Bohemian Foundation.

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Fort Collins & The Flu: 1918-1919

Post written by Sarah Frahm, Archive Assistant.

Fort Collins & The Flu: 1918-1919

What did Fort Collins look like the last time the city faced a widespread shutdown? From the fall of 1918 through the early spring of 1919 the citizens of Fort Collins found themselves under varying stages of quarantine due to the influenza epidemic. One document, currently at the Archive, that gives some insight into how the city officials handled the epidemic and quarantining of the population is a “Summary of Advisory Committee Recommendations.”

Fort Collins Quarantine Recommendations

Most telling about the problems the city faced in managing the flu epidemic is that the advisory committee was not even formed until December 1918, despite influenza raging in the city since at least October. According to an October 18th article in The Weekly Courier the state board of health had ordered the closing of “everything” in Colorado  but that those in charge of the college campus, where men were still doing military training, would not close the campus. The previous week an editorial had appeared in the newspaper demanding a “rigid quarantine be established” and that the city should be “shut down tight” like Boulder and Greeley. By the end of the October both the college and the city had enacted some form of closure, although without official documents it is a challenge to tell just how strenuous the shutdown was. Another article mid-November from The Weekly Courier complains that “quarantine has not been very rigid of late” with November seeing both elections and the armistice ending World War One and that these events and gatherings led to a rising in the number of flu cases.


The convening of a citizen advisory committee to the city board of health seems to be a recognition that the previous handling of the flu epidemic had been somewhat ad hoc and unclear (the November issues of The Weekly Courier discuss whether masks should be worn, or not, and if quarantine would be lifted, or not) and in need of some sort of codification.

But how did these regulations, once adopted, affect the citizens of Fort Collins? The first two points recommended by the advisory committee were not all that different from the quarantining, done before and after the influenza epidemic, for other diseases, like measles or scarlet fever. However, the third recommendation of shutting down schools and “ordinary public gatherings” was different. Social and fraternal clubs closed, such as the Elks (in April 1919, The Fort Collins Courier reports that the lodge was in remarkable good financial health despite having been closed for nearly three months. The women’s gymnasium, on the other hand, found itself struggling to have enough members in March.) The superintendent of the school district reported in the summer of 1919 that the school year had been full of “anxiety, hindrance, and depression” and that many of the plans for academic work had to be abandoned.

 The Elks Lodge was located at 202 Linden Street and was closed during the influenza quarantine.

If the lack of proper schooling and a severe curtail on social life were not bad enough, the fourth recommendation from the advisory committee was an extreme frustration to many in Fort Collins. Shortly after the requirement limiting the number of people in any place of business came out The Weekly Courier wrote an editorial telling people to quit complaining, pointing out that they too had to deal with these restrictions upon their office (if someone was to visit the newspaper office, a member of staff would have to leave in order to maintain the proper number of people per square footage). The editorial admonished the people the writer considered to be “knockers” to take the disease more seriously for the sake of the survival of the city.

While the committee was extremely serious on the subject of loafing on the streets (how else does a recommendation get to be written not only in capital letters but also underlined and starred?) the record of impact on peoples’ lives of that specific order is currently unknown. Rather it is the suborder that bares out most in the historical record. The committee called for a special officer to be appointed. The man who became “Quarantine Officer” was Orrin J. Watrous, then the secretary of the Fort Collins Commercial Club. According to The Fort Collins Express writing about the official vote of thanks put forth by the city government to Watrous, Mr. Watrous daily visited between “a dozen to twenty houses in his quarantine rounds” in order to ensure people were properly following the orders of the city.

Orrin Watrous, pictured here at the far right with a cigar in his mouth and boxing gloves on his hands.

When people did not follow quarantine regulations, there were consequences. One farmer, a Mr. Tom Hale, accused of breaking the quarantine on his house, had to go to court on December 27th and face trial. The Weekly Courier reported that Mr. Hale’s case was dismissed. While it is not clear what kind of fine or other penalty Mr. Hale would have had if he had been found guilty, his case is still an example of the added difficulties of living life under quarantine.

It is difficult to know, exactly, how people felt about the restrictions placed upon them by the city government. Currently there is only access to a weekly newspaper (even though the newspaper also ran dailies, Archive staff cannot get to them right now) and while there are potentially useful items held in the Archive collection, with our own doors closed, a lot of the details will have to remain unknown for the current time.

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Daily Discovery: Baking with History – Fort Collins Brownies/ Descubrimiento en casa: Recetas con historia – bizcochos de chocolate (brownies) de Fort Collins

Post written by Charlotte Conway, Public Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Baking with History – Fort Collins Brownies

Have you ever had trouble getting a brownie recipe to rise? High altitude baking requires special adjustments to get the same results as lower altitudes. Lucky for us, people from FoCo history have already developed recipes perfect for baking in our Colorado high altitude.

Learn about Dr. Inga Allison, a figure from Fort Collins history, who developed the science for high altitude baking, and then grab a parent to help you bake through history!

Dr. Inga Allison’s High Altitude Brownies Recipe

Inga Allison joined the Home Economics Department at Fort Collins’ Colorado Agriculture College from 1903 to 1908, at a time when several faculty members were starting to study the unique effects of high altitude on both crop growth and food preparation. Lacking an established lab, Allison conducted her experiments in cooking at altitude with improvised equipment in challenging conditions – baking, for example, in a rough Estes Park shanty located at 11,800 feet above sea level!

You can thank Dr. Allison for most brownie recipes that work here in Fort Collins – they most likely take into account the science developed by Dr. Allison! Follow along with her original brownie recipe on the next page!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.


Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Recetas con historia – bizochos de chocolate (brownies) de Fort Collins

¿Alguna vez has tenido algún problema siguiendo recetas de brownies? En Colorado -y en lugares con gran altitud- el hornear ciertos platillos requiere ajustes especiales para obtener los mismos resultados que en lugares con altitudes más bajas. Pero por suerte, existen recetas locales comprobadas que sirven para hornear con éxito en nuestra área.

Conoce a la Dra. Inga Allison; una figura histórica de nuestra ciudad que descubrió la ciencia para hornear en elevaciones altas. Con la ayuda de un adulto, usa esta receta histórica ajustada por ella para hacer unos brownies, ¡y comparte el delicioso resultado con tu familia!

Horneando pasteles con diferentes alturas.

Columna A – Pasteles horneados al nivel del mar sin ningún ajustamiento.

Columna B – Pasteles horneados al nivel del mar con ajustamiento de levadura en polvo.

Columna C – Pasteles horneados con recetas correctamente balanceadas para elevaciones altas.

Un archivo de la colección del museo que representa el experimento de una misma receta horneada a diferentes niveles de altura. A 3,048 metros (10,000 pies), a 1,524 metros (5,000 pies), y al nivel del mar. Observa cómo cambia la estructura de cada postre.

Receta de brownies ajustada por la Dra. Inga Allison

Inga Allison se unió al Departamento de Economía Doméstica en el Colegio Universitario de Agricultura de Fort Collins de 1903 a 1908. En aquel entonces, muchos miembros de la facultad empezaron a estudiar los efectos de la altura en el crecimiento de los cultivos y la preparación de alimentos. El colegio no tenía un laboratorio disponible, por tanto, Allison comenzó sus experimentos sobre la cocción en elevaciones altas con equipos improvisados y bajo condiciones difíciles; por ejemplo, horneaba en una cabina desgastada localizada en el pueblo de Estes Park, que está a unos 3,596 metros (aproximadamente 11,800 pies) de altura.

Podemos agradecerle a la Dra. Allison por desarrollar la ciencia que influye en la mayoría de las recetas de brownies creadas aquí en Fort Collins. ¡Sigue su receta original traducida en la página siguiente!

Receta para hacer bizcochos de chocolate (brownies) de Fort Collins:


  •  2/3 taza de harina de trigo
  • 1/2 cucharadita de levadura en polvo
  • 1/4 cucharadita de sal
  • 1/3 taza de manteca vegetal
  • 2 barras de chocolate sin azúcar
  • 1 taza de azúcar blanca
  • 2 huevos batidos
  • 1/2 taza de nueces
  • 1 cucharadita de vainilla
  • Para alturas de 2,286 metros (aproximadamente 7,500 pies) o de 3,048 metros (10,000 pies) sobre el nivel del mar, añade 1/4 cucharadita de levadura en polvo


Derrite la manteca vegetal junto con el chocolate a baño maría. En otro recipiente, agrega gradualmente el azúcar a los huevos batidos hasta que estén completamente mezclados. Agrégales la mezcla de chocolate y bate. Adjunta todos los ingredientes secos y mézclalos hasta que estén incorporados. Incluye las nueces y la vainilla. Coloca la mezcla en un refractario engrasado tamaño 20x20x5 centímetros (8x8x2 pulgadas) y hornea por 35 minutos a 180ºC (350ºF). Cuando esté todavía caliente, corta en forma de cuadros. Retíralos del recipiente y déjalos enfriar. Rinde para 2 docenas de brownies.

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

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The Neuroscience of Discovery

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Assistant.

The Neuroscience of Discovery

Last year we posted Problem-Solvers or Rocket Scientists? Same Difference, a blog that explored the nature of learning in informal settings. It explained how children and adults are constantly navigating “an ecosystem of learning opportunities, interconnected experiences that interact with and influence one another.”

A book about neuroscience published this year – The Brain in Context: A Pragmatic Guide to Neuroscience* – explains that the learning inherent in the act of discovery is not just a 21st century skill: it links directly to the neurobiology of our brain.

  • “Learning is our premium cognitive capability. The continued integration of skills … into frameworks of inquiry reflects our very nature …” (Moreno and Schulkin p 93)

Different brain regions are associated with different cognitive functions, most of which relate to the process of discovery: face recognition in the fusiform gyrus, the capacity for reflection on intentions in the angular gyrus, the consolidation of events into memory in the hippocampus and neocortex, working memory in the lateral prefrontal cortex, and memory extinction in the medial prefrontal cortex, to name just a few. Add in myelin interaction, glial cells, synaptic pruning, and environmental factors, and the result is a complex neural process much more nuanced than the outdated metaphor of “brain as computer.”

Our drive to discover –  the physical thrill we get from playing with, and learning from, ideas –is a form of appetite. We crave things. Neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and acetylcholine modulate our arousal states – things like alertness, cognitive and motor organization, even emotions.

  • “Scientific hypothesis might seem like deadly serious stuff, but underneath it all, it is a form of play. … Play with ideas, the drudgery of test and failure, the excitement when something works, and, even more importantly, reliable replication, are all common themes, even in children’s play.” (Moreno and Schulkin p 193).

How we as humans think and act and learn is a dance of decisions and behaviors, constraints of neural design, interaction and compatibility with the external environment.

Here at the museum we wholeheartedly believe that problem-solving is something anyone can do. Neuroscience tells us that not only is it something anyone can do – problem-solving is something we are wired to do.


*All quotes from The Brain in Context: A Pragmatic Guide to Neuroscience, by Jonathan P. Moreno and Jay Schulkin (Columbia University Press, 2020)


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Making History Come Alive

Post written by Emily Smith, Archive Intern Spring 2020.

Making History Come Alive

At the beginning of the semester I started out physically in the Archive processing a new collection sent in from a genealogist who had ties to the area. In the procession of the collection of documents I learned the collection had connections to the Mason Family, as well as Northern Colorado in general dealing with documents from local Colorado archives as well as original Homestead application documents from the National Archive.

Nearing the end of that – there was the closure of the museum which consequently changed the way we were able to work in the Archive. To continue working from home I was unfortunately unable to continue my work on the collection, however, it gave me more exposure to new and different things the Archive does! Now working from home, I have helped with the transcribing of the Mary Hottel journal as well as, successfully transcribed one Oral History interview and I am now starting on a new Oral History to transcribe. While things have been drastically changing it has always been nice to go back to the Archive work as it is always engaging and interesting, while also understanding how many people in the community this will help in the future!

Thank YOU, Emily, for being an awesome FCMoD intern! We so appreciate your hard work and our community is grateful for the work you’ve done to make local history accessible to all.

Interested in interning at FCMoD? Check out opportunities under the “Internships” section of this page.

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Arbor Day 2020

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

Arbor Day 2020

Every year Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April. This Arbor Day we wanted to share 5 fun facts about trees that will ‘leaf’ you ‘stump’ed!

  • Did you know that the tallest tree is around the same size as the Statue of Liberty? According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest tree can be found in California’s Redwood Forest. Hyperion is a Sequoia tree that is 380 feet tall. Hyperion is estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old. The statue of liberty is 305 feet tall. Hyperion could overpower and shadow the Statue of Liberty in size!

  • According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest living individual tree is found in California’s White Mountain range and its name is the Methuselah. This tree is 4,845 years old! This bristle cone pine tree stands guard of the Mountain range today.

  • Trees drink up to 100 gallons of water a day – this is 200 times more than the average human drinks a day! That’s a ‘tree’mendous amount of water!

  • Trees can be used as natural compasses. If a tree has moss growing on it, that side is the north of the trunk because that side spends the most time in the shade. If  you are lost in a forest and there are any tree trunks around, the growth rings that are thicker are on the south because that side gets the most sun. Trees can direct you back to the path where you were rooted from!

  • The worlds largest tree in terms of sheer volume is a giant Sequoia named General Sherman. This tree could be the largest living thing on the planet. General Sherman is located in California’s Sequoia National park. The tree is a whopping 52,508 cubic feet in volume. You would need more than 15 people all connected to hug this tree’s trunk!

To find out more about our local effort as an annual Tree City, USA award recipient for over 40 years, find out more from The City of Fort Collins Forestry Division. This division maintains over 54,500 trees along streets and in parks, cemeteries, golf courses and other City facilities or property. They strive to sustain a safe, healthy and attractive urban forest through frequent and sound management practices.

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Background in History!

Post written by Lesley Struc, Curator of the Archive.

Background in History!

Feeling the need to add a little historical zing to your online video meetings? Well, the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery has you covered. Feel free to download these images of Fort Collins’ past and use them as your virtual backdrop during your next online meeting or chat; impress your friends and coworkers with your fervor for local history!

Welcome to Camp Collins, circa 1865, looking southwest from the Poudre River toward the fort’s parade ground and buildings. This would have been near present-day Linden and Jefferson Streets. Download photo.

Fisticuffsmanship! Well, not exactly. This is wrestling match that took place circa 1908 on the east side of the 200 block of Mountain Avenue. All the people are looking at you, waiting for you to finish your meeting so they can start the bout. Download photo.

Meet your new officemate H.C. Lighter, Justice of the Peace for Larimer County, in his office at the Avery Block in Old Town, circa 1908. Download photo.

Your new office has a great view of the west side of North College Avenue, circa 1904. Download photo.

Now you’re on top of a streetcar in 1908, looking down North College toward Mountain Avenue. Check out all the cars in Fort Collins at that time and what is believed to be the earliest photo of the trolley. Download photo.

Finally, some color! Here’s a view of Pingree Park from a hand-tinted lantern slide from the 1910s. Ahhh, so peaceful. Download photo.

Nice office! Get things done here in the Poudre Valley Bank offices at 401 South College in 1967. This building is now home to Wells Fargo Bank. Download photo.

You can hold an important meeting in this stylish board room, also from the Poudre Valley Bank, 1967. Can you spy the Safeway out of the window? That building now houses Lucky’s Market at 425 South College Avenue. Download photo.

The Northern Hotel is looking bright and cheery in this postcard from 1958. Download photo.

Lounge around at the Safari Club, once located at 400 Link Lane in Fort Collins, where you could enjoy “Cocktails, Steaks, Prime Rib, Seafood and European Delicacies. Piano Lounge, Live Music, and Ballroom Dancing.” This image is from a circa 1975 postcard. Download photo.


Voila! Now boring video meetings will be a thing of the past… literally! Check out even more awesome local history photo background options by visiting the Fort Collins History Connections website: history.fcgov.com.

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