Since 2014, the Museums of Western Colorado and the Bureau of Land Management have been working on developing a joint website to showcase digital exhibitions and to share information about collections with the public. The BLM grant funding the project provided resources to build a professional website and a children’s website, offer a series of educational camps for children, and design an educational kit to be used by the Grand Mesa Youth Services Center. The grant’s purpose was to make public lands collections, which are typically stored behind the scenes, available to the public.
Not everyone knows that objects found on public lands and in public museums are the property of the people. They belong to all of us. Some of these collections are rarely seen, but they exist and are held in trust in collections like those found at the Museums of Western Colorado. Many of the objects found on BLM land are not visually striking. Rusted cans, broken projectile points, glass bottles, unidentified fossil fragments, and the like are typical of Public Lands Collections. Museums, like ours, don’t have room to display it all so it’s stored away. While it may not look pretty, the educational value is enormous. Every object tells a story and sheds light on the time period it’s from. These websites have allowed us to showcase some of the collections you won’t see in the museum galleries and allow the public greater access to their cultural and paleontological heritage.
The professional website looks at Paleontological and Cultural heritage from western Colorado through a series of articles and photo galleries. You can find the website at westerncoloradoheritage.org.
The children’s website is a work in progress, designed to be an educational hub for area organizations. We are looking to make it the go-to website for educators and kids on the western slope looking to learn about area paleontology, history, geology, ecology, stewardship, and collections. Keep an eye out for additions as we continue to build partnerships. westerncoheritagejr.org