By Heather Fitzmorris
Office of Integrated University Communications
UC Denver is showcasing Colorado’s rich Hispanic history through a collection of photos and three influential films. The Center for Colorado and the West at Auraria Library began an extensive program that aims to expand the knowledge of Hispanic history.
The Auraria Campus began the Center for Colorado and the West (CC&W) at Auraria Library in 2009 when it became apparent that there were few resources available to supplement the education of Hispanic history. Since then, there have been great efforts made to grow the knowledge of Hispanic history, as well as pursue ways to incorporate the information into the educational experience offered at Auraria.
To preserve the history of Colorado’s Hispanic population and create opportunities for the community to gain knowledge of local Hispanic history, UC Denver has collaborated with the Denver Public Library to expand their photographic collections. There are now more than 100,000 images on Colorado and the West, and only a small portion of those involve the Hispanic populations.
“We want people to be aware of the 500-photo collection that characterizes the Hispanic experience. This project also gives students the opportunity to contribute unique digital pieces for Colorado and the Rocky Mountain area,” said Mary Somerville, university librarian at Auraria Library and co-director of the CC&W.
The photo project has spiked interest in other areas as well. There have been videos created to spread awareness of the valuable history found in the photos. In order to create these, CC&W has partnered with the College of Arts and Media at UC Denver to allow the students to be involved in both research and interpretive aspects of the project.
Somerville also feels this project will have a great impact on education. “In the years ahead we can anticipate that the multiple stories that comprise the history of the West will increasingly be represented in school textbooks. Then, in culturally diverse classrooms around the state, every child will feel encouraged to voice their particular stories and express their specific perspectives. Well educated high school graduates predict well educated college graduates who can effectively engage in the community and civic life,” said Somerville.