Mineral Palace model

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8 “Must-See” Objects at Our Museums

In celebration of International Museum Day, we’ve compiled a list of the items you don’t want to miss at our museums across the state.

This is just a sampling of the millions of objects we’ve collected over the past 139 years. From clothing to furniture to arts and crafts, we’ve got plenty of things to inspire wonder! Each has a powerful story, a treasured memory, a connection to a vibrant Colorado community.

Along with all the objects you can read descriptions and anecdotes from the people who make these places interesting and exciting to visit!

1. Colorado Mineral Palace model at History Colorado Center

“In the center of Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 objects is a metallic building model.  It’s a scale replica of Pueblo’s Colorado Mineral Palace from 1893, by Charles Otero Jewelry Company of Pueblo. The model is made of precious metals and gemstones and was displayed at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. The replica opens up and shows details such as an organ, gold ceiling and the placement of columns. The Colorado Mineral Palace was on 18th and Main Streets in Pueblo, measured 244 by 134 feet, and opened to the public on July 4, 1891 to great fanfare. The Silver Crash of 1893 made upkeep of the original building difficult, and after a devastating flood in 1921 and the Depression, the palace was in such disrepair that the building was scrapped for war material during World War II.” - Shaun Boyd, Curator of Archives, History Colorado Center
 

2. Spurs at El Pueblo History Museum  

"What I love about these spurs is that they're small artifacts that point to a broader historical story. I look at these two spurs and try to imagine what life must have been like for a vaquero in southern Colorado. It gets my imagination going!" - Simon Tearpak, Assistant Director, El Pueblo History Museum.​

 

3. Chipeta’s blue wool dress at Ute Indian Museum 

"A woman came in and shared this story with us: When she was a young girl of six years old going to Oak Grove, a country school here in Montrose, she saw Chipeta wearing this dress. Chipeta and other Utes were coming from Dragon, Utah by train to the Montrose train station. They were on their way down to the Southern Ute Reservation and came out to their lands, which Chipeta lived on and are now the Ute Indian Museum. The Montrose schools were let out for everyone to see and greet Chipeta and the other Utes as they got off the train. This is when she saw Chipeta wearing the blue wool dress. She said, ‘Mind you, I was very young, but I remember Chipeta as an old frumpy woman!’" - C.J. Brafford, Director, Ute Indian Museum

4. Needlepoint of Colorado State Seal at Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin

“This is very fine handiwork. Needlepoint was created with no pattern unless someone made it themselves. This is in the parlor, one of the centers of socialization. Behind it, the fireplace shows faux painting done with feathers to look like marble. Faux painting was as trendy in 1880 as it became in 1980.” - Bud Elliott, Director, Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin

 

5. Beaver top hat at Fort Vasquez

“This is an original beaver top hat made in Zanesville, Ohio in 1838. Beaver hats like this one drove the early western fur trade until the bison robe trade supplanted it during the mid-1830s.” - Bill Armstrong, Director, Fort Vasquez
 

6. Margaret Gray Evans’ writing desk at Center for Colorado Women's History at the Byers-Evans House Museum

“It's a beautiful piece of furniture tucked into the corner of a room filled with books, artwork and other items Margaret brought to her son's house when she moved into the home, when her husband, former territorial governor John Evans, passed away in 1897. It can be easily missed in such an intriguing room, with so many well-preserved details. Margaret kept journals — some of her writings are at History Colorado's Hart Library and some are at the Denver Public Library, others are lost to time and travel. She often wrote about the challenges of raising young children. There's a large portrait of her next to the desk and it's easy to imagine her having a seat at the desk, in Evanston, Ilinois and then in Denver, and recording her thoughts and memories.” - Jillian Allison, Director, Center for Colorado Women's History at the Byers-Evans House Museum

 

7. Original A.R. Mitchell painting at Trinidad History Museum

"Hanging in the director's office is an original painting by A.R. Mitchell, the museum's first curator and a legacy son of Trinidad. Mitchell was as colorful a character as his paintings. He organized the purchase and opening of the Trinidad History Museum with four buildings covering a full city block. Mitchell was a cowboy who couldn't quit sketching, and he made his living as a painter. Being a forerunner in the Western Pulp art movement Mitchell made a name for himself, for Trinidad, and for the museum." - Kirby Stokes, Director, Trinidad History Museum

 

8. Civil War cannon at Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center

“It's one of the original nine cannons used in the battle of Glorieta Pass, which was the farthest west the Civil War was fought. The battle happened just a few miles south of Fort Garland and was one of the only confrontations our regiments were involved in.” - Kelley Ivers, Education Coordinator, Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center

 

What do you think? What are the must-see objects at our museums? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by tagging @HistoryColorado and using hashtags #MuseumDay and #IMD2018.