Curating Collections
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Bone awl from Dominguez Pueblo. 78.28.5MT2148.175.2The purpose of AHC collections is research, exhibition, and educational interpretation.  Collections include archaeological and ethnographic materials, historic and archival documentation, and historic archaeology collections.  The Bureau of Land Management- Anasazi Heritage Center was originally built in the 1980s to curate materials from the Dolores Archaeological Project. AHC collections have grown since that time, but still consist primarily of artifacts and archives related to the Ancestral Puebloan populations of Southwest Colorado.

The AHC accepts properly packaged and documented cultural materials from public lands in Southwest Colorado. Cultural materials must be collected under the stipulations of a current State of Colorado permit, or a Federal cultural resource use permit, accompanied by a curation agreement with the AHC .

Information for researchers seeking access to the collections can be found on our collection access webpage.

Curation intern examining an artifactThe AHC curatorial facility preserves both artifacts and records in perpetuity for the American people through the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and National Park Service, as well as for tribal and state lands in southwest Colorado. BLM collects and manages museum collections in support of management, interpretation, and stewardship of cultural and natural resources, and in compliance with Federal laws, regulations, and policies.  

Some significant collections (listed by agency):

Department of Agriculture

Bureau of Reclamation

National Park Service


 The AHC also maintains a large archival collection. Many  are archaeological project records. Among the most significant is the Wetherill Family Archive . This collection contains historic materials documenting the Wetherills' explorations, family history, and their relationships with archaeologists and other contemporary explorers of the Southwest.

Wetherill Brothers, c. 1893. From left: Al, Win, Richard, Clayon, and JohnThe Wetherill Family Archive was established in 1997 by mutual agreement among representatives of the Wetherill and Mason families who have and continue to safeguard their personal collections. The AHC hosted an archive workshop funded by the Colorado Endowment for the humanities in order to provide information to assist family members in selecting an appropriate repository.

The AHC was selected and the first collection was accessioned in 2000. Since then, over fourteen collections from family members and other individuals holding relevant documents and photographs have been transferred to the AHC. These donations have preserved and ensured access to over 150 years of manuscripts, images, and other archival material pertaining to the history of the Wetherill family and the American West.  



Please contact Curator Bridget Ambler for more information on AHC Collections policies and procedures.