Women of Fort Collins: Isabelle Knopf

Women of Fort Collins: Isabelle Knopf

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Isabelle Knopf

Fort Collins native Isabelle Knopf worked at Heart Mountain Japanese Internment Camp during World War II. As a single mother, she had various jobs before having a long career with the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

Continue Reading

Women of Fort Collins: Virginia Corbett

Women of Fort Collins: Virginia Corbett

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Virginia Corbett

Virginia Corbett came to Colorado Agricultural College in 1900 to teach literature and history. She was a passionate advocate for college women for over 30 years and taught briefly at Ginling College, Nanjing, China in the 1920s.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

Continue Reading

FCMoD Squad Applications Now Open!

Do you love music? Do you love engaging with your community? Join us and go behind the scenes of the local front range music community. The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is excited to announce the first year of the FCMoD Squad!  

What it means to be in the FCMoD Squad:  

The FCMoD Squad are individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 who are interested in becoming more involved within The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the Fort Collins music scene, and their community.  

Squad members will: 

  • Work behind the scenes in music events such as Sonic Spotlight https://www.sonicspotlight.org/, FoCoMX https://focomx.focoma.org/, and more. 
  • Actively provide insight into current and future museum exhibits, programs, and events.
  • Participate in outings to other community groups and organizations.  

Responsibilities of a FCMoD Squad Member:  

  • Attend meetings on the 2nd Thursday from 6:00pm- 8:00pm at FCMoD and at least one monthly activity/tour.
  • Actively engage and contribute in meetings and activities. 
  • Inform the Squad through email, text, or call if unable to attend a meeting with valid reason such as an illness, extracurricular activity, school event, or other circumstance.  
  • Embody the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Mission and Vision. 
    • Mission: The museum creates meaningful opportunities to learn, reflect, and have fun through hands-on and collections-based explorations in science and culture. 
    • Vision: To inspire inquisitive thinkers and encourage responsible stewardship of the future. 

To Apply:

Applications are open to Fort Collins/Front Range residents ages 15-19. Submissions will open July 12th ending on August 1st, with interviews to follow. Members will serve a total of nine months from August to April, with a maximum of two terms. 

Visit www.fcmod.org/fcmod-squad to apply! Questions? Email Nick Duarte, Curator of the Music & Sound Lab, at nduarte@fcmod.org.

Continue Reading

The Music Production Process

Have you ever wondered how the music you listen to made it to a streaming platform, CD, or the radio? Sure you’re aware the song is recorded in a studio, but then what happens? How does it get to sounding how it does, ready for an album? And then how does it get released from there? This blog will inform you about the processes of music production, and how our favorite songs we hear start from an idea, to a tangible recording in our hands!

Writing the song
Each artist has a different process for writing songs. Many well-known bands and singers will often have a producer. Producers have a very important role in the process of getting songs ready to release. They often help the songwriting process by making suggestions of what the artist could add or take out of the song they’ve written so far, whether it be changing the chord progression, adding a bridge, suggesting words for lyrics that fit better, or anything to improve the song! It’s also important to note that not all artists write their own songs. Often in pop music, a songwriter writes songs for specific singers. Did you know that Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was originally written by a handful of producers for Britney Spears to sing? She turned it down as she just finished her album, so it was floated over a couple artists until Rihanna accepted it. Once a song is written, it’s ready for the studio. Sometimes artists even go into the studio without having finished writing. Sometimes it’s because the producer will be there to help write, or the creative atmosphere of the studio helps the artist to write!

Recording
The recording process also looks different from artist to artist, but accomplishes the same thing. Professional recording sessions take place in a studio, where the rooms are specifically arranged for high quality sound. Rooms can be built specifically to absorb and reflect certain frequencies, and/or have sound proofing gear installed. Sometimes artists take a DIY approach and record their entire album using gear in their bedroom! In a professional setting, recording engineers oversee the process- placing mics properly on the instruments, getting appropriate levels set, making sure everything is set up to sound the best it can. Producers also help artists find the sounds that will help get the song’s vision across, whether it’s a special technique for setting up a microphone to get vocals sounding a certain way, or setting guitar tone. Then, a song is usually recorded over and over, with enough takes to have every part of the song sounding good. In a multi-instrumental band, drums are often recorded first so that each other musician has a foundation to overdub their parts. Overdubbing means recording a track over an already-existed recording track, so in this case, the drums are already recorded, and everything else can now be overdubbed. Bass is typically recorded second, then guitar and remaining instruments. Vocals are almost always last. With the digital technology in recording nowadays, it’s very easy for musicians to fix a measure or note they may have messed up, in which they will punch in. Punching in means the engineer will start the recording at the part where the mistake is, and the musician can simply play correctly over the wrong part without having to redo the whole song. Artists that recorded before this technology was available had to redo the entire song if there was one big mistake! However, even with this technology now, recording is a lengthy process, and one album may take months or years.

Mixing
After the recording is complete, it’s time for an engineer to mix the song. This means setting levels of each of the instruments, making sure they’re all well-balanced and heard in the song, as well as adding EQ and other things to make the song come to life. This process can take a couple days or weeks for one song, and months for an album. The artist communicates the vision they want for the song so the engineer can get the sounds dialed in and make it happen. The artist may want a warm, bright mix with punchy high frequencies for a pop tune or a darker mix with depth. The mixing process is just as creative as the songwriting process, the mix having the ability to transform the recording and give it a completely different feel. Often the engineer will send their mix to the artist, the artist will give feedback of what they want to sound different, the engineer makes a new mix, sends it over, and it happens all over again until the artist is satisfied.

Mastering
Once the mix is complete, the song needs to be mastered. Mastering is the process of getting a track ready for distribution by balancing it to be at the level of volume and quality of songs that are already established. The mastering engineer starts by bringing the track up in volume to be as loud as songs already out there. They may download an existing song to use as a reference track to set the level of the song they’re working with. This way, after the song is released, its volume isn’t a lot quieter than all the other songs on your playlist. Then, the mastering engineer may widen the mix with stereo enhancement (balancing the left and right of the audio). After that, more EQ and compression may be done to polish off the song.

Distribution
Now the song is ready for consumption! Artists will then decide how they want to release their music- on CD’s? Spotify? Youtube? At this point, the completed song file is submitted to distributors to make CD’s, Vinyl, tapes, uploaded on streaming services, or sent to radio stations. Now it’s a tangible product for anyone to access and listen to! Can you imagine your favorite songs going through these processes? There’s so much time and work that goes into one song that takes 3 minutes to listen to. Does that change how you view what you listen to?

Continue Reading

Fort Collins Find & Seek: Halloween Edition

Post written by Linda Moore, Curator of Collections

Fort Collins Find & Seek: Halloween Edition

The Archives and Collections staff are here to wish you a Happy Halloween! This Halloween Edition of Historical Find and Seek uses spooky photographs from the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Try to find all of the items in the photographs using the links to the Fort Collins History Connect Database!

First photograph: “Holloween [Halloween] Masks”

This photograph (T00558B) shows Halloween masks from “Life of the Party” in downtown Fort Collins.

  • 21 masks
  • 8 masks with hair
  • Can you find any masks that are not human faces?
  • 2 price tags hanging off masks

Second photograph: “Methodist Women’s Halloween Party”

This photograph (H08932) shows a Methodist Women’s Halloween Party.

  • 1 mask
  • 15 cat pins
  • 2 dolls
  • 2 teddy bears

Third photograph: “Halloween costumes”

The photograph (T01280) shows the staff at the Fort Collins City Clerk dressed up for Halloween.

  • Someone dressed as Abraham Lincoln
  • 2 people wearing glasses
  • A coffee mug
  • A typewriter
  • How many people in the photograph are wearing collared shirts?

 

This photograph (T02651) shows a “bewitching display” in Fort Collins

Looking for a handy way to print this activity? Download the PDF here!

Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!

Continue Reading

Daily Discovery: Endangered & Forgotten

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Endangered & Forgotten

National Wildlife Day is September 4, 2020! To celebrate, let’s explore some of the less well known endangered species in Colorado.

We hear a lot about endangered species these days, as the climate changes around us and human activities challenge wildlife survival. Often the articles and advertisements you see feature fuzzy and adorable animals like the Giant Panda or the Sea Otter. Here in Colorado, our featured endangered wildlife tends to be appealingly majestic, like the Grey Wolf (whose reintroduction to Colorado is on November’s ballot for 2020) or even FCMOD’s beloved Black-footed Ferrets. These are species that definitely deserve attention – but there are many more of our wildlife neighbors that need our attention and help that may not be so cute or exciting. There are so many ignored species in the world that are in difficult or dangerous situations thanks to habitat loss, pollution, water loss, and many other human activities.

Here are just a few of our Colorado wildlife neighbors in need:

Least Tern (Sterna antillarum), Federally Endangered

The Least tern is the smallest member of the gull and tern family. They’re only 9 inches long. They nest in the summer on sandbars along major rivers in the central U.S., including in Colorado. This bird was listed as federally endangered in 1985. A lot of nesting habitat in the U.S. has been lost to the birds because of the ways that humans have changed the river systems: dams and reservoirs; introduction of invasive plants; stabilizing river banks, hydropower, and diverting water.

Bonytail Chub (Gila elegans), Federally Critically Endangered

The bonytail is a freshwater fish that lives in the Colorado River basin. It can grow up to 2 feet long and can live up to 50 years. It was added to the endangered list in 1980, and is now the rarest big-river fish in the Colorado. The bonytail, along with numerous other fish species in the Colorado, suffered drastic population declines after the construction of Hoover Dam and other human projects that divert water from the river and change how the water flowed and pooled. These fish also suffer from competition from non-native fish species that humans have introduced into bonytail habitat. At this time, there is no self-sustaining wild population of these fish, and human-run hatcheries are all that maintains the species.

North Park Phacelia (Phacelia formosula), Federally Endangered

The North Park Phacelia only exists in one place in the entire world: the North Park area in Jackson County. It likes to grow on bare slopes and eroding rocks in ravines in the North Park area, where few other plants are able to survive. This phacelia was listed as federally endangered in 1982. It is threatened by livestock, off-road vehicles, commercial and residential development, and petroleum exploration. It also suffers from the loss of pollinating insects in the area, which it depends on to reproduce.

You may be wondering what you can do to be a better neighbor to these species, and the other species in our beautiful state that are threatened or endangered. Here are some steps that you can try:

Educate yourself. Learn about the different kinds of wildlife that live in Colorado with us, and what kinds of things we humans are doing that are putting them at risk.

Take action. Think about how much water you use, or whether the plants in your yard are native or invasive. Consider how much energy you use leaving on lights in an empty room, or streaming your favorite songs rather than downloading them. Look at how much gas your vehicle uses, or how many plastics or other petroleum products you use on a daily basis. Even a small change you can make in your own behavior can be a help to our endangered neighbors.

Talk to your friends and family about why this wildlife is in danger, and why it’s important to you. Your friends and family care about your thoughts and opinions. Help them to understand how important it is to help all.

Contact your representatives in government. These threatened and endangered species do not have a voice in our government, but you do. If you are old enough, vote for candidates that pay attention to wildlife. But at any age, you can make your voice heard! Make sure that your representatives know how important it is that we are good neighbors to all the wildlife in Colorado, in the country, and in the world.

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

It’s National Pollinator Week! ?

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

?It’s National Pollinator Week!

June 22-28, 2020, is the 13th annual National Pollinator Week!

What Are Pollinators?

Pollinators are animals that move pollen from one flower to another flower of the same species in the first step toward the plant reproducing. While pollinators are primarily insects (bees, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies), there are also some birds and small mammals that pollinate plants too.

More than 70% — and possibly as much as 90%! — of flowering plants are dependent on pollination for creating seeds and fruit. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food you eat was made possible by animal pollinators!

Many of the animals that pollinate are in decline. Pollinator habitats are shrinking or getting destroyed so they have no space to live or feed. In addition, overuse of pesticides, environmental pollution, and climate change are all adding risks to these animals.

Pollinators in Colorado

In Colorado, we have a wide range of habitats and extreme changes in altitude – different bees will thrive in each area. Because of that variety of habitat, Colorado is home to more than 900 species of bees! There are more than 200 bees in Larimer County alone. The smallest bee in Colorado is the Miner Bee (Perdita salacis) at 3.5mm/0.1in; the largest is the Nevada Bumblebee (Bombus nevadensis) at 26.5mm/1in. Colorado bees are colorful, too! Different species may be the usual yellow and black, or range to red, orange, green, blue, or brown.

Most bees in Colorado (and the rest of the world too) are solitary bees that don’t live in a colony like the familiar honeybee. Most of these solitary bees are ground nesters, digging burrows in the soil or using abandoned rodent burrows. Some of the bees here are cavity nesters, finding holes or cavities in twigs or logs.

In Colorado, bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of the crops in our state.

In addition to bees, other pollinators in Colorado include approximately 250 species of butterfly and more than 1,000 species of moth. There are also 11 species of hummingbird that migrate through the state from April through September.

How can you help pollinators?

Learn more about the pollinators in the space where you live. Spend some time outside and observe the animals that are visiting your garden. What kinds of animals do you see? What colors are they? How do they behave as they visit flowers?

Create good habitats for pollinators around your home. Whether you have acres of land or just a window box, you can help pollinators by offering them food and shelter. Plant a variety of flowering plants (preferably native – CSU has a great example list of native plants for pollinators) that offer food and nesting space. Provide several different kinds of blooming plants near each other, and use plants that have different bloom times, so that flowers are available to pollinators from early spring through late fall. Plant in sunny locations that are protected from the wind.

Don’t “clean up” your yard in the fall. Leave all the dormant or dead plants alone rather than trimming them back for the winter season — cavity nesting bees and other pollinating insects will use them as a safe home during the cold weather. Leave some leaf litter around for butterflies and moths to use as insulation over the winter, rather than raking it all up and dumping it in the landfill. If you can include materials in your yard such as logs or wood nesting blocks, you provide space for species that nest in wood to survive the snow. Leave some of the ground uncovered (i.e. don’t put mulch everywhere) for the native bees that nest in the bare dirt for the winter.

Reduce use of chemicals for controlling weeds and pests, as these can hurt or kill beneficial pollinators as well.

Protect natural habitat.

 Share what you know. Talk to your friends and family about what you have learned about pollinators and how and why you are helping them. Talk to your local and state government about how important it is to protect pollinators.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

When most people hear about pollination, the first thing they think of is the honeybee.

The oldest bee that scientists have found so far was in Myanmar, encased in amber and dated at 100 million years old! Bees that old were hunters, eating other insects. At some point they started visiting flowers for nectar and pollen, changing into the honeybees that we know and love.

Honeybee colonies have been kept in man-made hives since Ancient Egypt and have been important throughout human history. In addition to being delicious as a sweetener in food, honey can be used to make mead (an alcoholic drink), which works as an antiseptic. It has even been used to embalm mummies! Beeswax can be used in making many products, such as candles, soap, cosmetics, and waterproofing. Honey and bees are so important that people have named their children after bees. Deborah and Melissa both mean “bee” in different languages; Pamela derives from a word for “honey”.

When Europeans colonized the Americas in the 17th century, there were no native honeybees. Native Americans tribes at the time kept and traded other kinds of bees. European settlers brought the Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) along with their familiar crop plants when they moved to the Americas. As we have expanded across the planet, humans have deliberately expanded the range of the Western Honey Bee, and it is now found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.

Healthy Honeybee Colonies

In a healthy honeybee colony, you can see thousands of individual bees. Most of what you see are the worker bees, which are females that cannot lay eggs. There are usually 10,000-50,000 workers per colony. The workers care for the queen and young, defend the hive with their stingers, build comb for the young honeybees and the honey, and collect food. There are also drones, which are the male honeybees. There are about 1,000 drones in a given colony. Drones have no sting, do not forage for food, and cannot defend the hive. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen. There is only one queen bee in the colony. She is larger than all the other bees, and usually has a circle of worker bees around her (her “court”) that take care of her, bringing her food and cleaning her. The queen is the only individual who can lay eggs, and can lay as many as 2,000 eggs per day!

The worker bees leave the hive and may fly up to two miles away from their home to find food. They seek out flowers and collect nectar, which is a sugary solution that flowers produce in order to attract pollinators. The worker bee then returns to the hive and performs a dance to indicate to her fellow workers where she found food. The collected nectar is transformed into honey and may be consumed by any of the adult bees or fed to the young who cannot yet fly to find their own food. The honey can also be harvested by humans.

Honeybee colonies normally survive for several years, going dormant in the winter cold and then becoming active in the warmer months. During favorable conditions (an abundance of food), the hive will create “daughter queens,” and the old queen and much of her colony will relocate to make room for the new queens.

What is happening with the FCMoD colony?

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery has had a bee colony in the Animal Encounters exhibit for our visitors to watch and enjoy since the exhibit opened. However, our colony has collapsed several times since then. Each time we have obtained a new colony from our professional beekeeper.

There are a lot of environmental factors that can negatively affect a honeybee colony, and a lot of colonies around the world are struggling and collapsing right now. There are some pesticides that are worse for bees, especially the class of pesticide called neonicotinoids. There are diseases and parasites that can affect a colony. Climate change may also be playing a factor with bee colonies dying.

What our beekeeper thinks may be happening to the honeybee colony here at FCMoD is that the bees may have found a flower source in the area that has been sprayed with a certain kind of pesticide. They collect the nectar and pesticide, then carry it back to the colony and tell their sisters where to find more. The bees eat the poisoned nectar and honey, and die.

How can we stop honeybee colony collapse?

There are a lot of different pesticides that people use to control weeds and to get rid of bugs they don’t like. But since we do like the honeybees and the honey they make, we need to make sure that we use pesticides that won’t hurt the bees. Pesticide application can be done at night when bees are not foraging. Additionally, making sure not to apply pesticides to blooming plants will help prevent bee deaths.

Like all animals, bees need good quality and abundant food. We can plant native flowers at our homes so honeybees and all the native Colorado bees have healthy and nutritious food sources.

We should also look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment around us, improving the lives of all animals that we share our environment with. Find reusable products instead of single use items you throw away. Turn off the lights in empty rooms. Compost. Take shorter showers. Each of us can have a huge positive impact on the wild animals that live around us.

Learn more about how pesticides can affect bees and other wildlife:

EPA Tips for Reducing Pesticide Impacts on Wildlife

National Pesticide Information Center: Protecting Wildlife from Pesticides

Learn about native plants you can use in your garden:

Colorado Native Plant Society plant lists

Find out how to reduce your impact on the environment:

World Wildlife Fund’s Tips for Reducing Your Environmental Impact

Can you spot the queen bee in this picture? She is larger and a slightly different color.

The FCMoD honeybee colony, in Spring of 2018.

Photos courtesy of Alexa Leinaweaver

Continue Reading