Museums of Western Colorado hosted its fifth annual Heritage Awards at Colorado Mesa University in March, recognizing various individuals, organizations, and companies that have positively impacted the Museums and/or the local preservation and sharing of history.

The following details the 2017 award recipients:

Historian Award to Steven Baker, founder and president of Centuries Research in Montrose, for two recently-published works that significantly contribute to the Western Slope historiography: My Name is Pacomio and Juan Rivera’s Colorado, 1765.

Heritage Enterprise Award to Whitewater Building Materials, involved with the Museums since an early community effort to build a museum at the Mesa County Fairgrounds in the 1950s. Whitewater Building and its owner, the Gardner family, have been consistent friends of the Museums, donating more than $200,000 and Edward Gardner serving on the Museums’ Board of Directors since 2005.

Museum Service Awards to Mike Calabro, the leading tour guide at Museum of the West, Cross Orchards and Dinosaur Journey, with consistent Museums’ involvement since 2000; Kay Fredette, a 31-year volunteer with the Museums’ paleontological programming through Dinosaur Journey (and its predecessor institutions) who now serves as volunteer Laboratory Supervisor and participates in the summer paleontological excavations at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry; and Dorothy Stewart and Ann Buelow, long-time volunteers with Dinosaur Journey, recognized for their contributions in starting the 15-year-old casting program.

Preservation Awards to McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area (Bureau of Land Management) and HistoriCorps for their partnership in stabilizing/preserving the remains of Skinner Cabin in Fruita; and Dr. Hugo and Gayle Madden, having made significant contributions through Palisade Historical Society, the Museums and other efforts to save and preserve international historic photographs and other archival documents.

Archeology Award to Curtis Martin, one of Colorado’s leading archaeologists, for his instrumental leadership of the Colorado Wickiup Project, a decade-plus long exploration of the remnants of Ute wickiups (huts) and other wooden structures throughout Colorado.

George Callison Paleontological Award to Dr. John Foster, director at the Museum of Moab and former Museums’ Curator of Paleontology and adjunct faculty member at Colorado  Mesa University, who has published nearly 50 scholarly works and popular books on paleontology.

Partners in Heritage Award to the Mesa County Commissioners, close partner with and significant founder of the Museums since 1974, when voters voted to support a county museum.

Additionally, David Bailey was recognized as a 25-year employee of the Museums. Bailey was hired in January 1992 as Curator of History, and since has held several key positions including collections manager and manager of Museum of the West. Bailey’s efforts have been recognized via several national awards, including the coveted Award of Merit through American Association for State and Local History.

For more information about the honorees or the annual Heritage Awards, contact Museums’ Executive Director Peter Booth at 970-260-0971 x204.


Discover Together at the Museums of Western Colorado! The Museums of Western Colorado is a nonprofit organization operating Dinosaur Journey, Museum of the West and Cross Orchards historic site, striving to inspire the community to preserve its heritage and tell its story through strong stewardship and relevant programming.

Group photo of all the winners
left to right: John Justman, Rose Pugliese, Mike Calabro, Curtis Martin, Steven Baker, Gayle Madden, Kay Fredette, Dr. John Foster, Dorothy Stewart, Collin Ewing, Natalie Clark, Joe Evens, Jonas Landes, Alissa Leavitt-Reynolds, David Bailey, Jonathan Williams (partially obscured behind David Bailey), Edward Gardner and Mark Gardner
— in Grand Junction, Colorado.