Mason: Ensuring the 10th Mountain Division’s legacy is never forgotten (column) | VailDaily.com

Mason: Ensuring the 10th Mountain Division’s legacy is never forgotten (column)

Jennifer Mason
Valley Voices

Editor's note: "Museums Matter" is a series of three articles, compiled by Jennifer Mason, the executive director of the Colorado Snowsports Museum, focusing on the importance of museums today. For additional information on the museum, visit http://www.snowsportsmuseum.org.

Museums remind us that we all are repositories of memories and artifacts and we are only passing through this life. No matter what fortune or challenges the world decides to send our way, life goes on and museums house the evidence to prove it. And, someday, our moment in time may be on display for future generations to judge and hopefully learn from.

Museums help future generations to comprehend their own history while recognizing the achievements of those that came before them. They promote a better understanding of our collective heritage, promoting curiosity and reflection.

This is illustrated by the Colorado Snowsports Museum's 10th Mountain Division exhibit, "Climb to Glory." Not only did the mountain troops of the 10th train at Camp Hale before shipping out to Italy to help bring World War II in Europe to an end, but they also played a significant role in helping to build Colorado's burgeoning ski industry following the war.

Through the 10th Mountain exhibit and related ties to other displays, including Vail's DNA, the interactive Colorado ski resorts table and the National Ski Patrol exhibit, the men of the 10th's influence and contributions are carried throughout the museum. Indeed, if not for the 10th Mountain Division, we might not be here today, living in or visiting one of the world's premier ski resorts.

But with only a relatively small number of 10th Mountain veterans remaining in this country, the tales, history and contributions of the division are in jeopardy of being lost for future generations. That is why organizations such as the Colorado Snowsports Museum are so vital to preserving the heroic exploits of these mountain warriors, ensuring that the legacy of the 10th is never forgotten.

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Museums are entrusted with conserving, protecting and displaying artifacts from our past and preserving our rich heritage. Quite simply, without museums, we run the very real risk of losing these tangible links to our past.

We hope you will agree that museums do indeed matter. They are both necessary and as relevant today as they ever were. We invite you to visit the Colorado Snowsports Museum and come face to face with the history of Colorado's ski and snowboard industry.

And, we encourage you to continue to visit, continue to remain curious and allow yourself to wonder. For only by valuing and preserving the historical remnants of where we have come from, will we know where we are going.

If you want to join us on this journey, please consider becoming a member of the Colorado Snowsports Museum or possibly look into making a tribute gift or attending one or more of our programs. We rely on the generosity of individual and corporate support in order to keep the museum free of charge and accessible to all. Please visit http://www.snowsportsmuseum.org for information on becoming a member of the museum.