Glenwood Springs Historical Society gets seed grant for Latino stories project
Latino culture has been a blind spot for the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and the Frontier Museum.
A grant awarded to the society aims to address that, securing $18,000 for the historical society to try to bridge the historic record gap between white and Latino communities. The funds will serve as a baseline for a project called “Nuestras Historias.”
The project will record and archive interviews with first-generation Latino residents in the Roaring Fork Valley. The interviews will be archived with the possibility for future use in interactive exhibits and potential permanent fixtures, according to a news release from the Historical Society.
“We want to capture these stories before they disappear,” Glenwood Springs Historical Society Executive Director Bill Kight said. “It’s something I feel like we have neglected in the community, and we’re responsible for the history of this community, so we definitely want to make that better.”
According to the 2020 Census redistricting data, more than 30% of Garfield County’s population is Latino and growing. But the society’s oversight of that population’s contributions is far from unique.
Elizabeth Velasco, CEO of interpretation and translation company Velasco Colorado and member of the Latino Foundation of Colorado, said that the Latino community is the “backbone of the economy.”
“There’s a gap the Historical Society has found in their records that they don’t have a lot of Hispanic or Latino stories, which is really a shame,” Velasco said. “There’s a lot of really cool stories of resiliency. I think that the more we know our neighbors, that’s going to help our community be united and work together.”
Velasco acknowledged the project is a small step but thinks sharing the stories of the community can be impactful. She’ll coordinate and execute the interviews and take general lead on the project along with Beatriz Soto of Conservation Colorado.
Other partners include Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly and Glenwood Springs Middle School teacher Cassandra Irving, along with her eight-grade social studies students.
The funds come by way of a Colorado Sustaining the Humanities Grant, which was made available through the American Rescue Plan’s National Endowment for the Humanities, according to the release. The Historical Society was one of 79 recipients in the state.
The grant application focused on promoting alternative and inclusive methods to reach audiences outside museum walls and developing a new funding source in the wake of the pandemic.
The project is in its early stages, and Kight said the $18,000 will not fund its entirety. He said the project is seeking additional funding partners.
When it’s complete, the hope is that it will be one avenue for promoted diversity in the valley.
“I’m excited for the installations later on to really share the stories with the community,” Velasco said. “We really want to have a diverse turnout. Latinos are a very diverse community. We come from different countries, different backgrounds. Not all stories are the same.”
Reporter Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or email@example.com.
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