Pikes Peak Regional History Symposium Project

Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District
Colorado Springs, CO

For the past decade, the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) has hosted a day-long symposium for the public. Every year a different historical topic is chosen for The Pikes Peak Regional History Symposium and proposals are solicited nationwide. With this project, PPLD has sought to create multifaceted public programming that would reach a larger audience than an annual history symposium alone.

The presenters at each history symposium range from credentialed scholars with national reputations to avocational historians with passionate local history interests. Chosen symposia topics seek to encourage new scholarship and have, at times, controversial perspectives. Symposium topics have encompassed a wide variety of regional history topics ranging from the first PPLD symposium in 2004 about the Cripple Creek Labor War to last year’s Massacres of the Mountain West, including presentations on the controversial Sand Creek Massacre as well as the massacre of regional wildlife.

To achieve their goal of reaching a wide audience, the symposium is broadcast on local cable channels as well as online in real time. As a product of the Symposia, PPLD has produced Regional History Series books. These books contain chapters from selected symposium presentations, focusing on new research and the use of primary sources.  The editorial staff of the Regional History Series books critically evaluated symposium papers and worked with the book contributors to ensure accurate facts and sound scholarship.

During the past decade, the Pikes Peak Regional History Symposium Project has reached thousands of individuals and has engaged a strong community interest in local history through its events, broadcasts, streaming, and publishing. By presenting topics that provoke discussion and debate, this project has helped encourage the PPLD community to learn more about their region’s history and shared heritage.