Fort Collins' history is a microcosm of the development of the West. The settlement of the Cache La Poudre River Basin has now achieved national
significance with the designation of the Cache La Poudre National Corridor. We are fortunate to still have the built environment as well as the archival collections that reflect this history.
The Local History Archive was begun in 1974 at the library with the development of the WICHE oral history project and subsequent collecting of family materials and photographs. Charlene Tresner was the first local history librarian and conducted many of the oral histories and collected hundreds of historic photographs that remain part of the Local History Archive today. After Charlene Tresner, Karen McWilliams and then Rheba Massey stepped into the role of Local History Librarian. Lesley Drayton is the current Curator of the Local History Archive at the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center; Pat Walker and Tiffani Righero serve as Research Assistants.
The online archive, known at its inception as the Archive Access Initiative, began as a cooperative project developed by the
Poudre River Public Library District, the Fort Collins Museum, and the Historic Midtown Neighborhood of Fort Collins,
Colorado. This online archive project was funded in part by a 1997-98 grant from the Library Services and Construction Act administered by the Colorado State Library, and was supported by donations from the Friends of the Library, Doris and Jim Greenacre Foundation, Fort Collins Posse of the Westerners, Livermore Women's Club, the Fort Collins Historical Society, and volunteers working to preserve and interpret the significant features and memories of our past. The original project manager was Rheba Massey, and original project consultants were Bill Thorson, Mark Grigsby, Todd Massey, Robi Sen, and Hussain Chinoy. Special image scanning software and hardware was provided by Hewlett Packard's Home Imaging Division in Greeley, Colorado. The original Fort Collins History and Architecture Database was designed and donated by Jeff Bridges, a resident of the Historic Midtown Neighborhood.
In April of 2007, the Local History Archive moved from the Poudre River Public
Library District and opened in its new home at the Fort Collins Museum. Through a partnership between the Library and the Museum, the online archive's records have been transferred to CONTENTdm digital collections management software. Peggy Shaughnessy, Lingzhen Zhao, and Carson Block from the Poudre River Public Library District have been instrumental in making this database possible. Linda Moore, Brent Carmack, Pat Walker, Susan Harness, Terry Burton, and Lesley Drayton from the Fort Collins Museum have also contributed to this endeavor.
In the fall of 2012, the Fort Collins Local History Archive changed its name to the Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and moved into a brand new state-of-the-art museum building.
None of the Archive's efforts would be possible without the tireless effort and countless hours contributed by volunteers and interns. They have organized, cataloged, and scanned the historic images, indexed and performed data entry of tax assessor records, photograph ledger books, historic scrapbooks/newspapers, and vertical files, created inventories and re-housed collections, and assisted with the grant, computer problems, and development of the web site. Thank you!