Progress on the Way: Construction Updates From the Collections Team - CSPM
The CSPM's historic South Courtroom.

Progress on the Way: Construction Updates From the Collections Team

Leah Davis Witherow, Curator of History

The HVAC construction project underway at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum will enable us to maintain consistent temperature and humidity in our historic building, ensuring our ability to preserve our collections in perpetuity. Importantly, the construction is taking place on all four floors of the building simultaneously which has necessitated the de-installation of nearly every permanent exhibit and the relocation of over 7,000 artifacts to temporary storage for their protection. While most of this work will remain unseen by the public, we have also embarked on ambitious preservation and renovation projects that will result in expanded gallery space and new collections cataloging and object preparation workspace.

When the building reopens, visitors will have access to the former Division III courtroom of the El Paso County Courthouse which has been closed to the public since the CSPM moved into the building in 1979. Additionally, our former southwest storage space, housing hundreds of objects from our textile and household goods collections for the past several decades, will be transformed into a visible processing area where the public can view staff cataloging artifacts and preparing objects for exhibition. Finally, on a more practical note, construction is underway on a first-floor restroom accessible to volunteers, researchers, and staff.

To prepare these three additional spaces for renovation, the CSPM collections team moved another 1,500 artifacts from their current storage areas. Due to severely limited storage space throughout the building during construction, boxes of textiles are temporarily stored on tables in the museum’s historic Division I Courtroom. Temporary storage for household furnishings and a variety of medical and dentistry equipment was set up in the museum’s education room and Henderson Gallery.

The CSPM's historic courtroom with boxes of textiles sitting on tables.
Rows of shelves holding artifacts from the CSPM collections in the Henderson Gallery.
Shelving in the CSPM Education Room holding artifacts from the CSPM collections.

Throughout the project staff made calculated decisions regarding the various preservation needs of objects in the collection, providing the most stable conditions for fragile materials. This is especially important since heat throughout the building is currently provided by industrial gas heaters located along the north side of the museum. We are all anxiously awaiting the startup of our new HVAC system in the weeks to come.  

And so, as renovation work including plaster repair, new lighting, millwork, and mural conservation begins in the former Division III courtroom and southwest storage, the collections staff is just starting to reinstall permanent exhibits in the Story of Us and COS@150 galleries now that HVAC construction is complete in these two spaces. Finally, there are more additions to come – including three brand new exhibits.  For now, we’ll keep you in suspense, but more news on these exciting projects will be coming soon! 

Leah Davis Witherow, Curator of History

Interested in learning more? Visit our website at cspm.org/a-historic-project to keep up to date on this transformative capital project.  

719.385.5649 | Leah.Witherow@coloradosprings.gov