April 2, 2006

Colorado Historical Society receives $130,000 Preserve America grant to jumpstart Southeast Colorado Heritage Tourism Program

DENVER — The Colorado Historical Society was recently awarded $130,000 from Preserve America, a White House initiative, to help develop the Southeast Colorado Heritage Tourism Program. The Colorado Historical Society will work in collaboration with the Arkansas Valley Area Marketing Coalition, the Colorado Tourism Office, and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).
The grant will create a marketing program for heritage tourism in a six-county region of rural southeastern Colorado (Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers). Through a public-private partnership, the program’s goal is to increase both visitation and revenues to historic sites and to the local tourism-supported businesses. The program will promote the region’s historic and cultural assets, such as Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site and the Santa Fe Trail. It is also meant to serve as an economic development model to other rural areas.
The primary objectives of the Southeast Colorado Heritage Tourism Program include a survey and inventory of historic sites; designation of official Preserve America Communities; tools that help communities plan for directional signage, interpretation and tours; promotion to tour operators and individual travelers and an advertising campaign that highlights the area’s sites of interest to the heritage traveler. The program will meet the criteria of the statewide Heritage Tourism Plan developed by the Colorado Tourism Office and the Colorado Historical Society. The total budget for the project is potentially $260,000, pending approval for matching grants from DOLA and private foundations.
“We are extremely pleased that the White House has recognized the importance of the historic treasures that are in Southeast Colorado and their potential to attract heritage tourists,” said Georgianna Contiguglia, Colorado Historical Society president. “We look forward to working with the Arkansas Valley Area Marketing Coalition, the Colorado Tourism Office and others as the marketing plan transforms from ideas into reality.”


The Colorado Historical Society is a statewide organization with 12 museums and historic sites across the state. Founded in 1879 as the designated steward of Colorado history, the Colorado Historical Society aspires to engage people in our State’s heritage through collecting, preserving, and discovering the past in order to educate and provide perspectives for the future. This educational institution is headquartered in the Colorado History Museum and also contains the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, as well as the Stephen H. Hart Research Library, and administers the State Historical Fund, a preservation-based grants program funded by limited-stakes gaming tax revenues. For more information call (303) 866-3682 or visit