FCMoD Squad: Year Two Applications are open

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
  • Work behind the scenes in music events such as Sonic Spotlight and FoCoMX
  • Members will serve a total of nine months from August to April, with a maximum of two terms

Responsibilities of a FCMoD Squad Member:  

  • You’ll attend meetings twice monthly from 6 – 8 p.m. at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
  • You’ll work on monthly activities guided by our FCMoD Squad Leadership Team
  • You’ll actively engage and contribute in meetings and activities
  • You’ll embody Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s 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 

How do I apply?
Go right here.

Questions?
Email Nick Duarte our Senior Manager, Museum Engagement.

Thank you for considering FCMoD Squad.

We can’t wait to get started.

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The Story of Telstar and Fort Collins

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. 

A Thor/Delta 316 launches with the Telstar 1 satellite launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 17B, July 10, 1962. Courtesy: NASA

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.

Bell Laboratories – A Telstar 1 satellite, courtesy Bell Laboratories.

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.

Courtesy, The Coloradoan, 9/29/64

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.”

You can listen to the recording and see a transcript on our website

Courtesy The Coloradoan, May 24, 1964.

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.

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National Pollinator Week is June 20 – 26. Here’s why pollen is so important.

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!

More museum resources about pollination:

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Get to know our Volunteer and Internship Coordinator

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.

Jessica – with a Swainson’s hawk.

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.

Jessica, as a volunteer at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

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.

Thank you Jessica!

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Join us for our Dope Is Death Film Screenings

Join us for two special screenings of the documentary Dope is Death and stay for a brief dialogue following the films. 

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.

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Getting to know turtles on World Turtle Day

Written by Willow Sedam, Animal Care Technician

Did you know May 23 is world turtle day? If you didn’t, now you do – why not take a moment to shell-eborate one of the more unusual reptile species we share our planet with? Remember, you can view our ornate box turtle at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery anytime!

A snapping turtle from 1966, taken from the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery's archive.
A snapping turtle from 1966, taken from the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery archive.

So what makes a turtle a turtle?

Turtles are reptiles, and ectotherms, or cold-blooded animals. Like snakes, lizards, and crocodiles, they can’t generate body heat the way mammals do. Instead, they rely on the environment to regulate their temperature, moving into warmer or colder areas to suit their needs.

Because of their cold-blooded nature, most turtles prefer to live in warm climates, from toasty deserts to jungle rivers to tropical seas. But there are turtles living right here in our very own snowy Colorado, too! How do they do it? By digging far enough into the earth in winter that even the frost can’t reach them. In a kind of statis, they wait out the cold months, and emerge again when the weather warms. Probably something we’ve all wished we could do, too.

It’s a common misconception that all turtles can swim.

It’s a common misconception that all turtles can swim. Take the ornate box turtle (one of those Colorado natives we were talking about), which prefers life on land and is highly adapted to digging into dirt and leaf litter. Unlike streamlined aquatic turtles, box turtles have big boxy shells! 

Think of a turtle’s shell like a knight’s coat of armor. Their shells protect them from danger, allowing some species to entirely retreat inside their shells when threatened. But unlike a knight with his armor, turtle shells are actually a part of their body. The base of their shell is actually bone – ribs and vertebrae that have fused together to form the framework for this amazing adaptation. And while the framework is all bone, on the outside, they’re covered in a surprisingly familiar material. Take a look at your fingernails – that same keratin that makes up your nails and hair is what covers a turtle’s shell in hard segments called scutes. And yes, it’s pronounced “scoots”.

While many species of turtle are herbivorous, eating exclusively plants, there are still some species which live on a carnivorous diet of fish and insects. Plenty of turtles don’t discriminate, either, opting for an omnivorous diet which consists of both plants and animals. 

But some turtle species are picky – really picky. Leatherback sea turtles only eat jellyfish!

Turtles are all over the place, including on land and in the sea. They eat plants sometimes, and bugs sometimes, and occasionally both, or neither! At least all turtles have that hard, keratin-covered shell in common, right?

Not quite. Have you ever heard of softshell turtles? This family of turtles swapped their hard scutes out for a layer of leathery skin, giving them a unique look among their order. But why trade away the protection of a hard shell? These turtles opt for speed instead of armor, and a leathery shell gives them some of the protection of a hard carapace without sacrificing speed.

As it turns out, turtles come in all shapes and sizes

Who knew there were so many different kinds of turtles out there? Next time you’re walking along the edge of a pond, or taking a hike through the woods, keep an eye peeled for something small and beshelled. It might be digging in the dirt, sunning itself on rocks, swimming in open water, or buried in the mud; it might be hunting minnows and shrimp, or just nibbling on dandelions, or maybe even looking for jellyfish – because, as it turns out, turtles come in all shapes and sizes!

Glossary of World Turtle Day Terms

Ectotherm – An animal that is not capable of generating its own body heat.

Vertebrae – The bones that make up your spine.

Keratin – A tough material that makes up the hair, nails, and horns of animals.

Scute – A hardened plate of keratin or bone.

Herbivore – An animal whose diet consists of plants.

Carnivore – An animal whose diet consists of other animals.

Omnivore – An animal whose diet consists of a mixture of plants and other animals.

Carapace -The top half of an animal’s shell. Can refer to the shells of arthropods like crabs and scorpions, or those of turtles. The underside of a turtle’s shell is called a plastron.

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What’s new in our Archive and Collections?

Have you paid a visit to our Archive and Collections recently?

The Archive and Collections team is made up of a dedicated seven person team whose work keeps the stories of Fort Collins and the Front Range alive. Tasked with making discoveries every day, many of the tens of thousands of items housed at the museum come right from our community.

Recently, we caught up with Linda Moore, our Curator of Collections, to talk about what is going on at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s Archive and Collections.

Our Archive and Collections team is a regional touchpoint, connecting us to the past, and we love having them here. If you have questions for Archive and Collections, you can connect with them in a number of ways.

Hi Linda, can you give us an idea as to how much has been collected recently?

Linda: In 2021, we received 240 object donations, including 16 objects specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. We put together a website with a sampling of images of new donations.

What are the highlights from the recent collections efforts?

Other than objects that continue to come in representing the current and recently past COVID-19 pandemic, we received a large donation of T-shirts and pint glasses representing the Downtown Business Association’s evolving celebration of local brewing over the past 27 years or so. We received some timely objects from the presidential campaigns of 2020 and we also received handmade textiles created by local women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

What is one of the most unique donations requests you’ve received?

We recently received a music writer – it is a typewriter that types musical notation. It’s about 50 years old and it helped automate music writing back in the day. It’s really special to be put in touch with objects like this.

How did it come about?

One of the inventors of it was in the Colorado State University music department and it came to us via that person.

That’s really interesting. How much of the collections come directly from the community like that?

We respond to Fort Collins community members’ offers of items to be donated. Occasionally we make a call-out to the community via social media for objects related to specific themes, like our recent request for objects and experiences related to the pandemic and actions in support of social justice. When we develop in-house exhibits we issue a call out for relevant objects our current collections lack.

The Archive and Collections has a great Facebook page, and your Wednesday “Hum? Ump Day Artifact” spotlight is a lot fun. Do you have a favorite Weekly “Huh? Ump Day Artifact?”

We love putting this page together. Sharing the artifacts out really allows us to get to know the people and places of Fort Collins in a really interesting way.

I personally really connect with the artwork made my Alice and Helen Dickerson. Just looking at their art makes me feel like we would have gotten along well. They are sisters and one of them makes pine needle baskets and the other one paints them.

Alice and Helen Dickerson were sisters born at the beginning of the 20th century who lived their lives together in a rustic and isolated cabin in Buckhorn Canyon. Both spent the winters making crafts which they sold at their store located in the canyon. Helen wove pine needle baskets, carved wood, designed jewelry, and crafted items using bits and pieces from nature. Alice especially enjoyed painting, which she did on nearly every surface imaginable—including many of Helen’s baskets. Origin Place Masonville, CO
Alice and Helen Dickerson were early twentieth century artists who painted pine needle baskets, carved wood, designed jewelry, and crafted items using bits and pieces from nature.

What is one of your favorite places in the museum besides Archive and Collections?

The café! There are always interesting folks and things going on in there. It’s where we end up doing our pop up crafts time to time, and it’s a great place to hang out.

Earlier this year you presented at the Bold Women, Change History symposium at History Colorado museum. Can you talk about that?

It was attended by a really diverse set of presenters, with people ranging from professional writers and historians to graduate students presenting at their first conference, on subjects as diverse as women’stravel clubs in the 1920s to a comprehensive history of access to birth control in America. The Archives and Collections team all went and we presented on themes from our collection on women’s history. It was fascinating – we learned so much and got great feedback on our presentations as well.

My presentation was about one of our larger object collections: the artwork and ephemera of local textile artist, Dorothy Udall. Her story is an inspiring demonstration of how object collections can be used to access histories that are underrepresented in our community’s written historical records.

Dorothy Udall in her printing studio.

I have to ask: do you believe bold women can change history?

Certainly, but I’d like to answer with a yes and no. The reason I say that is some of my favorite research and collections discoveries uncover people who were quiet and lived their lives in the way that were important to them. They didn’t make a huge splash, but they certainly made contributions.

What else has Archive and Collections done in the past year that you are proud of?

We love being involved with schools in our area, and we were excited to host classes from Compass Charter School while working on History Day entries in Collections. We also hosted a visit with Roots and Wings Preschool students with activities about collections and curation. We visited the resulting Shell Museum they created in their classroom. It was so lovely.

We’ve also recently received a $5,000 grant from the International Questers to support the conservation of a Northern Arapahoe-painted bison hide recently donated to the Object Collections. This is really special to all of our communities.

And in our continued work to spotlight community members, we create a video about Betty Herrmann, a major donor and volunteer to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Object Collections and elsewhere in the museum since the 1980s.


We also work to participate in the Día de Muertos Celebration. In keeping with the spirit of the Celebration, I created an altar honoring my father.

Please look for the next Día de Muertos Celebrating in the fall!

Finally, how can the community get involved in the collections?

Visit our galleries to view the many collections objects that make up our exhibits. You can always contact me to arrange a visit to Collections or to do research on a particular object or theme. It’s free.

As always, take a look through our online database of over 38,000 objects, available at https://history.fcgov.com/.

And you can always volunteer to help process donated objects and add them to our historic collections.

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Endangered Species Day Events

Endangered Species Day takes place on May 20 this year, and on Saturday, May 21 you’ll be able to explore the meaning of the day at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.  Partners from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, City of Fort Collins Naturals Areas , and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center will be on hand to share their recovery efforts for one of the most endangered mammals in North America: the black-footed ferret. 

At the event, you’ll meet two live black-footed ferrets, attend a ferret feeding, and see two very special “mama ferrets” who are part of the amazing story of the cloned Elizabeth Ann, who is the first clone of a North American endangered species. Children and adults can make black-footed ferret masks and enjoy the offerings from our partners as well.

The ferret feeding takes place at 11 a.m.

This free event with our partners takes place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there. 

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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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