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'We can't just ignore it': Boulder shooting memorial items will go on permanent public display

The Museum of Boulder will work to preserve the items left by the community and eventually display the items to the public.

BOULDER, Colo. — The fence outside the King Soopers in Boulder has grown into a memorial that's become home to thousands of items since a shooting at the store in March left 10 dead. 

More than two months after the first flowers were placed outside the grocery store, the memorial wall will now come down.

Starting this week, the Museum of Boulder will preserve as many items as possible to one day display to the public. 

"It just very quickly became a site of communal mourning and grief, but also reflection and healing," said Chelsea Pennington Hahn, the curator of collections at the Museum of Boulder. "It really feels like a privilege to be taking care of the stories like this."

RELATED: Boulder King Soopers where mass shooting took place will be renovated and reopen

It’s Pennington Hahn’s job to make sure the wall is remembered, even after it’s taken down. She's walked down the memorial fence more times than she can count, preserving the items left by the community. Some of the more fragile items have already been preserved by the museum to shield them from the weather. 

"You see the outpouring of their grief, of their wishes for change," Pennington Hahn said. "It’s just such a raw sight of that emotion. Everything that we can, we’ll save."

The items on the wall will be preserved by the museum and eventually displayed to the public. It could take months or even years to come up with a plan for what to do. The City of Boulder is working to create a permanent memorial to the lives lost in the grocery store shooting, but said Tuesday that right now discussions are in the "early stages" so there's information yet about when or where it might be built.

RELATED: Museum of Boulder, city planning permanent memorial for mass shooting victims

Following the removal of items from the fence, King Soopers will reset the location of the fence and add a mesh fabric covering to the portion along Table Mesa Drive with the #Boulder Strong message.

A tribute space will also be created in the west side of the parking lot. The space will house an installation of fresh flowers, donated by King Soopers, to honor the victims. 

Two artists from the Boulder community are designing the installation, which will be in place from June 16 - 19. After this time, community members will be invited to take a flower as a gift for a neighbor or loved one to build connections and to heal

The Museum of Boulder also wants to collect stories from the community about why people left the items they did. They’re hoping that will provide context for people in the future looking through the memorial items that are collected. You can contact them here

"It’s devastating, but it’s still important to preserve it," Pennington Hahn said. "We can’t just ignore it and wish that it never happened and not think about it. It’s still important to tell that story."

For more than two months, the memorial wall has helped the town heal. Now, it will forever be a part of what makes Boulder, Boulder.

Visitors to the tribute, or anyone in the community, who needs mental or emotional support is welcome to visit the Boulder Strong Resource Center. The center is located at the Chase Bank at 603 S. Broadway and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.



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