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Viking Helmets Never Had Horns & Other Things You’ll Learn at the New Vikings Exhibit in Denver

So you think you know about the Vikings, but did you know that the word “viking” isn’t a noun? That’s right, it’s actually a verb. You’ll learn tidbits like this and a lot more at the new Vikings: Beyond the Legend exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Viking Helmets Never Had Horns & Other Things You'll Learn at the New Vikings Exhibit in Denver, HeidiTown.com 1

This guy appears to have lost his entire crew. Photo: HeidiTown.com

My husband was ecstatic about this exhibit because he’s a history nerd and loves anything to do with Vikings, Barbarians, Romans, etc. If they carried swords, he’s into it. So we set up a tour of the new exhibit with curator Steve Nash. When you’d visit, I’d encourage you to pick up the audio guide before going through this exhibit. This is akin to a tour with a curator.

I’m not going to tell you all the things we learned while going through this exhibit, because I need to leave a few mysteries for you to discover for yourself. However, one fascinating tidbit is the meaning of the word “viking.” While it’s frequently used to define a group of people as in, “the Vikings.” In actuality, the people we call Vikings would “go on a viking.” It’s a verb used to describe the act of going on a journey (most likely a raid). Continue reading

Colorado Springs, Land of Museums

Founded as a resort town, Colorado Springs has long been a center for arts and culture. While Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows were taking place in Denver, Colorado Springs was hosting writers and artists.

I believe this predilection for the finer things in life is one reason the city has so many museums. Visit Colorado Springs has 24 area museums listed on their web site, making this city a must-visit for museum fanatics.

Colorado Springs, Land of Museums. FAC - HeidiTown.com

Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado

A Visit to the Money Museum in Colorado Springs

The Money Museum is all about money. It features one of the most complete U.S. gold coin collections ever assembled, including many one-of-a-kind specimens, and the History of Money exhibit will show and tell you how your “change has changed” over the years. We, however, visited this museum to see their Olympic Games exhibit which will run through March 2017. Continue reading

A 2-day getaway to Golden, Colorado

Sitting on our room’s patio at the Table Mountain Inn, we felt a million miles away from the big city. This is the best part of a visit to Golden, Colorado; it is a small town that’s so close to Denver metro and the Front Range that you’ll hardly see your fuel indicator move on a drive there.

Welcome to Golden Sign HeidiTown.com

We were in town to attend the Golden Music Festival, but this 2-day itinerary works for whatever happens to bring you to Golden.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon, checked into our hotel and decided to indulge in nachos and a couple gigantic margaritas on Table Mountain Inn’s restaurant‘s new patio. A great idea because it was happy hour and everything was just $5, plus the nachos were impressive.

Tour Miller Coors Brewery

After our snack, we walked the short distance to Coors for our VIP tour. This was my first-ever big brewery tour and it was an eye-opener. The scale on which Miller Coors brews beer is staggering. My husband kept referencing “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” as we gawked at huge copper kettles and ginormous two story vats of bubbly stuff. Continue reading

A tour of the Timberlane Farm Museum in Loveland, Colorado

Belgian Horse at Timberlane Farm Museum HeidiTown

Funny picture because I caught this horse in mid-chew.

Collections at museums often represent snapshots from different places and different people. To find a collection of historical artifacts from one family is rare. To find them at the farm where the family lived for more than 100 years is even rarer.

This is what makes Timberlane Farm Museum in Loveland, Colorado so special.

The farm has been in the same family since 1860, when Judge W.B. Osborn and his wife Margaret acquired a 160 acre homestead in the Thompson Valley. Over the years the farm grew, but today just 17 acres remain, but also remaining are thousands of stories and hundreds of genuine artifacts from one of the first families of Loveland.

The farm brand at Timberlane Farm Museum HeidiTown

The farm brand was a T. Pictured here.

A visit to Timberlane Farm Museum brings Loveland history and Larimer County history alive – literally. I was greeted by the moo of cows as I exited my car at the farm on a snowy April day.

Located at 1st Avenue and Denver Avenue, hundreds of Lovelanders drive by Timberlane Farm every day, but few know much about the place. The museum was established six years ago as a nonprofit by Louise Osborn Gardels, the great granddaughter of Judge W.B. Osborn. Now 90-years-old, Gardels lives in Loveland and plays a vital role at the museum.

This living history museum truly breathes life into Loveland’s history from the mid-1800s to the 1940s. I’m not going to give everything about the farm away in this post because you should go on a tour and get the real story. I will, however, share with you a few of my favorite things from my tour.   Continue reading

HeidiTown on the Radio – Holiday fun in Fort Collins & family activities around Colorado

This week’s radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM offers up some seasonal fun this weekend in Fort Collins PLUS, some ideas on what to do with out-of-town guests over the holidays in Denver and beyond.

Listen to the segment  HERE.

Church Carolers

 

Be a tourist in your own town

Greeley Freight Train Museum

Greeley Freight Train Museum (Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved)

As tourists we take the time to learn the history and hidden secrets of the places we visit, but how many of us know the story of our own town?

Earlier this year I wrote a post entitled, “Become an advocate for your town,” and today’s post has a similar feel, although I fear I’m going to get preachier. In that piece I gave you five ways to become an advocate because your advocacy will result in a positive economic impact for your town.

Today, I want to inspire you to become a tourist in your own town because it will enrich your life. HeidiTown is about festival, events and travel in Colorado, however, this post is for people who live in Florida, California, or anywhere in between. Every town has a different tale to tell, but many of us don’t know our community’s story.

This post was inspired by two recent incidents. Earlier this fall I attended an event held at the Greeley Freight Station Museum in Greeley, Colorado. Most of those in attendance were from Greeley, but none of the thirty-some people there had ever been to the museum before.

Train enthusiasts come from around the world to visit the Greeley Freight Station Museum because it’s truly one-of-a-kind, but many who live in the region haven’t stepped foot in the building.

Tread of Pioneers Museum Colorado

Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. .Photo taken by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer in February 2011. All rights reserved.

I had a similar experience earlier this month in Steamboat Springs. While there I took a walking tour presented by the Tread of Pioneers Museum in downtown. I’ve been to Steamboat Springs a number of times, but was surprised to realize I knew very little about the history of Ski Town USA. I was even more startled when our tour guide informed us that she’s been giving these historical tours twice a week for about a year and no local has ever been on the walk. In fact, locals seldom visit the museum, unless it’s a group of school children.

It’s time we all became tourists in our own towns. There’s no doubt in my mind that knowing your town’s story and hidden treasures will enrich your life. It may even make you a little prouder about where you live. So this weekend, get out and discover your town; visit a museum, visit your town’s Visitors Center, and find out what hidden gems are right outside your front door.

Pompeii comes alive at Denver Museum of Nature & Science

DMNS Pompeii

A Day in Pompeii at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. (Photo by Chris Schneider)

I am a museum junkie, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is one of my favorites. I love the smell of a museum, the lighting, and the sense that I am learning something new just by being in the building.

Ancient history has never had a big draw for me, so I wasn’t particularly overjoyed to hear that the Pompeii exhibition was coming to Denver. But, of course, I had to see it, and in doing so I have developed a new fascination with ancient history.

“A Day in Pompeii” takes the visitor on a trip through the ancient city of Pompeii, a city of 20,000 that was covered in volcanic ash in AD 79. Ninety percent of the population was able to make it out of the city, but 10 percent were not, and the thick, wet ash from Mount Vesuvius encased them where they stood, sat or lay.

As a writer, I truly appreciate how the story of Pompeii unfolds as you walk through the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s newest exhibit.

DMNS Pompeii

Historical re-enactors at "A Day in Pompeii" at DMNS. (Photo by Chris Schneider)

First, you meet the people of Pompeii and discover how they worked, shopped and played. You get to know them, through high resolution videos that take you through their homes, through the numerous artifacts on display and through the historical re-enactors that stroll through the exhibit, ready to impart the story of their daily life with you.

The beginning of the exhibition is cheerful and there’s a sense that life in Pompeii was pretty good, and although these people lived thousands of years ago, we have much in common.  The Pompeiians loved creature comforts, enjoyed the theater, and would grab food from a street vendor and meet friends at a local bar where they played dice games.

As I walked through the exhibit with my husband, a furniture designer and builder, it occurred to us that the Romans may have discovered interior design. Their frescos and highly ornate furniture could have graced the pages of Roman Fine Living, if such a magazine existed in the early part of the 1st Century. Check out the pair of ornate curtain tie backs on display and you will truly understand our train of thought.

DMNS Pompeii statue

(Photo by Chris Schneider)

“A Day in Pompeii takes a 21st  Century approach to the 1st Century,” says Dr. Steve Nash, exhibit curator.

Ancient Greece has influenced today’s culture in many ways, and it’s interesting to keep this in mind as you walk through “A Day in Pompeii.” From architecture to everyday living, many things in the exhibition feel strangely familiar.

Once you get to know Pompeii and its people, things get somber. You learn how the Roman’s worshipped, how they buried and honored their dead, and then the volcano erupts. Don’t miss the five minute video of the eruption in the room right before the part of the exhibition that houses the body casts from Pompeii. This sets the scene in a sobering fashion.

The body casts are probably the most famous artifacts from this exhibit, and most of us have seen photos of them at some point in our lives. As people huddled in their homes, or tried to outrun this natural disaster at the last moment, they were covered by volcanic ash. Over time, the bodies disintegrated leaving an empty cavity for  archæologists  to find centuries upon centuries later. In 1860,  archæologist  Guiseppe Fiiorelli poured plaster into these cavities, creating the first versions of the casts.

body cast

(Photo by Chris Schneider)

Ironically, seeing these body casts in person made these people even more real to me. The poses are so human; hands to the mouth, an arm covering a lovers head, friends (possibly sisters) in an embrace.

I left “A Day in Pompeii” with a newly sparked interested in ancient Roman history, and I think that’s the best review a museum exhibition could receive.

This exhibit opened at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on September 14 and leaves on January 13, 2012. There are programs and events planned for both adults and children around “A Day in Pompeii” – see the list here.

Go to DMNS.org for ticket information.

 

HeidiTown on the radio – the Colorado museum edition

DMNS Pompeii

Visitors interact with the historical enactors that dress in period clothing and portray characters from Ancient Rome inside A Day in Pompeii at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. (Photo credit: Chris Schneider)

This week’s radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM is full of history and culture. Think you can handle that?

Have you ever wanted to party like a Italian in AD 79? Well, find out when and where you can.

Wondering about the new Fort Collins Museum of Discovery? Find out the schedule for the opening of this state-of-the-art facility.

Are you a bird lover like me? Find out where you can see birds portrayed by 60 different artists.

And more Colorado cultural stuff that will tickle your curiosity and enrich your mind.

It’s all in this week’s radio segment, so LISTEN HERE.

Yves St. Laurent & the Brown Palace ““ a weekend of luxury in Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum sign on lamp post

This is the only United States venue for this exhibit that is on display through July 8, 2012. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

My husband and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage in style. We spent a high-end Denver weekend with a trip to the Yves St. Laurent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum and a stay at the Brown Palace Hotel.

Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum

I sport a rather laidback Colorado style, so folks may be surprised that as a little girl I filled binders with clothing designs; everything from medieval princess dresses to ready-to-wear business suits.

By the time I entered my teenage years, grunge had become popular and living in the Pacific Northwest, I was at the epicenter of the flannel and ripped jeans trend. I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks and didn’t look back.

I never lost my love of haute couture, however, and you can often catch me watching shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway,” albeit wearing a comfy pair of flannel pants and a t-shirt.

When I heard the Yves St. Laurent exhibit was coming to the Denver Art Museum, I had to see it. Thankfully, my husband is an artist and will always happily tag along to any art-oriented event that I want to attend.

We visited the exhibit on a Saturday and it was packed with well-dressed women. We counted exactly four men in the crowded lobby. That being said, while my husband’s response to my ooohs and awwws throughout the exhibit was always “that’s cute,” he actually found St. Laurent’s story inspirational from an art perspective.

On busy days you may have a wait because they stagger entry times into the exhibit. Our wait was less than ten minutes, and I was happy to see that the museum staff was handing out portable tour guides. I’ve only seen these useful devices at large English museums. They look like one of those huge, old cell phones from the eighties. Each is equipped with a key pad and when you punch in the numbers corresponding with the various exhibits a nice voice tells you all about it – no reading required. It makes for a very quiet trip through the exhibit, despite the crowds.

Yves Saint Laurent- The Retrospective curated by Florence Muller,Pierre Berge

Installation view of Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum.

St. Yves Laurent was an influential clothing designer who lived from 1936 to 2008. He came to prominence in the French fashion world in the early 1960s, and started making waves right away. He was the first designer to introduce leather on the runway, shocking, not nearly as scandalous as his biggest contribution to the fashion world, the ladies pantsuit.

There was even a saying at the time: “If it’s pants, it’s Yves.”

Yves Saint Laurent_ Tuxedo with pants

Yves Saint Laurent, Tuxedo with pants, haute couture collection, Fall-Winter 1966. Black barathea and satin silk, white organdy blouse. © Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, Paris / Photo A. Guirkinger.

Walking through the exhibit one experiences St. Laurent’s evolution as a designer, although he never moved away from putting women in designs that had been previously cut for men, like square shoulders. It’s also a walk through pop culture history.

St. Laurent is credited with being the first French clothing designer to develop an entire ready-to-wear line. He was quoted as saying, “Down with the Ritz, up with the streets!” referring to his clothing line for the everyday woman.

If you enjoy art, fashion and history, you should see Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum. This is the only United States venue for this exhibit that is on display through July 8, 2012. During the last 10 days of the exhibit, the museum will have extended hours. To learn more and purchase tickets go to DenverArtMuseum.org.

Brown Palace Hotel & Spa

Bright and sparkly new hotels are fine, but historic hotels have always been my favorite. They are steeped in history, and none more than the Brown Palace in Denver, Colorado. Nearly every President has stayed at the hotel since Roosevelt, and stories from this place could fill a book, and probably do.

tea at the Brown Palace

Afternoon tea at the Brown Palace in Denver, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

A stay at the Brown Palace isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for and more. You are treated like an honored guest from the moment they hand you champagne at the front desk. Everyone is genuinely nice without being pretentious – this is, after all, Colorado.

We’ve stayed at the Brown Palace a number of times, including on our wedding night, so it has a special place in our hearts. We always have a drink at Ship’s Tavern and sometimes indulge in breakfast at Ellington’s.

The rooms are comfortable with historic touches combined with modern conveniences like flat screen televisions. I would encourage you to check out the “specials and packages“ section on their website. I always book one of these options.

Currently, you can reserve the Designer Package which gets you two VIP passes to the Yves St. Laurent exhibit, plus a delicious chocolate surprise in your room. Visit the hotel online at BrownPalace.com.

 

 

HeidiTown.com on the radio – What’s happening in Colorado, April 27-29, 2012 & beyond

It’s that time again, time for another installment of HeidiTown.com on KRFC 88.9 FM, a community radio station in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Each week I share stuff to do around Colorado with the listeners of KRFC and then I upload the transcript and the audio to the blog.  So if you missed it, or you need web information, you can easily find it here.

You can read the transcript below or  listen to the audio HERE.

***

Frank Ooms History Colorado 2

History Colorado Museum (Photo by Frank Ooms, used with permission)

Hi, my name is Heidi and I’m the Mayor of HeidiTown.com, a blog about events, festivals and travel around Colorado.

I’m calling this weekend, April 27 through the 29th, the calm before the storm, because it is rather quiet around the state, but I think that is because, like me, everyone is gearing up summer.

This year, Cinco de Mayo is on a Saturday and in my mind that kicks off the 2012 festival season.

There are a couple events happening this weekend that have caught my attention.

The new History Colorado Museum is opening on Saturday in Denver. I had the opportunity to get a media-only sneak peek of the facility this past Monday, and  a post about the museum be up on the blog, Thursday, April 26. You can visit the museum online at HistoryColorado.org.

As I have previously mentioned, the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown is this weekend at the Embassy Suites in the Denver Tech Center. If you are a fan of pinball and classic arcade games, you don’t want to miss this event. More info can be found at PinBallShowDown.com.

Pinball enthusiasts should check out Pinball Jones right here in Fort Collins in the basement suite at 107 Linden Street. Their website is PinBallJones.com.

In Lyons, Colorado check out Lyons Classic Pinball behind Oskar Blues in downtown. This is a HeidiTown favorite place so find it on the blog by searching Lyons Classic Pinball. Visit them online at LyonsPinball.com.

If you are in the Springs area, check out the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs featuring all sorts of vintage games including pinball. For more on historic Manitou, go to ManitouSprings.org.

This weekend on the Western Slope it’s the Fruita Fat Tire Festival. The event was started 17 years ago as a way to show off all the biking trails they were building in Fruita. This year, there will be four music shows running Friday and Saturday. The beer will flow, a scavenger hunt will occur and costumes are encouraged. I have friends who attend this event every year, and they say it’s always a very good time. Learn more at FruitaMountainBike.com, and be sure to pack your bike!

Tulip Fairy Parade Downtown Boulder

We called the Tulip Fairy out today to make sure she's ready for the annual Tulip Fairy & Elf Parade that happens on April 28 at 3 p.m. She's ready to go. See you there! (TulipFairyParade.com).

Here’s a sweet little event that is happening Saturday afternoon in Boulder. At 3 p.m. it’s the annual Tulip Fairy & Elf Parade. There are 15,000 tulips planted along Pearl Street and this event, welcoming spring, takes place in this colorful outdoor mall. Special events and activities for children are planned as well as a parade. Go to DowntownBoulder.com for details.

And now for some planning ahead…

As I previously mentioned, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year, that’s the 5th of May for those of you who aren’t familiar with the holiday. There are several events happening in Fort Collins including an Artisan Show above the Rio Grande restaurant in the Agave Room.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features a vast array of high-end art with everything from sculpture to jewelry. Over 55 artisans will be there, so I urge art lovers not to miss this show! You can follow the link on HeidiTown.com’s front page to the Cinco De Mayo Artisan Show’s Facebook event invite.

The 74th Annual Music & Blossom Festival in Canon City runs May 3 through the 6th. This delightful family-friendly fest has developed over the years into a true destination event. There is a parade, a carnival, a marching band competition, a pageant, and the list goes on and on. Visit CCBlossomFestival.com for the entire schedule.

rubber duckThe 24th Annual Estes Park Duck Races are also slated for May 5. Thousands of little rubber ducks are dropped into Fall River where they began their journey to Riverside Plaza in downtown Estes Park. The tradition was started in 1989 to help local charities. It has grown into a community celebration. Adopt a duck and support a local charity! Learn more at EPDuckrace.org.

If you missed any part of today’s segment, I post the transcript and audio of the show every week on HeidiTown.com.

As always, I encourage you to join the town’s block party on Facebook. It’s the place where we can get better acquainted. Go to Facebook.com/HeidiTown.comonFB.

You can also follow me on Twitter @HeidiTown or circle the town on Google Plus.

Thank you so much for listening! Until next week, I will see you online!

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