Plains to Peaks Collective Brings Colorado and Wyoming Collections to DPLA

By DPLA, June 5, 2018.

We are pleased to announce that over 46,000 materials from the Plains to Peaks Collective, which represents Colorado and Wyoming, are now discoverable in DPLA. With a rich shared history and culture, Colorado and Wyoming institutions including Colorado State Library, Denver Public Library, the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Marmot Library Network, and others have joined forces to bring together collections that represent the region’s past. Led by Colorado State Library, the Plains to Peaks Collective will also activate a regional hub network equipped to support institutions large and small in sharing their stories through DPLA.

Check out highlighted collections below, which include materials documenting the history of the American West and the region’s pioneering spirit; rich Native American history including artifacts from the Mesa Verde archaeological site; and the beauty of the region’s landscape—from the plains to Rocky Mountain peaks!

Among our newest materials are photography collections that document the people, landscape, and culture of the West during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Denver Public Library’s Western History collection, History Colorado’s collection of photographs by renowned photographer William Henry Jackson, and the American Heritage Center’s collections document not only the region’s unique and dramatic landscape, but bring to life scenes of America’s western frontier, its residents, and its growing towns and cities.

The Rocky Mountain landscape of Colorado and Wyoming has shaped their shared history and new collections reveal some of the unique stories and resources determined by their geography. For example, the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army, a mountain warfare unit trained for combat in rugged and arctic conditions, trained at Camp Hale in the Colorado mountains during World War II. Explore their unique military training experience, which included skiing, ice climbing and snowcraft, through photographs and artifacts.

A World War II-era poster showing three 10th Mountain Division soldiers dressed in winter whites on skis, courtesy of History Colorado via Plains to Peaks Collective.

The Plains to Peaks Collective also offers materials that represent thousands of years of Native American heritage in the region, most notably through materials from Mesa Verde. Mesa Verde was a seasonal home for ancestral Puebloan peoples for hundreds of years and the trove of artifacts re-discovered at the site in the late nineteenth century, including pottery, baskets, jewelry and more, provides evidence of their customs and testifies to the thriving community that once lived there.

A view of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America and one of six hundred archaeological sites at Mesa Verde, courtesy of Denver Public Library via Plains to Peaks Collective.


An ancestral Puebloan necklace made of turkey bone beads and canyon walnuts, from Mesa Verde, courtesy of History Colorado via Plains to Peaks Collective.

The University of Wyoming’s collection of agricultural experiment station bulletins also speaks to the unique landscape of the region, but through the science of agriculture. This collection documents over seventy years of experimental farming in Wyoming and these publications allow us to trace the evolution of everything from ranching practice to the science of irrigation and high altitude cooking.

Cover of “Mountain-Valley Cattle Ranching in Wyoming,” courtesy of University of Wyoming via Plains to Peaks Collective.

Finally, several great collections document a diverse tapestry of experiences in this region through personal and local stories. For example, meet the men, women, and children who lived and worked in communities like Salida and Eagle Valley through Colorado’s local history collections. Browse photojournalist Juan Espinosa’s work documenting the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in Colorado or explore Colorado’s Italian-American ancestry in the collections of History Colorado.

Join us in giving Colorado and Wyoming a warm welcome to DPLA and we look forward to hearing what you discover and share from these great new resources!