It’s About Time: Mea culpa! Here’s the deal with that boat in the Glenwood pool photo
It's About Time
I had to fire myself from one of my jobs. It was an easy decision to make, as you will soon see.
Last month this space featured a photo of a speedboat in the Hot Springs Pool. Trying to fill the “It’s About Time” space from home over the Christmas holidays so as not to wait until the last minute seemed like a good idea.
The way it works is one month you will see this column and in alternate months, a historic photo with a caption. Not having full access to the Frontier Museum’s archives, I mistakenly relied on the date within the photo title for the year it was taken.
It turns out the date with the photo was when it was donated to the museum and not the date photographed.
It would have been wise of me to check with folks at the pool to see what they knew about the photo. After a couple of spiked eggnogs, being wise was not in the cards.
To add insult to injury I rather tipsily typed in the wrong phone number for people to call if they knew anything about the photo, as an attempt to engage people with history.
I’m not sure what business or individual got phone calls from people with information about the photo. But whoever you are please come by the museum and get a free tour for your troubles.
When I returned to the museum and checked my email there was a message from Kjell Mitchell, Glenwood Hot Springs Pool president and CEO.
Why I didn’t call Kjell in the first place is beyond me. He had the right information about the photo as to when it was taken and that the speedboat was in the pool as a stunt.
Kjell also sent an attachment of the cover page of the 125th celebration booklet and two pages in which the photo appeared entitled “pool stunts.” Kjell suggested the photo is from the 1950s.
Accuracy is important when dealing with the past. There is a fancy word for keeping proper records for items in museums. It’s called provenance, the place of origin or earliest known history of something.
Notice the word prove is part of the word provenance. A museum item is not considered authentic unless you can prove through adequate records where it came from, the date of the object, who owned it first and who donated it.
It’s frustrating to have artifacts and photos in the collection that have no information with them.
Unfortunately, we have lots of orphaned material with the context missing and the provenance forever lost to history.
It takes time, and lots of it, plus money to keep proper records of the Frontier Museum’s collection.
To keep good records the museum has a software program called PastPerfect. Thanks to funding from Alpine Bank’s chairman and chief executive, the J. Robert Young Foundation has enabled us to input items important to history, such as the Storm King Fire material.
Because of our faithful volunteers helping type items into PastPerfect, we can steadily bring our collection records up to date.
Staff members Carolyn Cipperly and Sharon Haller deservingly gave me grief over the pool photo fiasco. I should have asked for help to make sure the correct information was properly researched for the speedboat photo.
The solution? I fired myself from doing the photos for “It’s About Time” and assigned archivist Carolyn to take over the job.
It’s a relief to have one less thing to do.
Mea culpa! Mea culpa! This spectacularly slothful sin against history will not be committed by me again.
By the way, the correct number for the Frontier Museum is 970-945-4448.
Bill Kight is the executive director for the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and can also be reached at email@example.com.
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