vol. 7 | September 21, 2020
"We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up...discovering we have the strength to stare it down." ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Welcome to the seventh edition of History at Home. This September (and every September since 9/11/2001) has been a reminder of acts of heroism. This year, especially, heroes and heroines have been front of mind: from medical workers to teachers to postal service and delivery workers to fire crews and first responders to ordinary citizens. In this issue, we're highlighting acts of heroism from the past and present. We also encourage you to share your stories of heroics with the AHS community by posting on social media and tagging @historyaspen and #historyathome, or by submitting your recorded story to our Quarantine Stories oral history project in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

While our in-person summer offerings are winding down, we will continue to curate this email digest and will be working on additional virtual opportunities to experience area history, from anywhere! As always, we hope you enjoy this issue of History at Home.
RESOURCES: explore the past
The Smithsonian's Because of Herstory campaign honors various aspects of women's history to "create, disseminate, and amplify the historical record of the accomplishments of American women." This segment on Activism features artifacts and stories about female activism and advocacy that reminds us that fighting for our rights is an American tradition with a heroic history, especially for women.

Wildfires have gripped the region, state, and the entire West this summer. Though this year's fire season is historic in many aspects, wildfire is not a new phenomenon. This Colorado Encyclopedia article examines the history of wildfire in Colorado, including the progression of fire science, the effects of climate change, and a rundown of the largest fires to grip our state. Topping the list is this year's Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction, which grew to be the largest fire in state history in August.

Firefighting has an extensive history in the West, where fire squads were an early mainstay of a mining community. Our gratitude to the heroic men and women fighting today's fires cannot be overstated.
Members of the Aspen Fire Department stand with a pull wagon circa 1890.
Aspen Historical Society Collection
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum shares many videos on their YouTube channel that enable people to "visit" the museum virtually and experience the catastrophic event in American history and the many stories of heroism that ensued both during the attack and in its aftermath. Access to the site, the museum's artifacts, and the stories they tell can play a crucial role in reflection and eventually, hopefully, in healing for our nation.
A look at the the Museum's collecting process for the more than 60,000 artifacts that chronicle personal accounts of 9/11.
Conservators at the Museum face a unique responsibility to preserve objects whose meaning may be largely related to the damage it sustained during 9/11.

This virtual guide from the National Trust for Historic Preservation maps out locations that help tell the stories of John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, both of whom passed away this year. The guide "offers a look at the sites and locations that honor both Lewis and Vivian and their impact on civil rights."
history at home
FROM FRIENDS: enjoy history heroics
This terrific L.A. Times article explores the role of the Post Office in neighboring Leadville, revealing the importance and value of Post Offices to communities around the nation, both historically and today.

We loved this profile of local hero and skiing legend Andy Mill that was recently featured on Skiracing.com. We couldn't agree more with author Tom Kelly, who said, "Time has been good to the top American downhiller of the mid 1970s to early ‘80s, who used the skills he learned as a ski racer to carve out a remarkable life."

photo: Andy Mill at the Datsun Roch Cup Slalom in March, 1976. Aspen Historical Society, Lindner Collection

This Smithsonian Magazine article details an art historian's recent discovery of the exact location where Vincent Van Gogh painted his last painting.
For more Van Gogh, whose 130th birthday was this year, watch this video about Immersive Van Gogh, a walk-through and drive-through exhibit that opened this summer in Toronto.
ARCHIVEASPEN.ORG: discover the stories
The AHS online archives features myriad resources, including more than 50,000 historical images from every era of local history. Each week, AHS partners with The Aspen Times Weekly and Snowmass Sun to feature a historical image from the Collection for the "Snowmass History" and "Aspen History" columns. A recent "Aspen History" column showcased the below image of Aspen teacher Louise Berg and recollected "back to school" sentiments from 1943, where Aspen (and the nation) were facing a teacher shortage. In spite of the challenges of the past year, teachers remain some of the most heroic and important members of any community!
HISTORY ACTIVITY: engage from anywhere
History Colorado has curated a selection of images from their collection that can be crafted into illuminating lanterns! Click here for instructions and to download five different patterns to make paper lanterns - all you have to do is "print, cut, fold, and click to turn on the warm glow of history." We hope you enjoy this fun at-home activity, especially the many parent heroes who are overseeing remote school!
Land conservation heroes at the Wilderness Land Trust recently secured formerly privately owned mining claims near the Independence Ghost Town. The purchase, which was made possible in partnership with Independence Pass Foundation and other supporters, will help ensure the preservation of historical and ecologically important land on Independence Pass as well as access to the historically rich Green Mountain area (where AHS sometimes leads tours). Click here to read more in The Aspen Times.

On September 11, 2020, the Aspen Fire Department hosted a memorial to honor "all those that were touched by the events that occurred 19 years ago." The event, which is usually a public gathering, was recorded so that the public could join AFD to pay their respects remotely.

This TIME magazine article published in July explores the effects of the global pandemic on history and cultural institutions. From small museums to giant art and science museums, these institutions are heroes of a healthy society and have a enormous economic impact. According to the article, "in an ordinary year, more people go to them than to major-league sports and theme parks combined. Annually, they contribute $50 billion to the U.S. economy, boast more than 726,000 jobs and generate $12 billion in tax revenue. Small museums are a key part of that equation. About 70% of U.S. museums and related organizations are history-focused..."

Click here to read the article, which underscores the importance of museums and why you should care about their future.
Stay tuned for more History at Home...
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