Many Aspen people love living in the past, and luckily they have a great organization to help with that.
The Aspen Historical Society is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and continues to excel in how it brings history to life. Kelly Murphy, president and CEO of the Historical Society since November 2013, says the importance of the organization is clear. Understanding a shared history builds strong communities.
“We are grateful to have been part of the Roaring Folk Valley for 60 years and appreciate the excellent work started by such illustrious founding members as Herbert Beyer and Dorothy Koch Shaw,” Murphy said in an email. “But while anniversaries are a time to look back and celebrate, we remain focused on the work ahead.”
The New Year brings the usual packed agenda to historical societies. But before your special event, the Wheeler/Stallard Museum’s permanent exhibits are a great place to brush up on or learn more about Aspen’s history. “Decade by Decade: Aspen Revealed” has been held since summer 2020. This exhibit uses photographs and artifacts to chronicle Aspen’s history from the 1870s to the 1970s. According to his website for AHS, he explores the events and stories that shaped the community’s identity.
“From mining booms to desolate ranching towns to today’s cosmopolitan recreational and cultural resorts, Aspen has forged its own path,” the website says.
Another display tells the history of Aspen through various maps. There are mining-era maps that provide insight into how Aspen was formed, and a variety of recreational maps that document its rise as a popular playground.
The full line-up for this winter’s special event kicks off with a screening of a retro ski movie starting Monday. “The Beginning of Love” (1976) and “Video Postcards: Aspen Snowmass” (1987) are shown in Monarch His Room at the Limelight Hotel in Aspen. Doors open at 5:30pm and the show starts at 6:00pm. He recommends a $10 donation upon entry. The number of seats is limited, so it will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Historical Society will offer a Winterskol double feature on Thursday. Aspen History 101 is at the Wheeler Opera House at 5:30 PM. College. There’s a song and dance routine that celebrates the party-loving atmosphere at Aspen State Teachers College.
Aspen History 101 will be followed by the iconic 1993 film Aspen Extreme.
The event is free, but tickets are required.
Called “Time Travel Tuesdays,” the historical society’s regular event returns on January 17 with an event called “History on Stage: Fred Iselin & Billy Fiske.” Live Museum Theater character His performance will showcase local ski legends “in their own words.”
That will be followed on January 31st by the ever-popular ‘Aspen Ski Gang’ presentation. Past and present ski gang members discuss what their group is.
Both performances are at Wheeler. Tickets for Time Travel Tuesdays are $15 or free for AHS Lixiviator and above members, but must be purchased or reserved.
The Historical Society also offers a wide variety of tours and other special events. See aspenhistory.org/ for the full line-up.