BOULDER, Colo., (CBS4) – The City of Boulder and Museum of Boulder are in the early planning phases for both short-term and long-term memorials to honor the victims of the March 22 shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers.
Nearly a month after the shooting, the fence outside the grocery store remains a makeshift memorial where community members and loved ones can remember the ten people who were killed. The eventual “Boulder Strong Memorial” would preserve some of those artifacts and the stories behind them.
“It’s just so moving and so touching to read the poems and see the painted rocks and the stories that people have put,” said Beverly Silva, community outreach liaison for the Museum of Boulder at Tebo Center. “It’s definitely been helpful for the community to have a place to go to.”
Silva tells CBS4 that museum staff members are currently taking photographs of individual tributes along the fence every day to document the memorial. They’ve also begun collecting a small number of artifacts.
“Primarily the ones that have fallen off the fence or really in danger of getting damaged by the elements of mother nature,” Silva said.
When the time is right, the museum will collect many more, including poems, personal tributes, and unique items people have left, such as receipts and grocery lists from March 22. Staff will also work to document the stories behind each item.
“As much as it’s a sad history to remember, it’s now truly part of our history and it’s important for the future healing,” Silva said.
According to Silva, city officials and museum leaders are meeting weekly to discuss the Boulder Strong project. They are also receiving guidance from two other museums that have created memorials following mass shootings.
So far, no decisions have been made regarding where or when a long-term memorial site or exhibit will be in place, but Lori Preston, executive director for the museum, said they hope to “serve as a conduit to help our community heal.”
Consideration of input from those directly impacted by the tragedy, as well as the broader community, will be a core component of the planning process, city officials said.
“People have offered to volunteer to remove the plastic wrapping and to compost the flowers,” Silva said. “Some artists have offered to collect the flowers and even make pigment for paint.”
On Friday, representatives from the city and museum met at the King Soopers, along with volunteers from the community and Larry Miller Toyota. The group moved pieces of the memorial from the east side of the fence and corner to the west side of the fence to allow better access to the nearby businesses.
According to Silva, there is no timeline for when museum and city representatives will collect more artifacts from the memorial. When that time comes, project leaders hope to have secured a storage area of about 500 to 600 square feet to temporarily store the items before they can be archived.
“The most important part is for us to preserve the artifacts, especially with rain and snow and the elements, even sunshine,” Silva said.
For now, representatives will leave the memorial outside the King Soopers in place so the community and loved ones can continue to visit.
If you would like to provide a story behind an item you left at a memorial, you can fill out a form here.