Global Village Museum: small beginnings, big goals

The Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures appears simple and quaint, but it is brimming with unique talents and stories.

The museum’s mission is to celebrate connections between Northern Colorado and the world through exhibits of folk art, fine art and artifacts from around the globe.

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The Global Village Museum first opened March of 2010, then relocated in 2011 to a larger location on Mountain Avenue in Old Town. Rooted in community, it began with a collective goal and vision: to establish a place to learn about different cultures and arts from around the world. It aims to “promote understanding and foster peace,” according to the museum’s website.

A visitor’s cultural experience begins as they walk in the door and see posters from past and current exhibits that highlight different places around the world.

LaVon Blaesi, Museum Director.
Lavon Blaesi, Museum Director (Photo credit: Haleigh McGill)

“We have four galleries now,” Museum Director Lavon Blaesi said. “By moving to this larger space, we can showcase different areas.”

The museum is also working to adopt and integrate new technology, like placing codes within exhibits that can be scanned by a smartphone to hear the stories behind the related artifacts.

“We do have QR codes,” Blaesi said. “We’re trying to go more digital.”

One of the museum’s highlighted exhibits, “Village Arts,” is made of items and artifacts from people who have served in the Peace Corps, a special tie with Fort Collins since the organization originated at Colorado State.

“We have a wall dedicated to the Peace Corps treasures and memories,” Blaesi said.

The museum’s other exhibits currently include “Small Faces,” which features masks from around the world, a hand-crafted miniature folk art collection of international dwellings called “Mundoville” and “Alaksa: Enduring Traditions,” an exhibit that captures Alaska’s cultural history.

“Some people are crazy talented,” Blaesi said, in reference to the “Mundoville” gallery.

The board of directors at the museum are all working on a volunteer basis. Ski Herrod has been a volunteer at the Global Village Museum for two weeks.

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“I like it here, but I’ve got a lot to learn,” Herrod said. “I’m the museum’s best customer. I buy something every time I come in here.”

Donations from the community and the museum’s patrons play important roles in helping the museum to grow and thrive. Diane Byas visited Fort Collins from New Zealand with her husband and stopped by the Global Village Museum during her stay.

“It’s fascinating,” Byas said. “It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.”

The Global Village Museum is located at 200 W. Mountain Ave., and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the First Friday Gallery Walk.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, $1 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children younger than 4. The museum also offers free story time for children and families with snacks and crafts on the first Saturday of every month.

As for the future of the Global Village Museum, Blaesi hopes that it will continue to expand.

“We’re looking for a permanent home, whether that means to stay in this building and expand or to become part of some other collection or museum here in town,” Blaesi said.

Collegian Staff Reporter Haleigh McGill can be reached at news@collegian.com.