I’m feeling almost like a new Archives Building! Over the past few weeks, the Historical Society has been moving back in–setting up offices and the new community gallery space. Things got really exciting this week when our friends at Olde Towne Moving & Storage brought all the artifacts, maps, documents, photos and archival material back from temporary storage. Do you have any idea how much muscle it takes to move more than a century? The guys at Olde Towne really came through.
Please join me for my grand re-opening celebration on July 14! Stay tuned for details. You can also visit my re-stocked archives during one of my free tours on August 9 and September 13. I can’t wait until you see me!
Well, well, well, look who’s all dressed up with no place to go? Me! I am feeling pretty luxurious these days, and it’s not just because the Oscars were on Sunday night. I have been decked out with the most lovely accessories: fine carpeting, pretty dark blue walls and shiny bathroom tile. All the finishing touches are happening, and I must plug the contractors (G.F. Woods) because it’s all on time. But, like I said though, no place to go. While the construction is nearing an end, we have to wait for the building to settle a bit before we transport all of the archives back into it. Then the staff can move into their new offices and we’ll make sure everything is running smoothly before we invite the public in to see it all.
Our grand opening will be July 14, so mark your calendars. That’s when we’ll open up for a full day of tours, celebrations and snacks. In addition, that pretty blue wall will feature a photo exhibition featuring images selected by community members. It’s all very exciting, and I’ll be in preparation mode until I make my big debut to all of you. Thanks for hanging in there; it will be worth it.
I’m giddy with how good I look! Things are really taking shape, in all the right corners, here at the archive building. First, cabinetry has been installed on all three levels. In the basement, SpaceSavers were put in (twice as many as there used to be) to efficiently store items, documents and artifacts, and this will be our nexus of storage and preservation. Type A people will appreciate the utter organization of it all. On the main level, sleek-looking cabinets have been added throughout the archives room, so the Historical Society’s most-accessed documents and objects can now be within (safe) reach. On the third floor, additional sets of cabinets and drawers have been installed. And everything matches!
And while it’s easy to get excited about the things that hide other things (like cabinets), I’m most excited about my gorgeous new floors. Not only are they fashionable, but they’re functional — durable and easy to clean for all the community and children’s events we’ll have in the new gallery space. I think it’s the first time that I can say I’m excited for people to walk all over me.
I’m a three-level building. With my renovation, the main floor, aka my torso, will be the community and education space and that’s where most people will spend their time. My top floor, or head, is going to be office space. But sometimes I think what’s happening downstairs in my basement is the coolest. That’s where thousands and thousands of artifacts, objects and photographs will be safely stored. The goal is that people won’t really spend any time down there, sort of like a not-below-the-waist policy.
To make sure that everything is protected, the construction crew is adding technology to prevent against fire and flood. The space will the climate-controlled in order to maintain optimal levels for preservation. Things like wiring will be isolated so that there aren’t any ignition sources in the basement archive area. Essentially, it’s a vault — one that protects all of Aspen’s treasures.
Brrrr. Does anyone else feel a draft in here? Recently my doors have been wide open and my walls exposed. During this extended summer called fall, it’s been pleasant but the recent temperature drop has me all sorts of happy for my new insulation. Recently the G.F. Woods construction guys have buttoned me up to make sure I’m ready for Colorado’s cold winters.
That means a couple of things. First, I got all new Pella windows. I don’t know much about them, but I hear they’re the best kind. Like they’re the windows the Queen of England would get if she was renovating her castle. Second, they put new siding on me and a thing called the VaproShield, which is a water-resistant, vapor-permeable insulated wall. That sounds pretty cool, and by cool, I mean warm.
We’re trucking along on schedule just in time for the arrival of winter.
It’s election season and everyone is putting up walls, including the G.F. Woods Construction guys. But unlike the metaphorical walls going up around the country, mine are the good kind. And I don’t discriminate either, I like all types of walls! The wall with the cinderblocks is called a Concrete Masonry Unit wall — CMU for those in the biz, or “magic shield” to me. This particular shield is going up my basement, where all of the tens of thousands of artifacts, documents and images will be kept, and its job is to be a firewall. All of the precious stuff will go inside the concrete box, and that protective shield will keep everything safe in case of the worst, like a fire or flood. Basically, if I’m in “Star Wars,” this is my force field.
Click here for more information on the campaign and the renovation process.
I basically won the popularity contest of archives buildings last week when nearly 75 people showed up for our “groundbreaking” ceremony. It actually should have been called a wall-breaking ceremony, since my shell isn’t going anywhere, but my insides are getting the makeover. People walked all over my floor, drew on my paint and took hammers to my walls — and I thought it was fun!
That means construction has officially begun. I’m feeling a little drafty these days without any insulation and a lot of open doors. But, hopefully I will be all buttoned up by the time snow stays on the ground. Then the construction crew can pay attention to the all the important upgrades that will happen inside me.
You know that feeling after Thanksgiving dinner when you’ve eaten five helpings of food but then can’t really move off of the couch? It was all worth it, and delicious, but things are … tight. That’s how I felt at the Aspen Historical Society, until recently. See, I’m the archive building. I sit behind that giant brick mansion in the West End (which isn’t so giant anymore compared to a lot of our neighbors), and I hold most of the town’s collection of photographs, documents and objects, plus some offices and storage. Because history keeps happening, I am getting stuffed.
Thankfully the fine folks at the Historical Society have decided to do something about it. We’re renovating! For the past month, dedicated staff have been methodically boxing up materials to store for the next eight months while I’m gutted. On the other end of the project, you’re going to see a sweet, new me. I’ll be energy-efficient, have more room for storage and will even feature a community meeting space so you can visit me more often. This is seriously wonderful news for the community, but it’s best for me. It feels like my belt just loosened and by spring I’ll be able to eat as much as I want.
Click here for more information on the campaign.
Aspen’s first tax-generating business was not mining, freighting, dry goods or even saloons; it was prostitution. The City of Aspen ordinances adopted in 1880 set aside a special area near the railroad depot for cribs and “female lodging” in order to confine the “trade” to a few blocks and to keep tabs on the disreputable businesses for tax collection. The ladies of the night only accepted cash, unlike most of the other businesses in town so they were the first “businesses” able to pay their taxes.
Bests, Firsts & Worsts: Aspen in Objects explores the area’s unique history told through more than 90 artifacts, each with its own tale that sheds light on the Aspen valley’s bright — and dark — times. The exhibition is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum, 620 W. Bleeker St.
The Aspen Historical Society actively preserves and passionately presents our local history in an inspired and provocative manner that will continue to anchor our community and its evolving character. We enhance the lives of those with whom we work and live. We offer a compelling reason to live in and to visit Aspen/Snowmass.
- Eye of the Archive: Notes from the Exhibit Guest Book May 30, 2018
- Eye of the Archive: This Is All Mr. Holden’s Fault April 13, 2018
- Eye of the Archive: More Beautiful Than a Spring Day March 29, 2018
- Eye of the Archive: A Gold Medal Effort February 16, 2018
- Remembering Carl Bergman January 31, 2018
620 West Bleeker St.
Aspen, Colorado 81611