Durango Rolls Out the Rails for CWAM
Pull on in to Durango on April 14 and you’re in for a trip. Amid the splendor of the San Juan Mountains, the historic Strater Hotel welcomes you to a conference that promises to bring out the tourist in you—and bring the tourists into your museum.
Founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, Durango was a planned community destined to become the hub of Southwest Colorado. The smelter was Durango’s industrial heart and largest employer. Nearby coal mines provided jobs and fuel. Fertile fields of the Animas Valley fed the mining camps. From the business district along the Animas River to the church and residential boulevard two blocks above Main Avenue, evidence of history beckons today.
Plan to enjoy one of three workshops hosted in the beautiful facility of the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College. Tour the hotel with “Henry Strater” himself. Then hold on to your hat during a shootout on the streets of old Durango, where the marshal really shot the sheriff in 1906. Hop onto a trolley with your camera like a real tourist for a ride up to the Campus in the Sky and A Taste of the Southwest. Enjoy a progressive feast beginning at the Center of Southwest Studies, where you will celebrate the anniversary of Fort Lewis. Then you’ll be whisked off the mesa for favorite Durango fare and brew in the 1904 Animas City School, home to the Animas Museum and La Plata County Historical Society. Your last stop is the brand new Durango Discovery Museum in the town’s restored Powerhouse, circa 1893, for desserts extraordinaire and a preview visit that’s sure to blow your mind.
After a relaxing night with the ghosts of the Strater Hotel, early birds can enjoy the complimentary breakfast and take in some fresh air on guided tours of Main Avenue and Third Avenue Historic Districts.
Friday keynote and plenary sessions at the Strater promise many thought provoking topics. The CWAM Business Luncheon will be held in the Henry Strater Theatre, known affectionately as The Hank.
On Friday, the event you’ve been waiting for takes you two blocks from the Strater to the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, where you’ll enjoy the local favorite barbeque and suds and tours of the Railroad Museum, yard, and restoration facility guided by train expert and museum director, Jeff Ellingson.
Between stimulating Saturday sessions, you’ll be turned loose for lunch at your choice of many fine establishments in the historic downtown. Saturday night’s events will remind you why you love CWAM. There will be no shortage of pink flamingo opportunities in The Henry Strater Theatre, where the Silent Auction which will raise funds for conference scholarships. Then a scrumptious banquet will precede entertainment extraordinaire. Local museum volunteers who moonlight as the Sinister Shadows Murder Mysteries troupe are producing a CWAM melodrama, and you will provide the vaudeville to follow, also known as the Little or No Talent Show. Start working on your act.
Still hankering for more? Choose from a myriad of post-conference tours to make this a memorable trip to the southwest corner of the CWAM world.
Keynote Speaker Explores the Role of Tourism
CWAM is pleased to welcome Judy Walden as the Keynote Speaker for the 2011 Annual Meeting. Walden is President of the Walden Mills Group where she works to help local communities across the United States strengthen the economic impacts of heritage tourism. She works with museums, historic sites and historic downtowns to keep abreast of ever-changing travel trends. Currently she is working with culinary tourism in Washington State (a food paradise), with bird watching in the Kansas wetlands (internationally important for migrating birds), and in developing film shorts to be shown in theaters in Southeast Colorado. Her signature workshop is entitled “How to Make Money in Tourism.”
Walden served as Director of Marketing for the Colorado Travel and Tourism Authority from 1998-2000, coordinating sales and production of Colorado’s Official State Travel Guide and www.colorado.com. For eight years she owned an inbound tour company which brought Asian travelers to the American Southwest, then worked with ministries of tourism in Asia and the South Pacific in ecotourism development. Her interest in Asia continues. In November she spoke at the China National Tourism Conference in Shanghai on Competing for the International Tourism Dollar.
During her keynote, Walden will share her passion for tourism and will help us to explore the unique relationships between museums and tourism and what it means for museums to stop visitors in their tracks.