History for Schools


History education programs with Aspen Historical Society

Aspen Historical Society offers school programs with a focus on  the upper Roaring Fork Valley’s exciting history shared through character presentations, interactive lessons, and artifact demonstrations. Field trips, site visits, and in-classroom history education programs are provided free of charge for all grade levels and transportation stipends are available. A general menu of programs is outlined below (advance booking is required and based on availability.)

To schedule a program or learn about transportation stipends, contact Nina Gabianelli at 970.925.3721 or vpedprogramming @ aspenhistory.org.


Ashcroft Ghost Town – 11 miles up Castle Creek Road outside Aspen
(2o-minute stations, total duration depending on class size)
Explore what remains of the once-booming mining settlement nestled at the headwaters of Castle Creek in the rugged Colorado high country.


  • Rotating stations around the site

Optional activities:

  • Butter making
  • Candle making
  • Character presentations:
    • Pioneer life
    • Stuart Mace and Toklat legacy
  • Ute storytelling

Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum
– Marolt Open Space, Aspen
(1 hour to 1½  hours, depending on class size)
Experience the Roaring Fork Valley’s mining and ranching industries including operational authentic machinery used during the mining boom and ranching equipment from the “Quiet Years.” Also on the property, the restored McMurchy/Zupancis cabin and barn the help tell the story of Aspen’s Victorian era and the immigrants who helped shape the community. In the barn, an agricultural exhibit features life-sized farm animals, including a working milk cow, that are especially popular with students.


  • Tour of the site and the museum
  • Steam engine demonstration inside the museum
  • Tour of the McMurchy/Zupancis cabin and barn and exhibition

Optional activities:

  • Butter making
  • Candle making

Wheeler/Stallard Museum
– 620 W. Bleeker St., Aspen
(1 hour to 1½  hour tour, depending on class size)
Step back in time and explore life in the 1880s in the Victorian mansion built by iconic figure Jerome B. Wheeler.


  • Tour – Could You Live in 1890?
  • Exhibition – Decade by Decade: Aspen Revealed

Optional activities:

  • Native storytelling and history program with an AHS Educator following by a conversation with Skyler Lomahaftewa, Northern Ute Tribal Member, discussing life as a modern-day Ute.
  • Butter making
  • Candle making
  • Photographic display Aspen Illustrated News in the AHS Archives Building


Can accommodate 20 people per AHS Educator.

Hotel Jerome TourHotel Jerome, Aspen
(1 hour tour)
Explore the lobby and first floor of the Hotel Jerome, which has been at the center of community life since its doors opened in 1889.

Victorian West End Walking Tour – West End neighborhood, Aspen
(1½ hour tour)
A stroll through Aspen’s Victorian West End residential neighborhood, with a focus on history and architecture. Learn little-known facts about the neighborhood’s homes and the people who lived in them. 

Historical Downtown Walking Tour – Downtown core, Aspen
(1½ hour tour)
Explore the historical buildings and streetscape in downtown Aspen, with interesting stories around every corner.

Red Butte Cemetery Tour – Cemetery Lane, Aspen
(1 hour tour)
A walk through one of Aspen’s historical cemeteries, including insight into the lives of the locals who are buried there.


Native Peoples/Ute Program: 
(1 hour program)
In the tradition of oral history, hear Ute stories, and learn what it was like for the native people of Colorado hundreds of years ago prior to their removal from the area, followed by a conversation with Skyler Lomahaftewa, Northern Ute Tribal Member, discussing life as a modern-day Ute.


  • Native storytelling and Ute history with AHS Educator
  • Visit with Northern Ute Tribal Member

“History on Stage” Museum Theatre Character Presentations:
(45-minute programs, option for different characters to visit each month throughout the school  year)
Step back in time with first-person, costumed presentations of former Aspenites in their own words.

Character options include:

  • Native: John Duncan (Ute tribal officer)
  • Mining Era: Sarah M. Gillespie, Jerome Wheeler, Ashcroft school teacher Emma Perry
  • Quiet Years Era: Ella Stallard, Hildur Anderson, Dorothy Shaw, Ella Elisha
  • Renaissance/Ski Era: T-Lazy 7’s Lou Deane, Toklat’s Isabel and/or Stuart Mace, Gretl Uhl, Billy Fiske, Fred Iselin, Elizabeth Paepcke, Fritz Benedict
  • 1970’s – To Now Era: Former Mayor Eve Homeyer, Joan Metcalf, Betty Pfister

Storytelling Series:
(30 minute program, monthly visit throughout the school year)
Partnership with Roaring Fork Valley Storytellers to share native and stories of the area.

A Briefly Complete History of Aspen:
(50 minute program)
A very funny, fast paced play covering nearly 150 years of history in 45 minutes featuring three actors, song, dance, and a whole lot of history.
Performed by: Mike Monroney, Nina Gabianelli, and Travis McDiffett

A Briefly Complete History of Modern Aspen:
(15 minute program)
An abridged version of the full-length play, covering 1936 to present day.
Performed by: Mike Monroney, Nina Gabianelli, and Travis McDiffett

History Traveling Trunks:
(Trunks can be “checked out” and used in your classroom for a two or three week period.)
Bringing a hands-on interactive museum experience to your classroom, trunks offers teachers a creative and fun teaching tool for local history education. Trunks contain interactive artifacts and a teacher’s guide to help direct lessons.
Trunk options include:

  • Native Peoples Trunk
  • Mining Trunk
  • Ranching Trunk
  • Skiing Trunk

Smuggler Mine Tour – Smuggler Mountain, Aspen
Partnership with Smuggler Mine ($10/student)

  • Tour of the mine

(Contact Jama Parker [email protected] for scheduling)

Interested students are invited to work one on one with AHS staff and community volunteers. Please contact AHS if you have a student specifically interested in history. 

A list of schools we currently serve is below. Wouldn’t you like to adds yours?

Aspen Elementary School
Aspen Middle School
Aspen Country Day School
Aspen Community School
Marble Charter School
Miss Dawn’s Pre School
Wildwood Pre School
Red Hill Elementary in Eagle County
Sopris Elementary
Glenwood Springs Elementary School
Glenwood Springs  Middle School
Basalt Elementary
Carbondale Community School
Crystal River Elementary School
Ross Montessori
Waldorf School
Blue Lake Pre School