Artifacts of CSU’s past on display at History Colorado

Artifacts on display

Just a few of the CSU artifacts on display at History Colorado in Denver.

A few rarely seen artifacts of Colorado State University history, including the time capsule recovered from Old Main, a water level recorder built by students in 1900, a freshman beanie, and a honorary Oscar from the 1976 drama “One on One,” are now on display at History Colorado in Denver.

The installation, which opened in time for 2020 Founders Day on Feb. 11, celebrates Colorado State’s sesquicentennial and will be on display through April. All the items were loaned by the Archives and Special Collections unit in CSU’s Morgan Library.

Different periods represented

The items represent periods of the institution as it grew from the small Colorado Agricultural College into Colorado A&M and into Colorado State University. From a silver cup awarded to the winner of the student body football game starting in 1900 to a beanie representing the cap worn by freshmen, items curated for this exhibition each tell a story about CSU.

“History Colorado is proud to honor CSU on its 150th birthday,” said Sam Bock, public historian and exhibit developer at History Colorado. “CSU has played an important role in our state’s economy, environment, and culture, and continues to fulfill the important mission it was given in 1870 – to extend educational opportunities to all who call Colorado home.”

Some items offer a reflection of sad times, such as bricks recovered from Old Main after it was destroyed in a fire 50 years ago. Other items represent periods of introspection and adjustment, such as papers presented to President William E. Morgan’s administration from students wanting more attention on race equity issues on campus. The demands led to the establishment of service offices for African American and Latino students.

The “Beer In” protests, which took place on Oct. 18, 1968, when ASCSU President Doug Phelps and other student protesters committed civil disobedience by drinking beer in the Student Center – at a time when alcohol was prohibited by campus policies – is represented with a historic Coors six-pack.

History Colorado Center is located at 1200 Broadway in Denver.