Stetson hats, bolo ties, boots and the music of Grass It Up filled the grand lobby of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum for an Anniversary Hoedown on November 15th as the community celebrated 20 years of service of Museum Director, Matt Mayberry.
About 150 guests, including museum members, volunteers, community leaders and elected officials, braved the cold to celebrate the westward journey Mr. Mayberry made years ago with aspirations of becoming a pioneer of regional history. Longtime colleagues and friends, including Councilwoman Jan Martin, Museum Curator Leah Witherow, and Kim King from Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services joined in the celebration.
One highlight of the evening was a serenade by The Colorado Springs Conservatory's Linda Weise and students, one of which included Mayberry's oldest daughter. They toasted Mr. Mayberry's dedication and passion for the history of our community through storytelling, music and a poignant sing-along to America The Beautiful.
Another highlight was when State Senator Bernie Herpin presented Matt with a special recognition from the Colorado State Senate for his "commitment to preserving the history and culture of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region in the belief that history is relevant to all times and inspires and strengthens each succeeding generation."
Representing the City of Colorado Springs was councilwoman, Jan Martin. She said, "Matt is now our community historian. Our community is so lucky to have him! Matt told me once that artifacts aren't considered museum quality until they are at least 50 years old. I hope he's still here for the 50 year mark!"
Matt started with the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum as the Public Programs Coordinator in 1994 and has served as the institution's Director for the past 12 years. In 2001, Mayberry became the Cultural Services Manager for the City of Colorado Springs overseeing the museum, the living history programs at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, interpretive programs at Garden of the Gods Park, and two nature centers located in North Cheyenne Canon.
"I've got the best job in the world. It is a privilege and honor to serve the community, along with a fantastic staff, board and volunteers, to preserve the unique and compelling history of the Pikes Peak Region," said Mayberry.
Under Mr. Mayberry's leadership, recent growth at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum has far surpassed museum industry trends that show declining donations and visitation nationwide - not at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Mayberry has led the Museum toward impressive growth including the development of a new nonprofit board of directors, overhaul of 75% of the Museum's exhibits in the past four years, an extensive exterior renovation project on the 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, and growth in both private fundraising income and visitation. This fall he was presented with the Downtown Star Award by the Downtown Partnership for his valued contributions to the downtown community and was also the community's featured historian in the 2014 C-SPAN Tour or Colorado Springs.
View the photo album here.