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'We've Already Forgotten': Curator Opens Rocky Flats Exhibit At Library

By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) - An exhibit dedicated to the history of the Rocky Flats Plant is now on display at the Denver Central Library. It manufactured nuclear weapons in Jefferson County.

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(credit: CBS)

"My main concern with Rocky Flats is that the history has been forgotten and people don't actually understand what happened at the site," said Jeff Gipe the curator of "Facing Rocky Flats."

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Gipe put on a similar exhibit for six weeks at the Boulder Library at the beginning of the summer. Now, "Facing Rocky Flats" can be seen in Denver through October on the 5th floor of the library.

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Jeff Gipe (credit: CBS)

"You hear tidbits about Rocky Flats and the conversation is so complex. (The Exhibit) condenses all these very complex ideas and brings them to one space where we can understand what the site is, what happened there and why it's important as we go forward," Gipe said.

Twelve artists have different displays.

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(credit: CBS)

"None of these artists had never shown together," said Gipe. "Their work speaks to me so powerfully. I just wanted to bring it together."

Photographs from inside buildings as clean up began, a representation of the 1969 fire, and portraits make up just part of the exhibit.

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(credit: CBS)

"This is the hot area of Rocky Flats where they actually handled plutonium within glove boxes in these buildings," Gipe said looking at a photograph.

Gipe is the son of a Rocky Flats worker. That's where his motivation for the exhibit originates.

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(credit: CBS)

"It's a never ending battle that's going to need to be fought. In less than a generation, we've already forgotten what that site is, what it means, and now it's being rebranded to a wildlife refuge. There aren't any signs that make anyone aware of what happened out there," Gipe said.

LINK: Facing Rocky Flats At Denver Public Library

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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