Almost anyone who spent part of a summer childhood at camp remembers it with sweet nostalgia—canoeing, shooting arrows, making crafts, and singing around a campfire. Such visions have filled our curatorial heads since November 2014, when Alán Huerta and Minnette Burges approached the museum to gauge our interest in acquiring the contents of their Cimarroncita Ranch Camp for Girls. The couple needed to clear out an archive documenting camp life from 1930–1995—not to mention a lifetime of memories.
“Anytime you acquire a large collection that’s tied to family history, there are opportunities to have many conversations,” said Meredith Davidson, curator of 19th– and 20th-century Southwest collections. “In this instance, the history of the summer camp extends to the 1930s, so there are several generations interpreting the camp’s daily activities and the people who went there.”