In The 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. A general menu of programs is outlined below (advance booking is recommended and based on availability.)

Due to COVID-19, offerings are dependent the latest public health requirements. For in-person programs, masks, social-distancing, and capacity protocols are strictly observed. 

To schedule a program or learn about our transportation stipends contact: Nina Gabianelli at 925-3721, ext. 104 or


Ashcroft Ghost Town – 11 miles out the Castle Creek Valley
(1 hour to 1½  hour tour, 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.

  • tour of the site
  • Character presentations: Charles Armstrong (pioneer/prospector), and Emma Perry (1st school teacher in 1881)
  • Ute Storytelling

Optional activities:

  • Butter making
  • Candle making

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

  • Tour of the mine

(Contact Jama Parker [email protected] for scheduling)

Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum – Marolt Open Space, Aspen
(1 hour to 1½  hour tour, depending on class size)
Experience the Roaring Fork Valley’s mining and ranching industries including authentic machinery used during the mining boom and the “Quiet Years.”

  • Tour of the site
  • Steam engine demonstration

Optional activities:

  • Butter making
  • Candle making
  • Branding at the Barn

Wheeler/Stallard Museum – 620 W. Bleeker, Aspen, CO 81611
(1 hour to 1½  hour tour, depending on class size)
Step back in time and explore life in the 1880s in the Historical Society’s Victorian mansion built by iconic figure Jerome B. Wheeler.

  • Tour – Could You Live in 1890?
  • Exhibit – Bests Firsts and Worsts; Aspen in Objects 

Optional activities:

  • Butter making
  • Candle making
  • Storytelling


Hotel Jerome TourHotel Jerome, Aspen
(1 hour tour)

West End Walking Tour – West End neighborhood, Aspen
(1½ hour tour) 

Aspen Grove Cemetery/Red Butte Cemetery Tour – Both cemeteries are in Aspen
(1 hour tour)
Optional grave rubbings activity.


Ute Program: 
(1 hour program)

  • Visit with Northern Ute Tribal Member
  • Native Storytelling (Nina Gabianelli)
  • Ute speaker presentation
  • Ute artifacts traveling Trunk with interpretation

Character Presentations: (first person, costumed presentations)
(45 minute individual programs, option for different characters to visit each month of the school year)
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,
  • Renaissance/Ski Era: T-Lazy 7’s Lou Deane, Toklat’s Isabel Mace, Stuart Mace, Gretl Uhl, Billy Fiske, Fred Iselin, Elizabeth Paepcke
  • 1970’s – To Now Era: Former Mayor Eve Homeyer, Joan Metcalf

(30 minute program, once a month visit through-out the school year)
Partnership with Spellbinders to share native stories of the area.

A Briefly Complete History of Aspen:
(50 minute program)
A very funny, fast paced play covering 137 years of history, in 45 minutes.
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

Interested students are invited to work one on one with AHS staff and community volunteers. Please contact Nina Gabianelli 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