Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center to Become Year-round Attraction
DENVER (Oct. 25, 2018) – Fort Garland’s beloved Museum and Cultural Center will soon undergo a number of improvements designed to make the historic site a center for exploring the rich history of southern Colorado. History Colorado is broadening the scope of the stories told at Fort Garland Museum to include more of the important history of the San Luis Valley, as well as upgrading the existing structures to allow year-round operation.
These improvements will enable the museum to offer a broader range of exhibits and services to a wider audience. As part of an ongoing expansion program, the museum has added full-time education staff, enhanced security for visitors, a new fiber arts studio and hands-on classes for lifelong learners. An upcoming much-needed upgrade will add a climate control system in the Commandant's Quarters so the Fort Garland Museum can remain open during the winter months.
At completion of the renovations, the museum will present its new Borderlands exhibit and lecture series chronicling the history of indigenous slavery in the Southwest. The Borderlands of Southern Colorado exhibit, which started at El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo, is expanding to Fort Garland in summer 2019.
“We are proud to bring Borderlands to Fort Garland because the people and history of the San Luis Valley are essential to the Colorado story,” said History Colorado’s chief community museums officer, Dawn DiPrince. “The Borderlands history resonates deeply with the many generations and cultures who carry on this legacy today in the San Luis Valley and throughout our state.”
The exhibit is being developed in partnership with Estevan Rael-Gálvez, a native son of the San Luis Valley and noted scholar on this topic. Rael-Gálvez is a former state historian of New Mexico and a former vice president of the National Trust for Preservation, in Washington, DC. Over the summer Rael-Gálvez engaged communities around the San Luis Valley in memory workshops to begin developing the new Borderlands exhibit.
The current exhibit and artifacts have been on display for 68 years. Anita McDaniel, director of the Fort Garland Museum and Culture Center said, “It is no longer a practice in the museum industry to leave exhibits on display for so long. We need to protect our artifacts by letting them rest and preserving them for future Coloradans.”
DiPrince sums up, “We are beginning an exciting new investment in our Fort Garland Museum, and this renewal is reliant on community collaboration. We are eager to hear histories passed down within families and preserved within the community memory as we connect the presence of the Fort within the larger context of the San Luis Valley.”
Fort Garland Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from March 1 to October 31, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday, from November 1 to February 28. Admission is $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and $3.50 for children ages six to 17. Active duty military and children five and under are free.
About Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center
Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center is a Community Museum of History Colorado, located in historic Costilla County. Fort Garland was established in 1858 as a United States Army post in the San Luis Valley. It consists of five adobe buildings original to the fort and is an integral part of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. Visit the museum at 29477 Hwy. 159, Fort Garland, Colo. 81133, or call 719-379-3512 for more information.
About History Colorado
History Colorado creates a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through our museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections, and outreach to Colorado communities. Visit HistoryColorado.org or call (303) HISTORY for more information.