Historic Douglas County, Inc.
2013 Spring Meeting – Eastern Colorado Historical Societies & Museums
KUDOS to the Kit Carson Carousel and Museum group, spearheaded by Jo Downey and Norma Pankratz. The Museum is designed and set-up extremely well, with a very comprehensive history of Philadelphia Toboggan Company’s Carousel No. 6 (PTC #6), built in 1905. Many displays of wooden animals, an exhibit of how the animals are built, and too many other items to mention herein …just go and see the Kit County Museum and Carousel in Burlington, Colorado.
Joe Martell (Elbert County Museum) was the Discussion Leader for the meeting. The morning began with introductions of the people and groups attending. Jo Downey and Norma arranged to have Rand and Karen Hood (Visual West), give a presentation on how to design a museum, which is the work of Visual West. Rand and Karen worked for nearly two years with the folks of the Kit Carson Carousel Museum , designing the Carousel Museum. The excellent results speak well for skills of Visual West. Rand explained that he avoids “straight-line” traffic-flow and linear displays. Curved and angled methods involve the visitors’ psyches and allows them to become very involved with the exhibits. Rand also talked about the “How to-s“and “How nots” to place items above the visitors. The Carousel Museum has overhead exhibits that utilize Rand’s overhead placement method. This was the first time that presentation as part of the semi-annual meetings, but will be a good idea going forward.
After Rand’s presentation, the meeting group assembled next door at the magnificent Carousel, given a brief history of the renovation process and a free ride ! The Carousel has 45 wooden animals and, for the trivia buffs, rotates in a counter clockwise manner. The counterclockwise rotation of the Carousel comes from American horse racing tracks where horses run in a counterclockwise manner. WHY ??? …another example of the American Revolution; English racetracks run in a clockwise manner! Americans wanted to be different!
The meeting members were also told about the restoration of the Wurlitzer Military Band Organ, which plays rolled-organ-cylinders. The Carousel has three tiers of pictures, roughly 36 inches tall, each hand painted, and restored from the 1905 original painting. Many people had key contributions to the restoration of the Carousel and the building of the Museum. The people of Burlington, Colorado are very proud of their nationally recognized gem!
After our Carousel ride, the group enjoyed a lunch buffet back inside the Museum. Again, our Burlington hosts made us feel right at home with what seemed to be a homemade meal.
When our meeting reconvened, Joe Martell led an alphabetical round-robin went around the room, asking each represented entity to give a brief update on their projects and events for 2013. Here is a brief recap:
Arriba Museum: Museum opens Memorial Day weekend;
Bailey Saddleland Museum: The museum opens Memorial Day weekend + A Quilt Show;
Cherry Creek Valley Historical Society: Held the 90th anniversary of Melvin School last year and are looking to hold an Open House again at 17 Mile House in 2013;.
Cheyenne Wells: Had to cancel at last minute due to large event, hopefully next time;
Elbert County Museum: Major project is working with Rand Hood to design a “new” exhibit for the Smoky Hill Trail, a 3 year project. The Elbert County Museum opens on May 25;
Historic Douglas County, Inc. (HDC): Passed out 2013 calendars, highlighted the HDC website address to promote ALL of the various historic societal and venue events. HDC also discussed the History Day Colorado program and explained that this event needs judges for next year.
Kit Carson Carousel and Museum: Displayed their 2013 Carousel poster (excellent) and announced that the Carousel opens May 25. The Museum gave everyone the 2013 Ride Pass – Free admission to all venues and showed all the items “For Sale;” e.g., T-shirts, ornaments, books, etc.
Larkspur Historical Society: Showed flyer and explained their Veterans & Valor …Muskets & Pipes event at Spring Valley Cemetery May 18 and provided a brief explanation of Huntsville, Jellystone Park and Greenland projects.
Old Town Museum (Burlington) : Reported opening the 6 ½ acre ‘village’ to other events: concerts, weddings, etc. (HDC board members took a quick tour and found Old Town to be a great place to visit and get immersed in histiory. I suggest that the Old Town group may want to discuss hosting a History Colorado tour for 2014
Parker Area Historical Society: Larry Smith gave a brief review of the History Colorado Parker Historic Tour and talked about the upcoming Parker Quest Scavenger Hunt – sounds very interesting.
The meeting wrapped up with a discussion of scheduling future meetings: Fall 2013 will be hosted by Cherry Creek Valley Historical Society …tentatively, October 25, 2013. Further discussion concerned the Spring 2014 Meeting. More to come on the venue for the Spring meeting …could be in Limon, Franktown, Elbert The meeting date will be sometime April.
Again, much and sincere thanks to Kit Carson County for a great venue, great presentation by Visual West, and a lot of really good cameraderie with a great group of people!