GUEST COLUMN:
Historical Society mission
By Joanne Karlson, Sharon Swint and Susie Schorsch

       In June 2012, the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) held a membership and community town hall meeting to brainstorm ideas for future growth of the nonprofit organization. Many varied and creative suggestions and directions were gathered.
       The Vision Committee of OCCHS members followed through with a new Vision Statement - Preserving the Past for the Future - and a revised Mission Statement, both of which were approved by the OCCHS Board of Directors. The committee also proposed five key goals to the board for 2013 through 2015.
       These goals include financial stability, growth in knowledge and pride in local history, importance of membership and volunteer participation, use of museum electronic technology, and growth of the museum's archives and collections.
       With the revised Mission Statement expanding to include the past, present and future history of today's greater Westside neighborhood, the areas of research, oral history, archives and collections are beginning to accept local memorabilia beyond 1859-1917. This change has been well accepted with people thankful that we are remembering “their” history (that after 1917). We have had members wanting to donate their historical items to OCCHS but the “year” was wrong. Now they are gladly giving items to fill our collection. This includes their oral history.
       The new website (occhs.org) and the digital walking tour of the historic OCC business district are recent additions. Commun-ity groups that have volunteered their time and expertise are Goodwill, Boy Scouts, various home schools, Pikes Peak National Bank, the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group and local innkeepers.
       Looking ahead, the society has some special needs for a grant writer and volunteers with “tech savvy” and marketing skills, a volunteer coordinator, researchers, writers and tour guides. An exhibit committee has been formed and visitors are seeing some changes and additions within the museum. An updated reprinting of “The Midland Route,” a book originally published by Midland Railway historian Mel McFarland in 1980, is in its final stages and will be available later this fall.
       We encourage local residents to visit our museum, browse the bookstore, attend a program, talk with volunteers and visit our new website. Our membership contributes on many levels. Our financial status is very stable with a proactive treasurer and various fundraisers and contributions.
       The society is “a work in progress,” and we invite you to join us!

Editor’s note: Swint is president of the OCCHS board, Schorsch is treasurer and bookstore manager, and Karlson is a past board president who headed the Vision Committee.