Museum Collections of Rocky Mountain National Park
As part of the NPS Museum Management Program, the collections at Rocky Mountain National Park provide researchers access to materials that relate directly to the park while preserving the artifacts and specimens for future use. This function is mandated and motivated by the enabling legislation of the NPS: "...which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects..."
The collections are stored in several repositories such as the YMCA of the Rockies, Denver Botanical Gardens, and on site in the park; and currently consist of 33,465 cultural objects, 294 works of art, 10,495 biological specimens, and 455 geological specimens. These objects document human use of the land and the natural history including the alpine tundra ecosystem. About 710 of these items are on exhibit throughout park at visitor centers and the Holzwarth Historic Site. The archival collections consist of central files, images, and donated manuscripts stored on site and at the National Archives Record Administration, NARA.
The curator prepares the objects for display, gives access to the collections for researchers, and oversees the collections stored in the storage facility and collections on loan to other repositories. Many supportive duties are performed by student interns and VIPs (Volunteers in Parks), including: archival and artifact inventories, cataloging, and rehousing, pest and climate monitoring, housekeeping, and library functions.