The Museum is Recognized for its Community Support for ISTAR Camp

The Museum is Recognized for its Community Support for ISTAR Camp

We are honored to be recognized as a recipient of the TILT Award for Exceptional Achievement in Service-Learning Community Partner from Colorado State University for ISTAR Camp. 

ISTAR (Indigenous, Science, Technology, Arts and Resiliency) Camp started in 2020 and brings together Native American students and their families to connect with traditional Native technologies, science, and arts. Led by CSU Ethnic Studies Department faculty, student mentors, and community leaders, ISTAR’s culturally responsive programming centers community-identified goals in its curriculum.

Hands-on learning leverages the assets and physical space of the museum as well as the proximity to the Poudre River and Lee Martinez Park. After positive feedback from participants and families, programs now extend throughout the year for families to deepen connections through a variety of culturally-centered gatherings and programs.

ISTAR is a deeply collaborative community effort, and we are honored to play a supportive role. Thank you to all involved. 

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From the Archive – Gems from a Local Diary

By Lesley Struc, Curator of the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

I spent some time recently reading Fort Collins local Mary Hottel’s diary from Book I (1901-1906) of the Hottel collection.  Her work shares life experiences that are over 100 years old, giving us a glimpse of what it was like to be the daughter of Fort Collins’ first millionaire.

Her father Benjamin Hottel’s life is quite a story too, but one of starting up. He came to Fort Collins from Virginia in 1877 and worked in milling and developed a sugar factory, later becoming the president of Poudre Valley National Bank.

I only made it about halfway through this first book and found these gems from Mary’s life. They are insightful and humorous all these years later, so I’ve included some of my favorite quotes.

This collection is such a treasure trove, offering a personal look of the life of a very busy woman in Fort Collins at the turn of the 20th century. So far volunteers have scanned five dairies and transcribed seven – there are 14 in all, covering the years of 1901-1925.

The Poudre Valley National Bank, pictured in 1930

Thursday, December 11, 1902

Chick [Charles Davis, her boyfriend at the time] & I strolled downtown, then made fudge on our return – he had an old sweater on and was afraid to come in until the family went away.

Saturday March 21, 1903

Chick & I got in a big crowd at the Columbian musical tonight – The program was fine – Coming home

in the wash – ahem!!

we struck a regular blizzard & nearly froze stiff – Through pure ackwardness, [sic] while making fudge I spilled a lot of it on Chicks coat & felt too cheap for words – Hope it will all come out

Saturday, May 27, 1904

Went to the H.S. Alumni dance at Odd Fellows Hall tonight with Aida Ault & Ethel Avery. There was some sort of a programme first & then during the dance Roy came – So Mary Ann had an escort home – Considering the scarcity of men we had a real good time.

Odd Fellows Block, at 111 East Mountain, circa 1903

Friday, October 13, 1905

This afternoon Warren Bristol called & we had a good chat over old times. Tonight Bob Tedmon & I ploughed through mud & rain galore with  Anna Tedmon & Mr Baker of New York to the college dance at Odd Fellows. Had a corking time & just giggled continually. Lets pray I’ll still have a few more good times before I die.  [Mary was 22 years old at the time of this writing]

Tuesday, November 7, 1905

After I made seven calls this afternoon, Roy stopped in for a long chat & to inform me had to work so hard wouldn’t be down until Sunday. Oh he is the worst tease & his ability  seems to be on the increase Anna Tedmon appeared this noon with an invitation for me to accompany acrowd of ladies to see the play “Wyoming” tonight [at the Opera House]. But upon discovering that the party was to be composed almost entirely of married women, I refused.

The Opera House business block, from 1908

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FoCoMX at the museum

FoCoMX at the museum

FoCoMX has been a landmark event for the Colorado music scene for 13 years, and the weekend of April 22 and 23 is the return of FoCoMX for the first time since 2019. With stages throughout the city, Fort Collins will be a music mecca for all things live and local, and we are pleased to host the most music of the weekend. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery will have three stages of music going throughout the festival, starting with a stellar Live From the Dome lineup on Friday, followed by an entire day and evening of music on Saturday.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery will play host to several shows live from The Otterbox Digital Dome Theater during FoCoMX.

Here is rundown of all the happenings at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery during FoCoMX. We will have our entire team on board to help craft a wonderful experience for you!

  • Friday, April 22: we are hosting five bands at the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater.
  • Saturday, April 23: five more bands from the Dome, plus six hours of music at our Big Backyard Youth Stage and at an Artist Discovery Stage at Woodward Special Exhibition Gallery.
  • On site: Blast N Scrap will be leading arts projects Saturday in our Big Backyard. Blast N Scrap is a nonprofit organization which supports young and emerging artists with performance and workshop space to help advance social inclusion and environmental sustainability in the arts.
  • On site: Launch Skate will be leading skating demos with the FoCoMX crowd on Saturday. Through skateboarding, Launch Skate helps develop leadership skills through volunteerism and reinforcing meaningful community connections.
  • Ice cream: On Saturday, local favorites Walrus Ice Cream will dish out great treats.
  • Plus, free entry to the museum gallery during performances on Saturday from 2 – 8 p.m.
  • And last but not least, see our very own Nick Duarte at Washington’s on Friday at 5 p.m. with his band Post Paradise and Forrester Tamkun who will lead his band Write Minded at the Aggie Theater for a midnight performance as Saturday night becomes Sunday.

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Fort Collins and the Flu, Part III

Fort Collins and the Flu, Part III

The fall of 1918 was a fearful and exhausting time for the residents of Fort Collins. Worldwide, according to Laura Spinney in Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it Changed the World, most of the deaths caused by the “Spanish Flu” happened in just a thirteen-week period from September through December 1918. Government authorities most everywhere were overwhelmed, uninformed and unsure, crippled by nursing shortages, lack of hospital beds and local physicians overburdened with their own patients.

In Fort Collins, doctors were supposed to make daily reports of influenza cases and deaths to city officials so that people like the city physician, Dr. Gooding, and Mayor Fred Stover could make informed policies, but the city and county doctors were too busy tending to ill patients to make those reports (Fort Collins Express, October 23). Ruth Margrave, in an oral history recorded in 1974, recalled that her father, Dr. Wilkin, hired a driver for his car that fall as he “…didn’t drive at all during that flu epidemic. He just slept between calls, between patients.” Besides stress and exhaustion, doctors and nurses were risking exposure to the flu by caring for the sick and at least one Fort Collins doctor, Dr. D’Armond, died from contracting the flu. The Weekly Courier called Dr. D’Armond’s death a “sacrifice to the service of humanity.” (October 24).

A headline from the November 1918 Fort Collins Weekly Courier

There were, of course, other flu deaths in Fort Collins during the fall of 1918. Dr. Lory of the agricultural college, lost many members of his sister’s family, including his three-year-old twin nieces (The Weekly Courier, November 29). Influenza victims often included youths, and people moved to Fort Collins to start school, or parents and professionals in their late twenties and early thirties. The writers on staff at The Weekly Courier were clearly bothered by the death of Miss Marhon Sperry, an operator for the telephone company in town, as seen in their early November column about influenza deaths.

Anna May Abbott, who died April 1, 1919 of pneumonia brought on by influenza.
Anna May Abbott, who died April 1, 1919 of pneumonia brought on by influenza.

Even with all the illness, death, pain, sorrow, and exhaustion that the people of Fort Collins dealt with through the fall and early winter of 1918, the city was relatively lucky when it came to the numbers of those sick and deaths, although perhaps not known at the time. Current twenty-first century estimates for cases during the epidemic have worldwide an average of one in three people got sick with the flu, while somewhere between “2.5 and 5 percent of the global population” died from the illness. (Laura Spinney, p. 4). The numbers in Fort Collins show a much lower death rate.

In his Annual Report at the end of July 1919, Mayor Stover gave that the total number of cases from the influenza epidemic “slightly exceeded 1,500.” (Fort Collins Courier, July 29).  Some 1,100 of those cases happened in October and November of 1918. With a population hovering around 8,500, the infection rate was closer to one in five, rather than one in three. Deaths were also less likely, as Mayor Stover did not bother to provide a number for those who died in his annual report, rather just expressing sorrow at the loss of life that had happened. (A Coloradoan article from April 16, 2020 estimated 150 deaths from the fall and winter.) A caveat- the numbers given for illness and deaths throughout the epidemic in Fort Collins do not often include cases that happened at the agricultural college.

Image: Fort Collins Courier – July 29, 1919
The Fort Collins Courier, from July 29, 1919

Although Fort Collins did have lower infection and death rates throughout the epidemic than other places, the comfort we can see in numbers looking back over a hundred years likely did not exist for those living through the epidemic. Even if residents of Fort Collins understood at the time that their cases numbers were relatively low, numbers, in and of themselves, can do little to override personal experience. Of the oral histories we have in the Archives that mention the 1918 flu, one stands out especially. Interviewed in 1981, Grace Davis recalled that her mother had sent her to check on some neighbors. Grace found the husband so sick that he was unaware that his wife had died in bed next to him. “It was terrible. It was really bad. The 1918 flu.” Grace told the interviewer.

Image: Fort Collins Express – November 4, 1922
Image: Fort Collins Express, from November 4, 1922

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National Beer Day

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

National Beer Day

It’s #NationalBeerDay and there is no better place to celebrate this holiday than our home – Fort Collins, Colorado!

History of National Beer Day

National Beer Day is celebrated annually on April 7. This day marks the signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act. The signing of this act led to the 18th Amendment being repealed, with ratification of the 21st Amendment to the constitution. This enactment took the first step toward ending the prohibition. Beer drinkers rejoiced as they were able to purchase beer again for the first time in 13 years!

Beer is now the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage. Following water and tea, it is the third most popular drink overall. This was not a “sour” move to make!

Fun fact: April 6, the day before National Beer Day, is also known as, New Beer’s Eve.

Local Beer History

Fort Collins is sometimes referred to as the “Napa Valley of Beer.” Although alcohol arrived with the first settlers in Fort Collins, prohibition hindered the growth of the industry until 1969.

In 1980, the large beer company, Anheuser Busch, made a bid to open a brewery in the city. It took 8 years to get the city on board for the first brewery in Fort Collins. The plant began construction in 1988. In 1990, Doug Odell opened Odell Brewery Co. Soon after, New Belgium opened in 1991. Other breweries opened soon after these leaders in the industry. Fort Collins was one of the first to latch onto the craft beer movement. By 2010, a new generation of breweries, like Funkwerks & Equinox Brewing, emerged. According to Visit Fort Collins, the city is now home to over 20 local craft breweries!

The craft beer industry, with its emphasis on local breweries, plays a vital role in the communities economy and culture, this goes hand in hand with the outdoor recreation that is popular in Colorado.

How YOU can celebrate!

Celebrate today with a pint of your favorite local brew. Even if you are stuck at home, no worries! You can order beer from your favorite breweries in Fort Collins (please check the preferred brewery website for updated hours and delivery options).

Cheers! ?

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Watch a year of Live From The Dome shows

Watch a year of Live From The Dome shows

For a year, we have hosted musicians throughout the area to perform Live From The Dome at The Otterbox Digital Dome Theater. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is proud to give musicians a space to play – with shows highlighting our diverse music and arts scene. 

Our Live From The Dome playlists highlights a year of music at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Over the past year, we have featured musicians from so many genres, including:

More Than Physics: The Fort Collins band combines acoustic instrumentation with Handpan and Tabla drumming, all enhanced by stunning visuals in this performance.

Kuza: A South African born artist, Kuza is influenced by Avante-Pop, Trip-Hop, Electronic Music, and Spiritual styles.

Sara Slaton and the Great Perhaps: An Arkansas native, Sara Slaton taught herself to play guitar in the shadow of the Ozarks before she founding – and fronting – the Colorado trio, Edison, earning accolades far and wide.

SAMBOYGER: SAMBOYGER, based in Aurora, blends pop, alternative rock and electronica, recently releasing an EP, We Peaked @17.

Liz Barnez: The Colorado Music Hall of Fame member moved to Colorado in the late 1980’s and has been a mainstay in that music community since then. Her Live From the Dome performance is an intimate treat, showcasing her diverse talent as an artist and songwriter.

Miranda Fling: Miranda Fling is the inaugural Sonic Spotlight winner, celebrating the best young talent in Colorado music, and pulls inspiration from indie, pop, and folk music.

Cary Morin: A mainstay of local and national music scenes, Cary Morin crafts an inimitable combination of blues, bluegrass, jazz, jam, reggae, and dance.

Frail Talk: Frail Talk’s debut indie-folk album, New Creation Myths, springs up from the dirt with spiraling growth, ready to welcome every listener with daydream-love.

Hannah Rodriguez: Hannah Rodriguez’s soulful vocals and jazz-influenced musicianship is raising her profile as one of the young talents to watch in the community.

Miguel Aviña: Best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the band iZCALLi, Miquel Aviña is rightly known as one of the key artists of the Rock En Tu Idioma (RETI) movement in Colorado.

Kid Astronaut: Drawing inspiration from multi-dimensional world of Marvel Comics, Denver’s Kid Astronaut builds a universe of music, film, and art that is all his own.

Companion: The Fort Collins based duo of identical twin sisters Sophia and Jo Babb take a nuanced approach to songwriting that feels at once lighthearted and weighted with palpable empathy.

Live From The Dome is made possible through the generosity of the Bohemian Foundation.

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Fort Collins and the Flu, Part II

Fort Collins and the Flu, Part II

When did the 1918 flu pandemic, also known as the “Spanish Flu”, first show up in Fort Collins? It was very likely here in early October 1918 as the city physician, Dr. Gooding, recalled treating a case of influenza on October 3rd (The Fort Collins Express, November 28).  However, according to the rumor mill, the flu could have been in town even earlier, in late September at the agricultural college where there were students training for military service.

A news clipping that a “second report of death” from the 1918 flu epidemic is “branded as false.”

 As Major Mills, the camp surgeon, was denying rumors of dying soldier students, the mayor of Fort Collins, Fred Stover, was asking citizens “…not to become excited over the threatened epidemic and not to think that every cold is the disease.” (Fort Collins Express, October 9). Calm was urged and the mayor signed a proclamation ordering the quarantining of all sick persons and a ban on all public gatherings “…with the view of stamping out a possible epidemic in Fort Collins.” (Fort Collins Express, October 10). The newspaper reminded people to better follow the quarantine rules but by that point, October 20th, it was clear that Fort Collins had not avoided the flu epidemic after all.

Mayor Fred Stover on left with his siblings, Emma and George.

The latter half of October was when the epidemic really took hold in Fort Collins. The Express reported on the 20th that city officials looked upon the coming week “with fear.” Part of why city officials were so worried was that there was no accurate account of those who were sick with influenza. Doctors were overwhelmed with patients and unable to make time to file daily reports. Officials were forced to make a “fairly good estimate” for the number of influenza cases and arrived “…in the neighborhood of 150 and those with pneumonia not over 20.” (The Fort Collins Express, October 23).

A clipping from Fort Collins Weekly Courier,  November 18, 1918.

City officials turned to Orrin Watrous, president of the Commercial Club, and the same group of volunteers who had helped with the drive for the Fourth Liberty Loan for the support of the war to canvas the city for cases of influenza. Around October 24th, the volunteers reported back with 344 cases of flu in Fort Collins, more than double that good estimate from before (Fort Collins Express).

On November 2, Mayor Stover submitted a report (to persons unknown) tallying daily case numbers from October 23 through the 1st of November. That ten-day period alone has a total of 355 cases of influenza and fourteen of pneumonia. The “country” (very likely to mean county, or at least, those living outside of city limits) saw case rates at roughly a third of what Fort Collins saw. As Mayor Stover wrote, the numbers showed that there was “no apparent falling off in the epidemic.”

The Stover Report from November 2, 1918.

The epidemic did start to fall off however, even through November which saw not only the Armistice celebrations for the end of the First World War but also statewide elections for Colorado State government. The Fort Collins Express reported a total of cases from October 23rd to November 28th at 805 (which would have included Mayor Stover’s number of 355). Certainly cases did not keep up the rate of infection that late October saw. As rates slowly fell throughout the month of November and into December, city officials found they had time convene committees, issue recommendations, and organize their response to the influenza epidemic, including appointing Orrin Watrous as Quarantine Officer, put in charge of tracking case numbers. These more organized responses were late, but ultimately due to officials being overwhelmed rather than a lack of effort or concern. The experience of the fall and winter of 1918, both the heavy caseloads and the more planned response, served the city when a second wave of influenza cases arrived in early spring.

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Watch Companion’s Live From The Dome Performance

On Wednesday, March 30 we presented Companion, Live From the Dome. Companion is the Fort Collins-based duo of identical twin sisters Sophia and Jo Babb. Their music explores themes of new growth and healing and their show was a splendid reflection of that.

Thank you to everyone who participated and watched our Live From the Dome series over the past year.

Live From The Dome is made possible through the generosity of the Bohemian Foundation.

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Fort Collins and the Flu, Part I

Fort Collins and the Flu, Part I

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.”

A “Summary of Advisory Committee Recommendations” from 1918.

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.

A United Press story from 1918, published at the time of discussions on closings – and a World War.

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.

Interior of Elks Lodge at 202 Linde, in Fort Collins.

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

“Knockers” were told to take the flu seriously, from this December, 13, 1918 Weekly Courier story.

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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