A curious mind has served Fazzi well
Citizen Telegram Contributor
Kim Fazzi learns something new at work every day, even though she has held the same position — coordinator of the Rifle Creek Museum — for the last 25 years.
“Somebody once told me that you have to have a curious mind,” she said. “Any little snippet of information sends you on a chase, and you never know where you’re going to end up. If you have a curious mind and enjoy the learning aspect, this [the museum] is a plethora of information, tidbits and stories and facts. A garden for the mind.”
Fazzi’s “curious mind” has given her a thorough knowledge of the collections housed in the museum, all of which were donated.
Through it all, Fazzi continues to expand her understanding of local history.
“History is about putting something in context to its time,” she said. “You don’t have to agree with it, you don’t have to like it, but you can’t deny it. You have to put it in the context of its time.”
“I was fairly indifferent to handcraftsmanship until I had a guy in here who was just fascinated by all the things we have that are handmade,” Fazzi continued. “And I went through the museum and re-evaluated my whole perspective, based on that one interaction.”
Fazzi came to Colorado in 1982 with her husband, Raymond, whose family homesteaded on Silt Mesa.
“Ray and I were fortunate enough to go back to his hometown in Italy, where his family’s roots were, and meet some of his relatives,” she said. “Ray’s ancestor came across to work the coal mines. He saved enough money to buy some land here, which was something he would have never been able to do in Italy. He was a success story.”
The couple met in Little Rock, Ark. They had two children, both of whom still live in the area, and two grandchildren.
“My kids grew up hanging out down here,” Fazzi said. “My grandkids, too. My grandson will be 8. The last time he came to visit me down here, he thought he was ready to give a tour.”
Over the years, Fazzi has done just about everything at the museum.
“When I hired on, it was as a coordinator,” she said. “I do everything from clean the bathrooms, to attending meetings, to working with the volunteer staff. Ideally, to be fully staffed, there are two or three of us here at a time.”
The museum, originally housed in the Antlers Schoolhouse, which is now part of the Silt Historical Museum, was started by a group of local homemakers in the 1960s.
“They [the homemakers] were worried about their history getting away from them,” Fazzi said. “They probably literally went door to door and asked people to contribute to the museum.”
The museum moved into town in 1984 and is now housed in the old Rifle city building downtown. The two-story building boasts a collection of more than 10,000 donated items.
“The community has every right to be very proud of this collection,” she said.
Fazzi enjoys, and learns from, the visitors who come through the museum’s door.
“If I get someone in the door who is captivated and interested, I’ll spend hours with them, just to give them a sense of history, a peek behind the curtain of time,” Fazzi said. “That’s a good day and a job well-done.”
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