Records of the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair
Scope and Contents
The Records of the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair consists of documents dated 1954-2005. The collection contains information about annual fairs, including programs, winner lists, related planning materials, and newspaper clippings. Also included are some programs and material from several of the Colorado regional fairs, as well as information, programs and others materials from the International Science and Engineering Fair. The collection consists primarily of print materials, but also includes a number of photographs and slides of fairs, participants, and entries. There are three reel-to-reel tapes, two videocassettes, one plaque, one ribbon, and one t-shirt.
- Colorado State Science Fair, Inc. (Organization)
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, the collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
The Colorado Science and Engineering Fair had its beginnings in 1955, when a committee was formed to investigate the possibility of holding an annual state-wide science fair. Frederick W. Brown and Charles L. Bragaw, both at the National Bureau of Standards, Boulder Laboratories, were instrumental in establishing the fair. They approached members of the Colorado-Wyoming Academy of Science and the Colorado Engineering Council about the idea as there were several local fairs in the state, and a state-wide fair seemed a natural move to build on the nationwide interest in science at that time. The first fair was held April 28, 1956, and known both as the Annual Regional Science Fair and the Colorado-Wyoming Science Fair. The fair included approximately 125 entries from junior and senior high school students. Although Wyoming students did not participate in the first fair, they were involved in succeeding fairs through 1969. In 1970 when the fair became an all-Colorado event, its name changed to the Colorado State Science Fair.
The National Bureau of Standards remained involved with the fairs for a number of years, as Bragaw chaired the fair committee from 1956 to 1967, and fairs were held at the Bureau and nearby schools. The Bureau provided support and staffing for the fair until 1968 when budget cuts forced a reduction in support, and when Charles Bragaw retired. The Colorado Medical Society then provided office and management support and moved the fair headquarters to Denver. Fair headquarters returned again to Boulder in 1978, this time through the National Institute for Telecommunication Sciences. From 1972 to 1980 the fairs were held at the Cinderella City Shopping Center, but moved in 1981 to Colorado State University.
In 1977 the Colorado State Science Fair, Inc. was incorporated to organize and operate the Colorado State Science Fairs. A Board of Directors controlled and managed the corporation with representatives of certain sponsoring organizations forming the Board. While the official name of the corporation remains, the current name of the fair, the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair, was adopted in 1993.
From the beginning, the fair depended on and received support from Colorado and Wyoming professional associations and industries, and that type of support remains essential. Early sponsors included the Colorado Engineering Council, the Colorado State Medical Society, the Colorado-Wyoming Academy of Science, and the Wyoming State Medical Society. Awards for student winners have been donated by various businesses and associations over the years.
From the early years of the fair, Colorado student winners at the state level were supported in taking their projects to the national level. Colorado's Samuel Newman, a surgeon and Colorado Medical Society member, was involved with the National Science Fair (later the International Science and Engineering Fair) and in 1957 encouraged the Colorado fair to become affiliated with it. Beginning in 1958, the two top senior high school winners were sent to the national competition.
Elemer Bernath, long-time science teacher in Fort Morgan, Colorado, and science fair supporter has been deeply involved in both the Morgan/Washington Bi-County Science Fair and the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair since their founding, and has attended all state fairs to date. He has been honored in a number of ways over the years, including a 1975 service award from the Colorado-Wyoming Bi-State Fair, and recognition from the International fair in 1975 and 1977. In 1981 he received the University of Colorado Medal for his involvement in sparking science interest in students. He was also recognized in 1995 at the 40th Colorado Science and Engineering Fair for his long-time involvement with the fair and dedication to the students of Colorado.
6 linear feet (4 record cartons)
Language of Materials
The Colorado Science and Engineering Fair had its beginnings in 1955, when a committee was formed to investigate the possibility of holding an annual state-wide science fair. The first fair was held April 28, 1956, and known both as the Annual Regional Science Fair and the Colorado-Wyoming Science Fair. In 1970 the name was changed to the Colorado State Science Fair when Wyoming ended its participation in the fair. In 1993 the name was changed again to the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair. Materials in the collection include programs, entrant and winner lists, planning information and correspondence about annual fairs, and photographs and slides of fairs, participants and projects. Also included is information on some regional fairs, as well as on the International Science and Engineering Fair.
Materials are arranged by material type, with the majority of the the records arranged chronologically by year of the science fair.
The collection consists of 3 series in 4 record cartons:
Series 1: Records, 1954-2005
Subseries 1.1: Annual science fairs, 1956-2005
Subseries 1.2: Science fair board, director and committees, 1987-2001
Subseries 1.3: Miscellaneous, 1954-1961 and undated
Series 2: Visual and audio materials, 1957-2003
Subseries 2.1: Photographic material, 1957-2003
Subseries 2.2: Other material, 1971-2002
Series 3: Artifacts, 1995, 2005 and undated
The Records of the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair was acquired from the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair, Inc. in 2002. Additional materials were received in April 2003 and April 2005 from Elemer Bernath.
Processing of the collection was completed in April 2005. Materials were placed in acid-free folders and metal fasteners removed. Newspaper clippings were inserted between sheets of acid-free paper. Photographs and negatives were separated to Series II and inserted in archival sleeves, envelopes, or folders. The original chronological order was maintained, and some materials were interfiled, as appropriate. Duplicates beyond two were discarded. Forms containing student names and home addresses were destroyed.
Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed, and estimated pagination is preceded by an "e".
- Bernath, Elemer.
- Colorado Science and Engineering Fair.
- Colorado State Science Fair, Inc.
- Colorado State Science Fair.
- Colorado-Wyoming Science Fair.
- International Scieince and Engineering Fair.
- Science -- Exhibitions.
- Science -- Study and teaching (Middle School) -- Colorado.
- Science -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Colorado.
- Slides (photographs).
- Guide to the Records of the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair
- Edited Full Draft
- Prepared by Holley R. Lange
- Copyright 2005
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA