History comes alive with local education project

Courtesy of San Juan Mountains Association

Orvil Lavender was 7 years old when he died and his was the earliest burial with a headstone at Animas City Cemetery. The cemetery will be the site of an upcoming History – Hands-On! field opportunity to learn about and document history in local cemeteries.

The San Juan Mountains Association and the La Plata County Historical Society are collaborating to implement a heritage education project to increase community awareness about local historical resources and the importance of historic preservation.

The history of La Plata County is rich and diverse, and these project activities will give residents and visitors the opportunity to learn about important resources close to home. With major funding from the State Historical Fund, the education project is offering classes and camps.

History in Your Own Backyard will include field trips to the southeastern part of the county with visits to the towns of Tiffany and Allison. The guided tours will visit historic churches, schools and businesses in these early towns.

The field trips will be offered April 28 with a repeat May 19.

History – Hands-On! is a field opportunity to learn to document historic cemeteries at the Animas City Cemetery and the Hermosa Cemetery. After a classroom orientation, participants will spend three days learning how to document graves and headstones, including recording inscriptions, mapping, photography and condition assessment.

The third activity in the education project is the History Detectives: Youth Day Camps. Children ages 10-12 will spend a day at either the “Animas City Detective Agency” camp or the “If Headstones Could Talk” camp to learn about the clues we can use to discover our history.

Animas City Detective Agency will focus on the history of Animas City and its importance to the development of La Plata County and mining in the San Juan Mountains. If Headstones Could Talk will teach about the concepts of historical archaeology in a cemetery setting. The camps will be offered July 19 and 26.

Preregistration is required for all of these events and each activity session is $25 per person. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

For more information about the History Comes Alive events, call Ruth Lambert at SJMA at 385-1267.

For information about other educational and volunteer opportunities with the La Plata County Historical Society’s Animas Museum, call Executive Director Carolyn Bowra at 259-2402.

ruth@sjma.org. Ruth Lambert is cultural program director with San Juan Mountains Association. SJMA is a nonprofit dedicated to public land stewardship and education.

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