By Patrick Shea
DEL NORTE — Board members hosted “Gateway to the Holidays” at the Rio Grande County Museum on Nov. 17, a free party to kick off a season of festivities. Featuring live music, a tasty spread and updated exhibits, the event echoed the Del Norte slogan, “Gateway to the San Juans.”
Party guests shopped in the museum gift shop and witnessed new displays. Flooding from earlier this year required careful restoration efforts throughout the summer. But new displays recognizing women, Civil War veterans and other historical county tidbits filled the building for the party.
Part of the celebration extended the “WWI: On the Home Front” exhibit honoring Veterans’ Day (Armistice Day). A trio of Christmas trees included the names of more than 300 World War I veterans from Rio Grande County alone. County Clerk and Recorder Cindy Hill and RGC Museum Director Louise Colville created individual name tags for each veteran. The tags can be removed from the trees and used for future editions of the evolving exhibit.
Colville hinted at another step in exhibit evolution. The museum director explained how they often collaborate to reproduce photographs for authors writing books about Rio Grande County. But it’s a tedious process that doesn’t allow time for reproducing many photos for the public. Now, however, a new program is projected to be online in mid-December. Accessible through the Internet, this program will allow anyone to request prints from the museum’s archives. Assistant Museum Director Mikayla Baird worked countless hours with separate vendors to digitize thousands of photographs for this new ordering process.