New name same as the old name |

New name same as the old name

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The former Aspen Historical Society is once again the Aspen Historical Society.

The organization, which changed its name to HeritageAspen three years ago, is now going back to its old moniker.

The society’s board of trustees and staffers, meeting in a retreat last week, agreed unanimously to return to the organization’s original name, which better reflects its mission.

“HeritageAspen” never did resonate well with the public, according to Georgia Hanson, executive director.

“The single most consistent comment I have heard since I took office here is people talking about how unhappy they were with the new name,” said Hanson, who took the helm of the society a little more than a year ago.

She expects the community will embrace the latest name change.

“Every single person I have spoken to has said, ‘Oh, thank God,’ ” she said.

The historical society, founded in 1963, was renamed HeritageAspen in 2001, in part to prevent confusion between the society and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, a regulatory board.

The selection of a more contemporary name was also timed to complement the debut of the newly renovated Wheeler/Stallard House, which reopened in 2001 with an inaugural exhibit, the “Spirit of Aspen.” The society manages the museum and its archives, in addition to other historic sites around Aspen.

In addition, the society hoped to eliminate the “hysterical society” jokes.

“We’ll take the jokes and the affection that goes with them,” Hanson said.

“We understand there is a risk of creating a perception that we don’t know what we’re doing, but we’ll take that risk and look forward to proving otherwise,” she said.

The society is currently in the midst of a membership drive. Hanson said the organization is looking forward to calls from all the people who said they’d join the society if it took back its old name.

“We’ll try hard to answer the phone correctly,” she added. “Habits take awhile to break.”

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is]