Friday, April 29, 2011

Bill Lee of Laughing Valley Ranch

Some of you may remember a couple of summers ago when we had a donkey and her baby “in residence” in our corral and stable at the Clear Creek History Park.  Bill Lee of Laughing Valley Ranch was the man behind the scenes who came every week to bring the animals so we could share a part of local history with our visitors.  Some of you may also recognize Bill as a 'real-life' Santa who cheered many children during the holidays with his long white beard and laughing eyes.  He also provided the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) donkey named “Blaster” to be their mascot. 

We have heard that Bill was in a serious accident, but is making some progress towards recovery.  Some CSM students and many community members have been helping Bill tend his ranch as a form of payment for all he's done for the Golden community.  You too can help if you’re interested. Find out more at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Golden History Museums receives award for history book

Golden History Museums was recognized this morning with an award from The Jefferson County Good News Coalition.  GHM republished the very popular “A Woman’s Life in Golden” book in 2010, and has been continually working to preserve local history and make it accessible to the public.

Mark and Nathan soak up the applause after Kim Christiansen's (from 9 News) introduction.

Several hundred people gathered at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds for the 21st annual awards presentation. Among the other honorees were the Ken-Caryl Ranch Historical Society, Colorado Railroad Museum, and the Jefferson County Historical Commission.

Mark and Nathan show off the award and the book.

Mark Dodge and Nathan Richie accepted the award for GHM.

“A Woman’s Life in Golden” chronicles the growth of Golden through the first-hand accounts of 27 women, and is for sale at the Golden History Center.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Hoosier in Colorado

Being a native Hoosier and life-long resident of Indiana, it was not without some trepidation that I took the step to join the staff at Golden History Museums. It is hard to believe that only this past weekend I was driving across the country to start my first day on the job! While I will certainly miss my family (who are still in Indiana) and the fine folks that I count as friends there, I am now four days in and am so thrilled to be a part of the excitement and energy at Golden History Museums. From the unique partnerships of the Turn It Up exhibit (which opens June 3) to the interactive family learning events planned for the season opening of Clear Creek History Park (May 21), Golden History Museums is well poised to become a true leader in presenting engaging local history to the denizens of Golden and beyond.

I am excited to be in the position of Interpretation and Operations Coordinator at GHM. I'll be working closely with some fantastic staff and volunteers to reenergize the programming at the Astor House Museum and at Clear Creek History Park. I'll also be focusing on developing the volunteer corps (if you are interested in volunteering, please contact me at into an efficient and high-functioning group. As I begin, I want to listen closely to what people are saying about Golden History Museums. I believe strongly that everyone has ideas that could enhance the offerings at GHM, from volunteers to community partners to moms with very young kids.

History often gets a bad rap as boring and out-of-touch with the problems and challenges of the modern world. It is under siege from indifferent teaching in schools and from historic sites that insist on telling the stories of the past using outdated techniques and dull presentations. I hope to work toward a GHM that tells the fascinating stories of Golden in ways that are intriguing, unique and hopefully even fun!

Please send me any thoughts you have about what would make the Astor House Museum and Clear Creek History Park more engaging to you. I look forward to meeting you this year!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Golden History Museums welcomes David Allison as Interpretation and Operations Coordinator

Golden History Museums welcomes Interpretation and Operations Coordinator David Allison. As the newest GHM team member, David brings with him a wealth of historic interpretation experience. In his new position, he will oversee the daily interpretation and operations of each of the three museum venues. David will help create an interpretive plan, create interactive programming, and manage our docent and volunteer program.

A native Hoosier, David has spent the past nine years of his career at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Indianapolis, Indiana—one of the foremost living history parks in the nation. Over his tenure he served in a number of different capacities, advancing from frontline staff to management. David played a key role in the conceptualization and implementation of a new training resource called Opening Doors to Great Guest Experiences that has become a national model for visitor services best practices. In 2006, David led a team that designed and developed Discovery Station, a history-themed play and learning gallery for children. Most recently he developed and managed 1859 Balloon Voyage, Conner Prairie’s newest (and highest) exhibit.

In 2005, David received the April Award from the Visitor Studies Association that acknowledged his positive engagement with the visitor studies field in a museum setting. In 2008, he won the Indiana Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders for his contributions to the museum field and the central Indiana community. He holds an MA in US History from Indiana University and is a 2006 graduate of the Seminar for Historic Administration.

David begins on April 18th, so please be sure to welcome him to Golden. David can be reached via email at