Current Exhibits & Displays

Freak Power: Hunter Thompson’s Campaign for Sheriff
Exhibit at Wheeler/Stallard Museum, June 18 – September 29, 2018
This annotated guest exhibit features a collection of political art and writing from Hunter S. Thompson’s 1970 campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County. AHS partnered with Freak Power curator DJ Watkins to share a special selection of the exhibition’s 125 pieces alongside select artifacts from the AHS Collection.
The exhibition tells the story of the Freak Power platform through original campaign material, photographs, and political art. What started as a stunt to upset local conservatives gained momentum as like-minded candidates adopted the platform for other regional races. The local movement to transform Aspen connected to a national undercurrent and the issues at stake ultimately influenced the trajectory of social and political reform in the community. As weird a tale as he ever conceived, Thompson’s personal forays into politics may have been his wittiest, most thought-provoking, and impactful escapade of all.

Ranching in the Roaring Fork Valley
Display at Pitkin County Airport, June 2017 – present
A thirteen-image display honoring the the valley’s ranching heritage through historic scenes of ranch life and properties, including the ranch where the airport now sits.

Traveling Exhibit

Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People
Available beginning in May 2018
Aspen Historical Society’s traveling exhibit, “Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People” explores the past and present of the Ute people in the American West. AHS curated the traveling exhibit from the award-winning exhibition of the same name, displayed at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum between 2012 and 2015, which was designed with input from Ute tribal members. The traveling exhibit, comprising modular display panels and interactive elements, including a tipi, will help bring the history and culture of the Ute people to communities on Colorado’s Western Slope. Grant support from The Memnosyne Institute and the Louis and Harold Price Foundation enables AHS to provide the exhibit to regional organizations to host in their communities with no rental cost, helping make the educational content accessible to the widest audience possible through partnerships with historical societies, libraries, civic groups, schools, and more. Recent hosts of the traveling exhibit include the Rifle Heritage Center (in partnership with the Rifle Branch Library), the Grand Valley Historical Society and the RE-1 school district.

To host the exhibit in your community, contact AHS Curator Lisa Hancock at 970.925.3721 or curator@aspenhistory.org

Past Exhibits & Displays

Bests, Firsts & Worsts: Aspen in Objects
Exhibit at Wheeler/Stallard Museum, June 2015 – April 2018
This popular exhibition explored Aspen’s quirky history through 120 objects, each with its own story that shed light on Aspen’s bright – and dark – times. From archaic Ute Indian tools to Steve Job’s personal mouse for his Lisa computer, the exhibit offered an intimate glimpse at the stories and events that make Aspen such an exceptional place. With a focus on superlatives, the AHS staff invited visitors to decide for themselves whether the artifacts represent a “best,” “first,” or “worst” and to choose their favorite artifact. Top choices included a chunk of the largest silver nugget ever mined in the United States; Aspen’s first female mayor’s gavel; a rare edition of the Aspen Times printed on the back of old maps when exceptionally heavy snows stopped the trains from delivering paper; and a single chair from Aspen Mountain’s first chair lift, Lift One; and many others!

Due to this exhibit’s popularity, AHS released an updated exhibition catalog in 2017. The evergreen literary exhibition is available for purchase at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum store as well as at Explore Booksellers in Aspen.

Aspen’s Ski Racing History
Display at Wagner Park World Cup Village, March 2017
Ski racing is integral to Aspen’s identity and in March of 2017, the World Cup Finals held in Aspen marked the 50th anniversary of the World Cup racing tour. With support from Ajax Holdings and Aspen Skiing Company, AHS curated a pop-up display to honor the history of ski racing in Aspen. Ski racing had it’s start in Aspen as early as 1936 and since then, the community has embraced ski racing competitions as an important element of the local economy and a source of civic pride. The display, featuring artifacts and a timeline of the evolution of the skiing and racing in Aspen, was open to the public and supported by screenings of historic ski films from the AHS Collection.

AHS also curated smaller ski racing history displays at the top of Aspen Mountain and at Pitkin County airport during the 2017 World Cup celebrations.