Manitou Springs, CO – (March 3, 2015) – The Manitou Springs Heritage Center has finalized fundraising for the “History Pockets” project being spearheaded by local author Molly Wingate.

The project was conceived by Wingate and District 14 6th grade social studies teacher Betsy Niebuhr to open children’s eyes to the history surrounding them. Using hands-on artifacts, the History Pockets will engage the intellect and imaginations of area schoolchildren and children of visitors as they envision Manitou Springs as a cultural crossroads and realize it is virtually the last intact, Victorian-era community left on the Front Range. By better understanding and engaging in local stories, children will better understand and engage in the state and national stories of the past.

The “pockets” will be boxes or pouches holding documents and artifacts from which visitors will deduce to whom the items belonged . “Who would have these things in their pocket? When did they live? Where did they come from? How can you tell?” Niehbuhr brought this idea from a National Council for History Education seminar at Monticello and is looking forward to using the pockets as part of her class curriculum.

Wingate also plans to create supporting materials aimed at the adult visitors. “We want to appeal to and attract visitors of all ages,” remarked Wingate. “The pockets will tell the stories of westward expansion, health and fitness cultures, mining, railroading, the arts and other important themes of western history as reflected in the people, buildings, and businesses of Manitou Springs.”

Responding to an application, the Inasmuch Foundation awarded $3100 to the Manitou Springs Heritage Center in support of the project in 2014. “This was about ½ the total funding we needed to develop the 15 initial pockets, the curriculum, and the cabinet that will hold the materials” stated project manager Wingate. “So I started contacting other individuals and organizations requesting support for the project. The Heritage Center received donations from the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Manitou Springs Kiwanis Club, American Legion Post #39, and the Snyder Family Foundation. With the final donation of $1,100 from the Manitou Springs City Council, fundraising was completed. The Heritage Center is so excited and grateful for the initial funding by the Inasmuch Foundation, which was the catalyst we needed to move forward, and the local support, without which the project would not happen.”

The next step will be contacting individuals and organizations who may have artifacts and images that can be replicated to include in the individual pockets. If you have an idea for someone who would be a good candidate to feature in a pocket, or you have an item that could be used in a pocket, please contact the Center. The Manitou Springs Heritage Center is located at 517 Manitou Avenue (across the street from the old Cog Engine and next to the Manitou Art Center) and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Donations are tax deductible. Find out more about the History Pockets Project and the Manitou Springs Heritage Center at www.manitouspringsheritagecenter.org, 719-685-1454 or manitouheritage@gmail.com.