ProRodeo Hall of Fame Receives $95,500 Grant

ProRodeo Hall of Fame Receives $95,500 Grant

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Park Service (NPS) on Sept. 20 announced $12.6 million in Save America’s Treasures grants to assist funding 41 preservation and conservation projects in 23 states.

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado Springs, Colo., was a National Save America’s Treasures Program Grant Recipient for $95,500 for its project on the Conservation of Museum Panoramic and Oversized Photographs. The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy was the only Colorado institution to receive a grant this year.

“This is very exciting news for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and for the preservation of the history of our sport,” said Kent Sturman, director of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy. “These images are priceless, and we can now preserve them for generations to come. They are an important part of our history and date back to 1919. None of these photographs have been out on display because they are too fragile and some are damaged. We can now remedy that situation. This is a matching funds grant so we have our work cut out for ourselves to raise additional funds for this project. We will count on our rodeo family and fans to help us achieve this goal.”

The NPS, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), awarded these matching grants to support the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections through the Save America’s Treasures program.

“Save America’s Treasures helps preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections that convey our nation’s rich heritage to future generations of Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “This $12.6 million in funding will leverage more than $22 million in private and public investment for preservation and conservation projects without spending taxpayers’ money.”

“Through these competitive matching grants, the National Park Service and our federal, state, tribal, local government, and nonprofit partners are helping communities preserve some of our nation’s most important historic places and collections,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “By doing so we are saving these sites and stories for future generations.”

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy sought funding for the Panoramic Rodeo Photographs Project, which includes the cleaning, restoration and digitization of its panoramic and over-sized photograph collection.

The collection includes 120 photographic prints, one of the most comprehensive collections in the country. These photographs date between 1919 and 1957, the golden years of rodeo. The current condition of the photographs excludes their use as either research or display material. If left in their current condition, many of the photographs will continue to degrade and become lost to history. Once the photographs have been conserved, they will be housed in archival safe-storage boxes and be available for limited display in the museum. Their digital files will be added to the museum’s online database for access by the general public.

The project is scheduled to begin in the fall with the transportation of the photographs to a conservation center with expertise in photograph treatment. Upon arrival at the conservation center, each photograph will receive a comprehensive written evaluation and treatment plan. Once written condition assessments are created and treatment plans approved, the center will schedule the collection for treatment. The process will include humidifying, flattening, surface cleaning, mending, stabilizing, retouching and digitization of each photograph. They will then rehouse the photographs in archival safe boxes for shipment back to the museum. Once the photographs return to the museum, they will either be placed in archival storage or an appropriate display frame. The project will conclude in 2021.

The intended results of this project are the successful stabilization, digitization and preservation of the entire collection for public viewing and historical research. The digital files will be used in various media projects throughout the museum, including online displays and touch-screen signs. As the country’s only institution dedicated to the sport of professional rodeo, this project will further the museum’s mission to educate the public about rodeo’s history and how the image of the cowboy shaped the ideals of Western American culture.

The Federal Save America’s Treasures program was established in 1998 and is carried out in partnership with IMLS, NEA and NEH with the objective of preserving nationally significant historic properties and museum collections for future generations of Americans to experience, learn from and enjoy.

From 1999 to 2017, more than 1,300 projects received $328 million to provide preservation and conservation work on nationally significant collections, artifacts, structures and sites. Requiring a dollar-for-dollar private match, these grants leveraged more than $377 million in private investment and contributed more than 16,000 jobs to local and state economies.

In 2018, Congress appropriated funding for Save America’s Treasures from the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), which uses revenue from federal oil leases to provide assistance for a broad range of preservation assistance without using tax dollars.

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