Nestled in the heart of traditional Ute territory, the museum was originally built in 1956 near the ranch of Uncompahgre leader Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta. The museum and grounds are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds include Chief Ouray memorial park, the grave where Chipeta was buried after her death on reservation lands in Utah in 1924, and a native plants garden. The complex is linked to the city-wide trail system and includes shady picnic areas, walking paths, and a memorial to Spanish conquistadors who traveled through the area in 1776. The museum features new community spaces for events and programs, as well as an expanded gift shop offering children’s gifts, books, and authentic Native American turquoise and silver jewelry, beadwork, and Ute pottery.
History Colorado continues to work with representatives of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Tribe and Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah on every aspect of developing the building’s design and exhibit content. he museum is a place of learning, connection and community, and a legacy for the tribal youth and the Montrose community. The exhibits at the Ute Indian Museum won the 2018 National Association for Interpretation's Media Award for Iinterior Eexhibit.