Digital Resources Library
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, AHS focused efforts on connecting with our community, digitally. This included the launch of a new email series titled History at Home, a community-sourced oral history project called Quarantine Stories: Recording History in partnership with Aspen Public Radio, more items added to the online archives, digital exhibition catalogues, expanded social media initiatives, and more.
This page serves as a library of curated digital content and resources for the public to explore the past, from anywhere.
Online Archives at archiveaspen.org
AHS maintains online archives for the public to search the extensive historical photo collection, records, old newspapers, old yearbooks, oral histories, vintage recipes, maps, and much more. Take a trip down memory lane with more than 28,000 historical images searchable by keyword and available to purchase as prints. You can search for family members, friends, and local celebrities by name, or revisit community events like the early years of Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic. Search for your favorite buildings, neighborhoods, or mining claims to see what Aspen looked like back in the day. You can even listen to oral histories from beloved Aspen citizens.
In 2020, the online archive saw more web traffic than ever before, offering a remote research tool and a fun rabbit hole for history fans anywhere. Let the journey begin at archiveaspen.org and if you have further research questions, feel free to email our archive technicians at [email protected]
Aspen Public Radio and Aspen Historical Society are partnering to collect and memorialize the valley’s collective pandemic history by harnessing the power of storytelling. We’re asking you, our community, to help capture history in the making by contributing to a new community oral history project. Quarantine Stories features stories and self-recorded interviews from individuals and families in the Roaring Fork Valley during these historic circumstances.
You can participate by interviewing your family or telling us your pandemic story. What has been your experience? How are you feeling and what are you seeing? What motivates you? What scares you? Record and send in an audio clip to be preserved in perpetuity in the Aspen Historical Society Archive.
The future may be uncertain, but together we can capture history happening in real time.
Digital Exhibition Catalogue | Bayer & Bauhaus: How Design Shaped Aspen
Wheeler/Stallard Museum, December 2018 – March 2020
Presented as part of the community-wide Bauhaus 100: Aspen celebrations in honor of the centenary of the German art school “Bauhaus” in 2019, this exhibit explored into the profound, but often unnoticed influence of Herbert Bayer’s work on Aspen, Colorado. Following his arrival in 1946, Bayer’s Bauhaus ethos and artistic vision began to shape the modern aesthetic and way of life in the Aspen community. He pioneered historic preservation in the area, designed a Bauhaus-inspired campus at the Aspen Institute, influenced local architecture, built innovative earthworks and helped guide the community’s cultural and philosophic values. AHS’S never-before-exhibited Bayer collection offered a unique view into his extensive works – both fine art and commercial – sharing a glimpse into Bayer’s lasting impact through preliminary sketch studies, original prints, architectural drawings, graphic design works, historical photographs, and more.
In December 2020, the catalogue was awarded second-place honors by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Interpretive Media Awards in the Book category. The annual awards “promote excellence in the delivery of natural, cultural, and historical non-personal interpretive services.” Hard copies of the award-winning catalogue are available for purchase at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum store.
Digital Exhibition Catalogue | Bests, Firsts and Worsts: Aspen in Objects
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!
This special edition evergreen literary exhibition is also available for purchase at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum store as well as at Explore Booksellers in Aspen.
AHS Social Media & YouTube Channels
AHS produces several photo series each week on Facebook and Instagram in addition to information on our sites, programs, initiatives. AHS also maintains a YouTube channel featuring footage from our sites, recordings from past programs, and more. Enjoy a few highlights below, and be sure to tune in for the latest by following us on social media.
A historical map from the AHS Collection shared each Monday – from early land surveys to mining claim maps to trail maps and more.
Part of an 1874 survey by G.B. Chittenden with geology by E.V. Hayden and W.H. Holmes, this illustration shows a bird’s eye view of the geology and geography of the Elk mountains. Aspen Historical Society Collection
Throwing it back to yesteryear every Thursday with a photo curated from the AHS Collection that shows bygone daily life in Aspen, Snowmass, and the Roaring Fork Valley.
Mining operations at the base of Smuggler Mountain, circa 1895. Aspen Historical Society Collection
The Aspen Historical Society YouTube channel features footage from the Archives, virtual walking tours, recordings of past programs, and more! We hope you enjoy this recording of the program “Lessons With Larry | Then & Now: Familiar Sites & Scenes in Aspen,” from March 28, 2019.
Browse the complete video library for yourself, here.
History at Home email series
AHS launched this series at the start of the lockdown in March of 2020 in an effort to engage the community virtually. The emails feature a variety of suggestions and opportunities to explore the past: from activities for your family, videos of past programs and site tours, and historical and relevant content created by AHS and our partners, to suggestions and tips for exploring the AHS online archives at archiveaspen.org. The email series was been well-received. In 2021, AHS decided to include a History at Home feature in our monthly email newsletters. The original History at Home editions are featured below (click to read).