Collections Mash-Up: A Collaborative Exhibition

In 2015, a collection of over 300 artifacts were returned to the University of Northern Colorado’s Anthropology Department from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. These artifacts were once part of an even larger collection displayed in a museum on the UNC campus. After the museum closed in 1983, the collection dispersed. Over thirty years later, they made their way back.

What followed was an investigation into the history of the short-lived university anthropology museum, the unique collection it once held, and a few lessons in object care and preservation.

After retrieving the artifacts from Colorado Springs, the Anthropology department researched the pieces. They soon discovered that many of these were from the Hewett collection. From 1896 to 1906, anthropologist Edgar Hewett purchased contemporary Native American pottery and conducted excavations. The UNC Anthropology department put together a display at the Michener Library. I was contacted by Professor Sally McBeth, head of the department, during this process. After the Michener Library display was up, a conversation began about showing some of the artifacts at the Greeley History Museum.

One of the display cases in the Michener Library at the University of Northern Colorado.

Three UNC Anthropology undergraduate students volunteered to work with museum staff to organize an exhibition telling the story of this unique collection. The students were trained in exhibition display techniques, artifact handling and care, and cataloguing practices.

Made for the Tourist Trade opened at the Greeley History Museum on January 18th and will stay up until December 3rd.  The exhibition combines the returned UNC artifacts with pieces in the City of Greeley Museums collection. This collaboration allowed the museum to display and tell the story of over 20 Southwest Native American pottery pieces and the tourist trade that developed after railroad lines stretched into the American Southwest.

Written by Museum Curator Nicole Famiglietti

Digging Deeper Opens Saturday at the Greeley History Museum

A new exhibit, “Digging Deeper: An Archeological Discovery,” opens at the Greeley History Museum, 714 8th St., this Saturday, Feb. 4. The exhibit includes information, photographs, real mammoth bones, and other artifacts recovered from the nearby Dent archaeological site in the 1930s and on loan from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

According to Exhibit Curator Nicole Famiglietti, “Although its significance was not fully recognized at the time, the excavations at the Dent site from 1932 to 1933 made this site incredibly important to the field of archaeology. This was the first known find of Columbian mammoth bones in relation to Clovis points. In fact, the points discovered at Dent may be the first discovered Clovis points, pre-dating the Clovis, New Mexico excavation site that the culture and points were named for. The Dent site showed that humans did hunt mammoths in North America.”

Admission to the exhibit comes with a field notes booklet that tracks activities throughout the gallery. As visitors go through the exhibit and booklet, they learn about archaeology and excavation, the history of the Dent site, and information about other important archaeological sites in Weld County.

A giant wall mural, painted by Greeley resident Adriana Trujillo with the help of museum staff members, depicts Northeastern Colorado during the Pleistocene epoch and the now extinct animals that lived during that time. The Pleistocene was the most recent series of ice ages, which began about 1.6 million years ago.

Located in the Greeley History Museum’s East Gallery, the exhibit runs until August 13, 2017.

The museum’s February hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, Noon to 4:30 p.m. The museum begins new visitor hours in March.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and children ages three to 17, and $15 for a group of five. For more information about exhibits and programs, visit


For more information, contact:
Nicole Famiglietti, Exhibits Curator

Got Dirt?

Have you ever needed fake dirt? No? Well, this is something that we needed at the Greeley History Museum. For an upcoming archaeology exhibition, we’re creating an interactive to explain what stratigraphy (the study of the different layers of the earth) is and how scientists use it in their work. So in order to show the different layers of the earth, we need dirt. The catch is that it cannot be real because real dirt is not safe to use around historical artifacts. So we set about creating fake dirt! Here’s our instructions if you ever need it.


-Pencil shavings (collected from pencil sharpeners in the Hazel E. Johnson Archives)
-Paint (We used different shades of brown to mimic our local dirt. If you need to recreate a different color, just choose paint shades that look close to that!)
-Bowls of various sizes
-Popsicle sticks
-Paper plates

1. Select the amount of shavings needed to each shade of brown and put them into the bowls.
2. Slowly add paints to each bowl to create the different shades of brown that you want to see. Mix the paints into the pencil shavings with a dabbing motion with your Popsicle sticks.
3. Continue to add paint to your pencil shavings and mix until you get the desired array of shades.
4. Pour your damp pencil shavings onto the paper plates. Continue to keep your different shades separate. Make sure that the shavings are laid as flat as possible to let them dry quickly.
5. Allow your shavings to dry overnight.
6. Once the shavings have dried, add them all together. The different shades of brown help keep the dirt looking realistic. And now you have fake dirt to use!

Written by Katherine McDaniel, Preparator

Made for the Tourist Trade exhibition opens at the Greeley History Museum

FOR RELEASE:  On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, the Greeley History Museum, 714 8th St., opens its newest exhibit, Made for the Tourist Trade.

Made for the Tourist Trade is a joint-effort exhibition between the City of Greeley Museums and the University of Northern Colorado Anthropology Department, featuring pottery originally donated to the university museum. The university museum closed in 1983 with much of its collection sent to other institutions.

In 2015, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center returned a collection of Southwest Native American pottery, much of which will be on display for this exhibit.

According to Nicole Famiglietti, Greeley History Museum exhibits curator, the pieces on display represent multiple Native American potters earning new incomes by selling “westernized” pieces to new tourists traveling to the Southwest after the expansion of the railroad lines. The exhibition also tells the story of the founding of the UNC Anthropology Museum, its sudden closure in the 1980s, the dispersal of the collection, and the return of some of its artifacts.

Almost all of the pieces originate from 1896 to 1906.

The museum’s west gallery will hold this exhibition until December 18, 2017. Next month, the museum opens another new exhibit, Digging Deeper: An Archeological Discovery, in the museum’s east gallery.

The Greeley History Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4:30 p.m. Admission for a family of five is $15.

For more information, visit or call 970-350-9220.


For more information, contact:
Nicole Famiglietti, Exhibits Curator

City of Greeley Museums to Release New Book about Greeley

FOR RELEASE:  Local history expert and City of Greeley museums staff member Peggy Ford Waldo has recently added a newly published book to her list of career accomplishments. She’s written a Greeley history book for the “Images of America” series appropriately titled Greeley.

Greeley, with a release date of Saturday, Dec. 17, is available for purchase through the Greeley History Museum’s gift shop, located at 714 8th St., or by calling the museum at 970-350-9220. The museum is coordinating a special presentation and book signing event that Saturday for the publication’s release. Ford Waldo will conduct presentations about Greeley’s history and her book project at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with book signings to follow each presentation. The cost of the book is $23.50 and each copy pre-purchased through the museum gift shop will include a free admission pass.

The “Images of America” series, printed by Arcadia Publishing, documents the history of neighborhoods, towns and cities. This particular book tracks Greeley’s history beginning with its establishment in 1870 as a utopic agricultural and temperance community and contains information about notable individuals, businesses, schools, churches and more.

Ford Waldo worked tirelessly for the last couple of years to sift through, organize and collect photos and captions for the 128 page book using the museum’s Hazel E. Johnson Research Center.

The museum currently has about 20,000 photos in its database and about 80,000 images in its total collection, so not everything could be included in the book, said Museum Assistant Curator of Collections Katie Ross, who is among the research center colleagues who helped Ford Waldo gather images.

According to Dan Perry, manager for the City of Greeley Museums, “The Greeley History Museum’s Curator of Development Peggy Ford Waldo is a treasure. Her knowledge of regional history is truly encyclopedic and she shares some of it in her new book by Arcadia Press titled Greeley. We are very fortunate to have her on staff. She has worked very hard on this book that includes many historic photographs of Greeley and that come from our Hazel E. Johnson Research Center.”

Ford Waldo has worked for the City of Greeley Museums since 1979 and has served as the development curator since 2010.

For more details about the book or to purchase a copy, call 970-350-9220 or visit


For more information, contact:
Dan Perry, Museum Manager

Peggy Ford Waldo, Development Curator