Museum of Northwest Colorado: Nostalgia visits again through class rings

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Nostalgia in myriad forms visits our community every May on Memorial Day weekend. Gravestones honoring cherished family members are lovingly decorated with floral offerings, symbols of affections that remain through the passing years. Veterans, alive and those who have passed, are honored for their costly contributions to our continuing freedom as a nation. In addition, high school graduates look forward to their bright futures even as they cast a fond look back at their school years in Moffat County High School.

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Early class rings representing men graduates from Craig High School and Moffat County High School are hard to find.

One graduation tradition that has lasted more than 150 years is that of the class ring, symbolic of hard-won achievement. Almost a year ago, the Museum of Northwest Colorado put out a call for anyone who would be willing to loan or give their Moffat County High School class ring for an exhibit. Those rings, engraved with the school insignia and adorned with a gemstone often can evoke strong memories of school pride, graduation ceremonies and fleeting summer romances. The museum staff thought a display of rings not only would show the changes in styles throughout the years but also evoke memories of rings saved, rings lost, rings given to girlfriends (and therefore sometimes lost), or rings that otherwise have survived the years with tales untold.

The museum was grateful for the response to the call for rings. The exhibit now is up and begins with the first Craig High School ring of 1900, which belonged to Mary Taylor Downs. A bit of mystery surrounds her ring as it is dated 1900 yet she actually graduated in 1901. Another mystery surrounds the ring that belonged to Dean Myers, recently loaned to the museum by Edith Myers. Dean, a graduate of the 1937 Craig High School class, had a ring with a centurion motif. The staff at the museum has not been able to find out why that particular motif was used on Myers’ ring.

While the exhibit has a full complement of women’s rings, the men’s rings still are missing a few representative years, especially the years before 1960. If you have a men’s class ring — possibly from a relative who graduated before the 1960s — and would be willing to loan it for the exhibit, call the museum staff at 970-824-6360 and let us know. The museum will be open Memorial Day with several new exhibits, including one featuring Craig’s general practitioner of 40 years, Dr. Elmer Monahan.

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