New Online Discovery Tool for Plains to Peaks Collective

Nov 12, 2021

Historic black and white photos banner with search box

From the Colorado Virtual Library blog

The Plains to Peaks Collective (PPC) recently launched a new search and discovery interface ( providing a single point of access to Colorado and Wyoming’s digitized historic collections. Visitors to the site are able to freely explore photographs, manuscripts, books, audio recordings, artifacts, videos and so much more found at a variety of cultural heritage institutions in both states. Currently the PPC includes 719,577 items shared by 66 partners. Best of all, the collection of material shared is continuously growing so there are often new resources to discover.

With this new site there are numerous ways to explore partner collections. Visitors to the site can do a simple search of the collections. They can also explore highlights, search by format, and more.

Highlighted Topics

Explore highlights from collections across Colorado and Wyoming including:

  • Mining: Explore how the rush to the Rockies for mining led to national and international technological advancements, drove the economy, and created numerous cities and towns, some of which survived and while others live on only as ghost towns.
  • Railroads: Examine how huge feats of railroad engineering facilitated western expansion and settlement, and shaped the appearance and character of the Rocky Mountain West.
  • Boosterism and Tourism: Learn how boosterism played an important role in the initial exploration of these two states, paving the way for tourism to become one of the region’s largest industries with several National Parks, a world-class ski industry and outdoor recreation destination that includes camping, mountaineering, endurance sports, and so much more.
  • LGBTQ+: Discover documents, photographs, oral histories, and artifacts that document the compelling and complex story of Colorado and Wyoming’s LGBTQ+ community.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities: Learn from the lives and experiences of Black people, people of color, multiracial people, Native American or Indigenous peoples, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and immigrant or refugee populations who help shape our two states.
  • Social Protest Movements: Explore how organized activism in Colorado and Wyoming impacted local and national movements such as women’s suffrage, Black power, Chicanx/Latinx, voting rights, civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights, the Me Too movement, and Black Lives Matter.
  • Agriculture and Homesteading: Examine how homesteading and agricultural activities such as dry farming, livestock production, cowboys and stockmen, irrigation, and water laws played an important part in the economic success of Colorado and Wyoming.

Search by Format

Looking for a particular type of collection? Visitors can research the collection by format.

  • Maps: Discover neighborhood, city, state, territory and topographic maps from 1846 to present day representing Colorado, Wyoming and the West.
  • Oral Histories: Learn about Colorado and Wyoming by listening to the personal experiences of our residents.
  • Images: Explore thousands of images including photographs and postcards depicting people, places and events.
  • Physical Objects: Discover a diverse set of objects including household and personal artifacts, clothing and textiles, agricultural and industrial materials, and archaeological collections that bring our history to life.

Helpful Tools for Research

The new site provides another avenue of access to PPC partner collections while at the same time removing barriers to access that can exist for users unfamiliar with the digital collection landscape in our two states. The site allows everyone including scholars, lifelong learners, students, teachers and genealogists free and open access to primary sources, family history resources, scholarly material and cultural heritage materials.

Researchers are able to discover and then virtually visit items at the home institution. Users can organize their research into lists that can be saved and shared with others. They can also easily access machine-generated citation information for their requested items as well as easy to understand information about any copyright held over the items.

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at

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