What to Expect in the Annex - CSPM
Visitors explore the "C is for Current" story in the "Story of Us" exhibit at the CSPM Annex.

What to Expect in the Annex

Leah Davis Witherow, Curator of History

If you’ve not yet visited the CSPM Annex, we think you’ll be pleased with a host of new exhibit experiences to explore. While moving into a temporary “home” for the next eight months proved challenging, the exhibits team enjoyed this rare opportunity to work with a “blank canvas” completely unlike our own historic building. With bright open rooms, a new layer of crisp white paint on drywall (yes, drywall!) versus 120-year-old plaster walls, and with no elaborate architectural details to distract the eye — the exhibits really shine. Our thanks to Kelly Murphy, CSPM Exhibits Designer who did an extraordinary job filling the Annex galleries with an interesting variety of materials and as always, produced striking and powerful results.

As you enter the Annex you’ll see an exquisitely beaded Ute cradleboard by Daniel Santio, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation. The CSPM commissioned this cradleboard for our forthcoming permanent exhibit, Until Forever Comes: This is Ute Homeland, opening in 2024 after construction is complete. Traditionally made by women, cradleboards nestle infants safely and comfortably into a portable carrier worn on the backs of their mothers or caregivers. Crafted from wooden frames covered in hide with a sunshade made of willow, cradleboards become palettes of artistic expression with beading and other ornamentation.

A couple views an exhibit
A couple views a display in the "Story of Us: the Pikes Peak Region A-Z" exhibit at the CSPM Annex

In the center of the CSPM Annex we installed several new Story of Us: the Pikes Peak Region A-Z themes including B=Buffalo Soldiers, E=Esther Geoffrey, S=Ski Broadmoor, and the highly anticipated C=Current. Drawn from oral history interviews with members of the Loo Family and former Current employees, the C=Current exhibit describes how Current grew from home-based business to a household name. The Loo Family built a direct marketing empire and the third largest greeting card company in the country. And, despite employing thousands of workers over several decades, they fostered a family-like atmosphere where workers from the factory floor to the executive suite felt valued and supported.

We also partnered with the Smithsonian Institution and History Colorado to host exciting new traveling exhibits that provide deep connections to our own regional history. Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight chronicles the story of African Americans who, despite facing tremendous racial barriers, attained amazing achievements in aviation history. Co-produced by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian History Museum, this important exhibit highlights Black aviators such as Bessie Coleman and William J. Powell who were both pioneer aviators and pioneers in Civil Rights. A special section dedicated to local heroes highlights Tuskegee Airmen Samuel C. Hunter Jr., Franklin Macon, Clarence Shivers, and several others.

From History Colorado, the Ute Knowledge: Colorado’s Original Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math exhibit shares the story of how Ute Indians have used science, technology, engineering, and math to survive and thrive in the Rocky Mountains. Visitors can explore hands-on activities including building a stick shelter, creating a beadwork pattern, testing woven materials, and matching plants with their uses. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this travelling exhibit complements one of our 2023-2024 school outreach programs available to educators and students throughout the Pikes Peak region.  

A father and daughter explore the Ute STEM exhibit at the CSPM annex
Visitors explore the hands-on "Ute Knowledge: Colorado’s Original Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math" exhibit at the CSPM Annex

Finally, before leaving the CSPM Annex, be sure to visit the new storytelling mural/selfie-wall by local artist, educator, and community advocate Jeresneyka Rose, also known as Rizzo. Her work is inclusive, vibrant, and not-to-be missed. Feel free to strike a pose, take a selfie, and then share it with your friends and family on social media using the hashtag #IamCOS. We look forward to seeing you at the CSPM Annex soon!

Leah Davis Witherow, Curator of History

719.385.5649 | Leah.Witherow@coloradosprings.gov