Colorado Cultural and Historic Resources Alliance (CHR)

CHR is working to improve emergency preparedness for Colorado's cultural and historic resources. 

 

Article about CHR
by Kim McKee, Director, Francisco Fort Museum, La Veta, Colorado

No matter where you live, you are bound to have some form of natural disaster at some point.  As a little girl, I remember running to Great Grandmother’s storm shelter to escape the tornadoes in Oklahoma.  I also remember a brief 2 years of childhood in Louisiana and seeing the devastation of the hurricanes.  My many years in Montana taught me much about living among pine forests during drought.

It wasn’t until our recent East Peak fire, and my new stewardship of Francisco Fort Museum, that I came to realize the daunting task of protecting historic and cultural heritage when there is disaster.  My first reaction was ‘how could we possibly save so many artifacts and collections if the fire came this way?’ 

Simultaneously, I received a very important email from a group called Cultural & Historic Resources/emergency   management, based out of the University of Colorado Denver.  They monitor regional disasters and have coordinated a statewide list of dedicated people who are ‘on call’ to historic or cultural sites.  They help by coordinating a safe storage place, as well as skilled experts to come help carefully document and move items to that storage place.  They were in touch with me at Francisco Fort three times with the earlier Middle Creek fires as well as the East Peak.  They were also at the ready to help Walsenburg Mining Museum, and were supportive via email through the entire experience even though their services were thankfully not needed!

It is very comforting to know that while life and property are a priority, the history of this place we call home would also have caretakers in such an emergency.  I’m also now on the list to be of help to others, and will be planning on attending one of the many workshops they offer for ‘disaster preparedness’ for museums/historic/cultural sites.  All of us in Huerfano County have been humbled by Mother Nature, and the human efforts to balance the survival act…  I’m extremely grateful for those who would also step up to help this wonderful site and all the treasures it holds!   

Read more about CHR

CHR Contact Information:

Amy Zimmer

zimmer_a@cde.state.co.us