Pop-up museum shows ‘then and now’ photos of national monument

Visitors to Colorado National Monument got a chance to see then-and-now photos, side by side, from many of the main viewpoints within the monument as part of a pop-up museum Saturday.

Colorado National Monument visitors had a unique opportunity Saturday to see photos of how the monument once looked versus how it looks today at a pop-up museum event at the visitor’s center.

Terri Ahern, walks and talks coordinator for the Colorado National Monument Association, spent the past few months finding old photos of the monument and re-creating them, taking her last shot Sept. 15.

In all, 64 photos were found and re-created and Ahern placed them on a poster that spanned about 15 feet in one of the visitor center rooms. The photos were organized from the east side of the monument to the west. The display will reappear at the monument’s holiday party and open house later this year.

Books of more old photos were also available to look through. The old photos came from all over, but many came from the Palisade Historical Society and Fruita-based historians and authors Steve and Denise Hight, who were in attendance Saturday.

“I think it’s great, I’ve talked to a lot of people so far,” Denise Hight said. “I love those then and now photos.”

Steve Hight said he’s been collecting photos of the monument for several years, many of them coming from antique stores or eBay.

Ahern said she got the idea for the display when she was at an event for the Fruita Historic Preservation Board. They had a similar display and she had an idea.

“A light bulb went off, we could do that here,” she said.

She then did her best to re-create as many photos as she could, even going so far as to place stuffed buffaloes in the same field where they roamed in a photo many years before. Buffaloes have not been around the monument since the 1980s, she said.

She also found an old photo from the 1960s of an old white car at the visitor’s entrance to the park and waited until a white car approached the gate for the “now” photo.

“It was a very fun project,” Ahern said. “A labor of love and laughs.”

The Palisade Historical Society also had a table set up with some old photos and highlighted a few from 1939 at the Civilian Conservation Corps camp up there.

Chairwoman Priscilla Walker said it was a wonderful event.

“We’re thrilled to be here and invited to participate and that we have cool photos as well,” she said. “We’re glad to be a part of it.”


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