New Exhibit Explores Women’s Experience
Mining Museum Showcases Colorado Camps
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is excited to announce “Human Imprint: Women at Historic Colorado Mining Sites,” an exploration of nostalgia, historical expectations of American womanhood, and the familiarity of the human experience. This art exhibition is inspired by research on, and visits to historic town sites and mining operations throughout the state of Colorado.
“I am not interested in the gold rush aspect of these sites, but am compelled by the human imprint that remains there – the evidence of ingenuity, curious artifacts, skeletons of architectural structures and evidence of the hand,” states Artist Sarah Gjertson, describing her work. This lineage of the handmade is exciting to me as an artist and maker, exploring the histories of these sites and the people who inhabited them through prints, sculptures, photographs and… objects.”
Her work addresses the mythologizing of the American West, and the almost invisible role of women outside of their recognized contributions as prostitutes. Women were present, and like the common prospectors, were attempting to forge a better life for themselves and their families in rough and remote mining locations. Despite the number of women being present in mining camps, little is known regarding their lives. Gjertson’s hope is that her work will start a dialogue around this relative invisibility of women in the American West.
This exhibit will be on display at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum from September 30 through February 28, 2020.
About The Mining Museum
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, located in the historically significant mining town of Leadville, CO, is a monument to the men and women who pioneered the discovery, development, and processing of our nation’s natural resources. Known as the “Premier Showcase of American Mining,” the nonprofit museum houses 25,000 square feet of interactive and informative exhibits telling the story of mining, its people, and its importance to the American public. For more information, visit www.MiningHallOfFame.org
In other news from the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) will be hosting a FREE community event this Saturday, Oct. 19, The presentation “The Fire of Indignation: Mother Jones,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the museum located at 120 W. 9th Street in Leadville.
About the Event By the NMHFM
The history of mining, like the history of industrialization everywhere, brought exploitation of workers. Fierce competition among the mines during America’s industrial revolution made it one of the most unscrupulous businesses in America as mountaineers, immigrants, and children of newly-freed slaves labored in wretched conditions. Whether it was fighting for child labor laws, building unions, or organizing women of broom and mop brigades to run off the “scabs,” Irish immigrant Mother Jones, vagabond agitator, and self-proclaimed hell-raiser, was everywhere demanding a living wage and safe work conditions for workers. Arrested time and again, she declared she could raise more hell in prison than out in her quest for fair wages and working conditions and became known as The Most Dangerous Woman in America for her ability to organize workers and lead them to strike. While you’ve may have never heard of her, Jones’ “hellraising” led to many of the labor laws we value today.
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones became the 248th inductee into the National Mining Hall of Fame on September 14, 2019, at the 32nd Annual National Mining Hall of Fame Induction Banquet held in Denver, CO. Join us for a showing of Mother Jones, National Mining Hall of Fame’s compelling induction video, and a discussion with Associate Professor of Politic Science James Walsh, the University of Colorado Denver and author of Irish Denver about the importance of her induction and the continued relevance of her legacy today.
James Walsh, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of Colorado Denver, where he has taught for 22 years. He specializes in Labor, Immigration, and Irish Diaspora Studies. Walsh is a co-author of Irish Denver and author of still yet to be published Michael Mooney and the Leadville Irish. For the past year, Walsh has been part of an effort to memorialize those buried in unmarked graves in the “Old Catholic” section of Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery, where an estimated 1500 people are buried, 70% of them Irish. Walsh will provide an update on this effort and its’ anticipated groundbreaking for the memorial.
The presentation will be at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, 120 West 9th Street, Leadville, CO at 6:30 pm. Reserve your free ticket by calling 719-486-1229. Donations are requested and will benefit the miner’s memorial in Evergreen Cemetery.