What is the History Project?
The Colorado National Guard History Project is best defined as the ongoing coordination of separate efforts to protect and publicize the history of the Colorado National Guard. From Ovando Hollister’s book “The History of the First Regiment of Colorado Volunteers” to Alex Kershaw’s “The Liberator”, many authors have contributed to the collective memory of the National Guard. Twice in 155 years, the Colorado National Guard has employed a dedicated full time historian; one currently, and MAJ John Nankivell in the early 1930s.
The name “Colorado National Guard History Project” was chosen because a solid effort towards establishing a CONG history program was formed by retired CONG senior leaders in 1990, including MG William Weller, BG Felix Sparks, COL Paul Baldwin, COL Rex Sjoustrom, and COL Paul Parsons. They settled on the name History Project because they knew it would be an ongoing effort of establishment and refinement. We decided to continue their legacy.
This website is the result of OPERATION LEGACY RESCUE, the one year mission in which our newly acquired CONG Curator was assigned the task of searching all properties in the Colorado National Guard in order to find every artifact in our possession, and catalog it. The concept was called “curatorial triage”; what do we have, and where is it? This operation resulted in locating and identifying approximately 3,000 items and officially adding them to the Colorado National Guard inventory. As you’re about to see, it has also resulted in a starting point for an online exhibit and an important enhancement to our historical memory.
While the current format of this site has limitations due to the archiving software used in its creation, there will be refinements to this page in the coming years. For now the page allows general searches by location, by conflict, and by donor loan. Additionally, a “Featured Exhibits” and “Documents and Photos” option allows the user to search specially arranged items within the entire collection. Within these exhibits, the “Control F” finding function may assist in finding items more quickly.
The “Featured Exhibits” section allows the user to search exhibits assembled by the Colorado National Guard History Office. Currently, the exhibits include the historic small arms weapons in our inventory, a pictorial display of our former 45th Tank Company (which we are researching), items located at the 140th Wing at Buckley, and the Colorado Air National Guard’s items currently displayed at Wings over the Rockies. The intent for this section is for a periodical change of featured exhibits.
Exhibits by Era/Conflict
Items in this section are organized by federal campaigns the items were used in. Most are Colorado National Guard specific, but some items have been donated over the years from other organizations, and they are included. When possible, the history behind the item, as well as the story of its donation to the Colorado National Guard is also included.
Exhibits by Location
Items in this section are organized by which armory, storage facility or museum they are currently stored in. The Colorado National Guard is moving toward a satellite museum concept in which the history of the Colorado National Guard within the proximity of the armory is told within that armory. The items shown in this section can be viewed in their entirety at the location with prior coordination.
Documents and Photos
The documents section includes several of our very important documents, including photos, personal records collections and the John Nankivell book “History of the Military Organizations of Colorado, 1860-1935.” Additionally, the photos located during OPERATION LEGACY RESCUE are briefly described and organized by Army and Air collections. Many photos are in our possession, yet undocumented. As we are able to identify photographs, they will be added to these collections.
Exhibits by Donor/Loan
Items in this section are organized by the individual or organization who transferred the temporary or permanent possession of the items over to the Colorado National Guard. We are eternally grateful to those individuals and organizations for assisting us in telling the Colorado National Guard story, as well as Colorado’s military history.
We hope you enjoy this website. If you have recommendations, questions or concerns, we welcome them. Furthermore, if you have items you would like to donate or loan to the Colorado National Guard, please contact us! We have many opportunities to exhibit the history of the Colorado National Guard, and are always eager to learn more about our history.
Please let us know if you have suggestions for the website and/or featured exhibits you would like to see posted. We will continue to work on and improve this site to better display our history and fascilitate your access to it.
Thank you all for taking the time to explore this site.