The purpose of the Historical Society shall be to bring together those people interested in history and especially the history of the Westminster area. The society's major function will be to discover and collect any material which may help to establish or illustrate the history of the area; to collect museum material such as pictures, photographs, and material objects illustrative of life, conditions, events, and activities of the past and present. The Society will provide for the preservation of such material and for its accessibility as far as may be feasible.
The Westminster Historical Society was organized on November 21, 1961 and in 1972 we began taking local history to the schools. In December 1987 we brought back the Hometown Christmas tradition and on May 15, 1988 with help from a local school and the City of Westminster, the Bowles House was saved from demolition, and opened as the Bowles House Museum.
Over the last 59 years we have dedicated countless volunteer hours to historic preservation, research and interpretation, public art and exhibitions. With five historic homes and buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including the DeSpain School where we operate the Westminster History Center, and the Bowles House, we demonstrate our commitment to preserving and interpreting the area's history. We have worked with the City of Westminster to install street signs showing the historic street names and teach their Westy 101 history class, published several books and walking tours, produce a monthly newsletter and an annual historic topic-based calendar, and contributed content to dozens of other publications. We have placed two statues in several parks in recognition of historic and community figures.
We are committed to creating opportunities to access our objects and the information associated with them. Collaborative projects such as the "Digital Tour of Westminster," "Voices of the West" Oral History Project, and PastPerfect Online, the portal to over 13,000 artifacts available on the web, allowing us to reach out across the region and beyond.
On April 26, 2014 we opened the Westminster History Center (WHC), in collaboration with the Westminster Public Schools. The WHC is devoted to sharing the history of the Westminster Colorado area with students, researchers, and the public. It provides access to historical archives, documents, photos, newspapers, oral histories and other materials. The WHC is a perfect venue to tell the stories of the people, events, and places of the Westminster area in a new way, while simultaneously providing larger meeting and exhibit space, larger and better climate and preservation-controlled storage spaces, and increase public access through digitization of the collection, provide a research room, computers, and a classroom. During 2016 over 1500 visitors came from across the region to see the Westminster area's history at the WHC. The increased space allows us to collect, preserve and interpret the historical records that are being donated daily; with over 1300 new artifacts in 2017!
We have partnered with Westminster Public Library to present the Rocky Mountain PBS series "Colorado Experience" with discussion directed by library staff. We continue to visit local schools, bring students and families to our historic places, and reach out to our community through outreach events. We look forward to continuing to build our capacity to collect, preserve, and interpret our history in 2018 and beyond.
The software we use to do research and to archive our items, putting out a newsletter, archive materials all take donations to do our work. We thank you for your help and partnership!
The WHS is the local authority on all things Westminster. (Adam J.)
The History Center is keeping the magic and history of Westminster alive. It is also a place of education for students and adults alike! (Shirley S.)
Hometown Christmas is a great community program. It is a 'coming together' with neighbors for an evening of fun, food, singing, Santa and all the trimmings! (Bobbie L.)
WHS works with owners to help find the history of their building and how to get them registered to preserve history. (Nancy M.)