History Colorado Center to Feature Mesa Verde Region
Crow Canyon Partnership to Produce Three New Exhibits
Hundreds of thousands of people every year will learn about the history of the Pueblo Indians in the Mesa Verde region, thanks to a collaboration between Crow Canyon staff and an extraordinary team of museum and exhibit specialists. The collaboration is part of the Village Ecodynamics Project (VEP), funded by a National Science Foundation program called Connecting Researchers to Public Audiences.
VEP scientists are working with History Colorado staff and Science Museum of Minnesota specialists to create three elements within the exhibit titled "The Living West" at the new History Colorado Center in Denver. These elements will focus on the Mesa Verde region in southwestern Colorado and will communicate VEP research results to the public using stories and personal voices to convey complex scientific information. VEP researchers are also slated to produce an educational multimedia Internet lesson that will be available on the Crow Canyon, VEP, and History Colorado websites.
Of many exhibits planned for the new History Colorado Center, "The Living West" will examine human-environment interactions through time and in different areas of the state. As leading experts on the history of the Pueblo Indians in the Mesa Verde region, VEP researchers were asked to provide content for this portion of the new exhibit. In addition, American Indian cultural experts will serve as consultants, contributing both content and indigenous perspectives.
History Colorado and the Science Museum of Minnesota are collaborating on the design of the exhibit; the Science Museum will also fabricate and install the interpretive products. People, Places, and Design Research, an audience-research firm, will interview museum goers who visit prototypes. Their feedback will be used to improve the final displays.
The History Colorado exhibits should be completed by the end of 2013; the Internet lesson will follow in 2014. Stay tuned for updates!
Crow Canyon and the Village Ecodynamics Project
The VEP has engaged a network of scientists who use computer modeling and data collected from more than 20,000 archaeological sites to examine long-term interactions between natural and human systems in the ancestral homeland of Pueblo Indians in the Southwest. Crow Canyon Research and Education Chair Mark Varien serves as a coprincipal investigator of the VEP, and Crow Canyon Lightfoot Fellow Scott Ortman and research associates Fumi Arakawa and Donna Glowacki are among senior researchers working on the project.