The Aspen Historical Society enriches the community through preserving and communicating our remarkable history.
The Aspen Historical Society’s primary responsibility is to keep and share the history of our community. In our newly remodeled, state of the art, archive vault, we provide housing for thousands of objects of historical significance to Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. We care for, interpret and exhibit the priceless items in our possession, making them accessible now and for future generations. We steward four sites on the National Historical Registry.
We are a leader in Western Slope historical organizations providing educational programming for both children and adults throughout the valley. We believe that a commitment to the education of our community’s residents, workers and children will stimulate both long-term enthusiasm for valley history, and life-long vested interest in our community. AHS regularly operates two museums and two ghost town sites. Our programming reached more than 8,389 children in the 2016-17 school year, from Aspen to Eagle Valley. That is a 54% increase over the past 5 years. (our education numbers were 5,448 in the 2011-12 school year.) Our adult programming including; Time Travel Tuesdays, archive visits, private/special events, interpretive tours, traveling and pop-up exhibits, had 35,528 guests in the first six months of this year, 2017 – compared to only 7,220 guests, in the same 6 month period last year, 2016. Both, our World Cup Exhibit and the new exhibit at the Airport, contribute to this success!
The current exhibit at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum; entitled Best, Firsts and Worsts; Aspen in Objects, tells the rich story of our history displaying more than 100 artifacts, from our collection. Each item is unique to our story and helps us interpret not just the mining, ranching and ski history, but also our political and cultural history. We have created new curriculum to reach all age groups with this exhibit, from pre-K to high school age students. This year we also created new programming for adults, with a series called History on Tap.
Our board and community members greatly enrich our ability to tell Aspen’s and the Roaring Fork’s history, in many different settings and to all ages!! Volunteers play a crucial role in assisting us in our mission. Their support comes in various forms, from helping with exhibits, working as docents at our sites, interpreting our West End Walking Tour to visiting classrooms throughout the year and presenting the “Characters of Aspen.” Currently, we visit all three elementary schools in the Aspen School District, on a monthly basis, with a different “character.” This project was originally funded by a generous City of Aspen grant. The “characters” now volunteer their time annually to bring history to life for our children. Many volunteers return year after year to assist in our programming and tours through the summer season. We had over 500 volunteer hours from 27 community members in 2016.