Press Release

History Colorado’s Trinidad History Museum Opens "Borderlands of Southern Colorado: The Santa Fe Trail" September 25

As communities observe the 200th anniversary of a timeless trade route, a new exhibition illuminates the influential history that happened right beneath our feet. | #HistoryColorado

EN ESPAÑOL | TRINIDAD, Colo. — Sept. 9, 2021 — A new exhibit opens September 25 at the Trinidad History Museum.

Zach Werkowitch
Director of Community Relations
719-583-0453 |

On view inside a historic Santa Fe Trail-era adobe structure that is almost 150 years old, Borderlands of Southern Colorado: The Santa Fe Trail examines intertwined local histories of trade and migration formed along shifting lines of culture, climate, diplomacy, and politics. Visitors can explore people and policies that frame a living history of southern Colorado spanning centuries and empires all the way to our present-day lives and livelihoods. Hours of operation and more information are available at

Artifacts including beaver-fur gloves, buffalo hide, hand-painted china, and a Ute toy cradleboard help tell this roaming story, which is presented in sections divided by five different rooms. More than 25 maps and archival photos also shed light on the trail. Guests learn the stories of such itinerant individuals as 18-year-old Susan Magoffin, who kept a journal as she traveled along the Santa Fe trade routes on a 15-month journey; Amache Ochinee Prowers, a tri-lingual Southern Cheyenne woman immersed in Victorian-era American culture who also preserved her Native traditions; and Cathay Williams, who served in the Army for more than a year while disguised as a man, becoming the only known female Buffalo Soldier. The exhibit will remain on long-term display as a core offering at Trinidad History Museum.

Borderlands of Southern Colorado: The Santa Fe Trail is the newest part of an ongoing series of events, experiences, and exhibits—also hosted by History Colorado sites in Denver, Fort Garland, and Pueblo—that center Chicano, Indigenous, and Mestizo perspectives. Trinidad’s new exhibit opens 200 years after Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821, lifting a Spanish embargo so that people from U.S. territory could begin to take advantage of trade and migration routes first established by Native peoples thousands of years ago. The routes between present-day Missouri and New Mexico came to be known as the Santa Fe Trail under this new political framework, pulsing with culture, commerce, and conflict until railroads ushered in a new era of trade and transit in the 1880s.

“History Colorado is excited to offer new insights and different contexts for this year’s Santa Fe Trail anniversary commemoration in southern Colorado and throughout the American southwest,” said Al Melton, director of the Trinidad History Museum. “We hope that visitors enjoy learning more about this history at our beautiful museum campus, inside an adobe building where some of it took place.”

Borderlands of Southern Colorado: Remedios, Medicine and Health is also on view inside the same historic adobe structure at the Trinidad History Museum that was originally built as a horse stable and workers’ quarters.


Borderlands of Southern Colorado: The Santa Fe Trail is supported by the Robert Hoag Rawlings Foundation. Additional support is provided by the First National Bank of Trinidad.

About Trinidad History Museum
A Community Museum of History Colorado, Trinidad History Museum occupies a city block in historic Trinidad, Colorado. The museum is made up of the Baca House, the Bloom Mansion, the Barglow Building, the Santa Fe Trail building—a historic adobe horse stable and workers’ housing that now hosts new exhibits in the Borderlands of Southern Colorado initiative—and beautiful community-supported gardens.

El Trinidad History Museum ocupa una cuadra entera en el centro histórico de Trinidad, Colorado. El museo incluye la Casa Baca, la Mansión Bloom, el Edificio Barglow, el Museo del Camino de Santa Fe, el edificio Santa Fe Trail—un histórico establo de adobe para caballos y viviendas para trabajadores ahora es un espacio nuevo para presentar exhibiciones para la iniciativa de Borderlands of Southern Colorado—y jardines bonitos apoyados por la comunidad. El Museo de la Historia de Trinidad es un museo de History Colorado.

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 142-year-old institution that operates Colorado’s oldest museum, nine additional museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is the nation’s largest preservation program of its kind. The SHF currently administers more than 250 grants across Colorado, of which more than 70 percent are allocated to rural areas.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and nine other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.