Lafayette History Museum 2023 Annual Report

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2023 Annual Report

2023 Annual Report Serving more visitors . . . more effectively


e thank you wholeheartedly for your participation and support, which has enabled the museum team this past year to preserve and share more of Lafayette’s history than ever before. As detailed on the following pages, we served more than 2,800 people, secured a number of major grants, overhauled the museum’s website, increased community awareness, enjoyed greatly increased donations, and partnered with more local organizations (12 in all) to put on successful community events. All the while, “Radical Lafayette: The Colorado Coal Strike of 1927-28,” our major exhibit that debuted at the end of 2022, continued to generate traffic and favorable feedback. But we won’t rest on our laurels. We have big plans for 2024. These include updating our exhibits, redesigning and creating new programs,

and establishing better, climate-controlled, secure storage for our many artifacts. To help us achieve these goals, we’re fortunate to welcome two new board members: Katie Randall and Phil Chermak. We offer our deepest thanks to all of you who contributed to the museum’s continued success. The Lafayette History Museum grew stronger and Chelsea Pennington Hahn and Leigh Campbell-Hale more popular because of the donors, volunteers, students, teachers, scholars, artists, elected officials, civil servants, and government bodies that demonstrated interest and a willingness to help. If you haven’t already done so recently, please visit to donate, become a member, explore new offerings, and learn how to get involved.

Leigh Campbell-Hale President, board of directors

Chelsea Pennington Hahn Museum director


2023 Highlights & Milestones New website debuts On the heels of our 2022 museum rebranding effort, which entailed changing our name from Lafayette Miners Museum to Lafayette History Museum and creating a logo and new signage, the museum in 2023 hired a Denver digital marketing and design agency to remake our website. The site, which debuted in September, includes new, user-friendly navigation; clean, attractive design; and a wide variety of new or enhanced features and functions.

Textile conservator Paulette Reading worked with our director to assess the museum’s clothing collection⎯determining what pieces need preservation and the best way to store them.

Museum income increased 33 percent to $88,571, up from $66,589 in 2022.

provided by the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board.

Grants and donations surge The museum last year attained a record level of funding. We earned grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’s Inspire! Program, Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board, ColoradoWyoming Association of Museums, and Boulder County Community Foundation. These grants totaled some $54,000, much of which will be received in 2024. Further, the museum’s funding from SCFD, a cultural funding clearing house serving several counties in Northern Colorado, increased as well. The museum also benefitted greatly from generous donors; last year we received more than $10,000 in donations. Of that total, the museum received nearly $2,500 generated by Colorado Gives Day—more than double the proceeds from our 2022 campaign. Putting funds to good use Using monies from the 2022 Greenwood FundDenver Foundation grant, we took major strides to rehouse our collection of historic clothing. We also began flattening and rehousing maps in the Louis Gaz Mine Map Collection with funds

Moreover, we began the large-scale effort to conduct a formal inventory of the museum’s entire array of 4,000 artifacts, an endeavor funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. To that end, in October, we used grant money to hire a part-time employee, Kota Fleming, to carry out the project. She has a strong curatorial background and brings experience carrying out inventories, leading teams, and creating effective work processes. Library hosts popular history programs The museum periodically hosts history programs at Lafayette Public Library, and this January, our second annual “Know Your Antiques” event was even more successful than the first as measured by participation levels and donations.

Fine arts expert and historian Sydelle Dienstfrey, PhD, gave a talk titled “Is This Work of Art Too Good to Be True?”

Emulating the long-running TV program Antiques Roadshow, the museum lined up nearly a dozen volunteer experts to evaluate antiquarian items brought in by interested parties in exchange for modest donations to the museum. They included vintage musical instruments, books, jewelry,


The museum’s Education Committee arranged seven group visits by more than 350 students from three area schools.

Graig Anspach, one of the experts on hand for “Know Your Antiques,” evaluated jewelry and watches.

quilts, clothing, timepieces, coins and currency, and art objects.






General visitors





Tour participants





School visitors





Program patrons










*Severely depressed levels due to onset of Covid pandemic

“Know Your Antiques” also featured seven speakers who gave presentations on related topics. Those included “Quilts Through the Ages,” “So You Want to Hire an Appraiser,” “Start ’em Young: The Benefits of Stamp Collecting for Children,” and “Getting to Know Your Vintage Clothing.”

Sharing, preserving our growing collections During 2023 the museum accepted 13 donations of items to its considerable collection of historic objects, documents, and photographs. Requests for research more than doubled—from 18 in 2022 to 44 in 2023—reflecting a general increase in community interest. Museum mission and vision Our mission: Showcase the history of Lafayette, Colorado.

Our vision: Be a vibrant center that identifies, preserves, protects, and honors the heritage of Lafayette while inspiring curiosity to shape the future.

Engagement levels prove a mixed bag Last year the museum drew its largest-ever number of general visitors—873, up 25 percent. But overall attendance dipped on account of lower offsite program attendance and fewer school visits. A couple of major events saw decreased turnout because of such external factors as bad weather and bomb threats at the public library. VOLUNTEERISM





# volunteers





Hours worked





Proud business sponsor of the Lafayette History Museum


Proud business sponsor of the Lafayette History Museum

Large numbers enjoy walking tours For the fourth consecutive year, museum staff and volunteers offered Haunted History walking tours (pictured below), attracting 470 attendees, 50 of them children. Boosting participation was a new partnership with Odd13 Brewing.

Historic Old Town—Former museum Board President Bill Watson takes you on a stroll while telling compelling stories from the past and showing historic photos that illustrate just how much things have changed in Lafayette. The museum offers each tour by appointment, free of charge, for individuals and groups. Join—or renew your membership Become a member of the Lafayette Historical Society and receive such benefits as earlybird ticket sales, a 10 percent discount at our gift shop, access to the research library, and more. Please consider a Lifetime Membership. To join, please visit

Museum docent Olivia Meikle enthralled participants in the museum’s Haunted History tours.

The museum also continued to provide three other walking tours year-round. These tours are a great way to stay engaged with the community and to learn more about Lafayette history: Lafayette: Then and Now—Starting at the museum, historian Dr. Leigh Campbell-Hale guides you down Simpson Street to Simpson Mine Park, exploring the early heritage of Lafayette.

Membership types Individual $ 20 Family $ 35 Business $125 Life (individual) $250

Membership growth

Lafayette 911—Former Fire Chief Gerry Morrell uncovers a side of Old Town known mostly to

first responders, from mine-related sinkholes to the site of an infamous bank explosion.

A joint effort of the City of Lafayette, Colorado, and the Lafayette Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1976. 108 East Simpson Street, Lafayette, Colorado 80026 ·


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