The Museums of Western Colorado has the duty to preserve more than 100,000 items related to Mesa County’s cultural and scientific heritage, including historic documents, photographs, objects, works of art, paleontological specimens, and archaeological artifacts.

The Museum is currently prioritizing creation of an online collections search portal. Digitization is an on-going process but content is being added frequently.

Museums of Western Colorado Online Collections Portal

Tips on searching the Museums of Western Colorado’s collections

If you are interested in donating something to the Museum’s collection, please send us information through our donation inquiry form.

All aspects of collections, from acquisition, to care, to public use, to deaccessioning are governed by the museum’s board-approved collections management policy.

Collections Access and Use Form

Access to the Museum’s collections and reference libraries is granted on a case by case basis at the discretion of the Collections Manager. Requests must be submitted at least 4 weeks in advance, and must be for specific materials. Requests will be approved or denied after careful review of the following criteria:

  • Support of the Museum’s mission;
  • Availability of staff and Museum spaces;
  • Security concerns for the preservation and well-being of the collection and storage areas;
  • Availability and accessibility of the requested objects;
  • Number of objects requested;
  • Physical condition of the objects requested.

General research requests (such as “the history of water on the Western Slope”) cannot be accommodated. Researchers should narrow their topic based on published books, primary sources, and other materials that are available online or by visiting public or academic libraries to enable them to request specific materials.

Fees may be charged for staff time retrieving objects, and for supervising researchers.

Please complete the form below to begin your request.

This option is appropriate for an initial inquiry into museum collections to help identify what objects you may wish to request access to see. We do recommend that you visit our online collections database to begin your search before contacting us. Most inquiries for which the museum holds materials can be accommodated with this request.

We offer a complimentary materials consultation, for a maximum of 15 minutes of research time. This complimentary research will include a basic compilation of MWC materials and/or suggestions for sources for further research. Additional research time will be billed at $50/hour, with a minimum of one hour.

If you request additional time, your credit card will be billed for the one-hour minimum ($50) immediately to secure your place in queue, and we will place your card on file (securely stored by Stripe). After your research has been completed, we will issue a second charge for any remaining balance. The initial one-hour minimum payment is non-refundable.

Please describe your research needs and what you'd like to have us suggest. Please be as specific as possible.

Once you've identified the object IDs that you wish to examine, you may request access to them. The base fee for collection access is $50, which covers staff time locating and pulling materials, making them available, and returning them to secure storage. The time you have available to examine collections items is billed in one-hour increments at $75/hour, with a one-hour minimum.

For example, if you need one hour or less, your charge would be $125. If you require four hours, your charge would be $350. At the time of completing this form, you will be charged the minimum fee of $125 regardless of the time you request, and after your visit a second charge will collect any remaining balance based on actual time used. The initial charge collected today is non-refundable.

Please specify the Object IDs you wish to examine.
See our online collections database to begin your search, or you may use the I need help identifying collections item above if you're unable to locate your object IDs.

Add another...

Examination of collections is for the following purpose (check all that apply):
How many hours would you like to book?

Please select three possible time windows for your visit:
If we're able to schedule you in one of these times we'll confirm with you shortly via e-mail, or we will suggest some alternate time slots. We are generally available with two weeks notice between 9 AM and 4 PM. Please choose times early enough to account for the number of hours requested.

Time Slot Option 1:
Time Slot Option 2:
Time Slot Option 3:

Please specify the Object IDs for the photos you wish to use.
See our online collections database to begin your search, or you may use the I need help identifying collections item above if you're unable to locate your needed imagery.

Add another...

Please indicate intended usage:

Please explain your image requirements regarding size/resolution and DPI:

Terms and Conditions
  • The Museums of Western Colorado reserves the right to refuse any request.
  • All fees help support Museum activities including recouping costs for staff time associated with requests, storage and preservation of collections, and digitization.
  • Scanning, photography, and image reproduction requests are approved and performed by the collections staff only. Materials in poor condition might not be approved for scanning. In some cases, researchers may also arrange for their own photography of collections with permission from collections staff.
  • Low-resolution digital images may be purchased for educational and research use, but may not be reproduced.  High-resolution digital files may be purchased for reproduction and publication purposes.
  • Please note, if no digital image exists of the requested museum object, new images may be created by the photography studio at an additional fee, and may take additional time to process.  Rush service is available for an additional fee.
  • All access to materials available in digital format must be accompanied by a statement of reason or need.
  • The Museums of Western Colorado (MWC) do not warrant that use of the Materials will not infringe the rights of third parties not owned by or affiliated with MWC. It is your obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing Materials from the Archives Collections.
  • All copies of the Materials must bear accurate identifying information, including, as applicable, author and source, proprietary collection information, credit lines, copyright and trademark notices, and the citations should include the URL
  • Image use licenses cover specific images for a one-time use only.
  • Please note that the number of items you are able to study may be limited due to space considerations and for security purposes.
  • You may be asked to provide a letter of introduction from an academic institution if your research includes the study of very fragile, valuable, or culturally sensitive items, or if your research involves a large volume of material.

Complete Your Request
E-Mail Address:

Total Due Today: $0
Due at Visit (Maximum): $0

We will store your card on file securely using Stripe.