Tread of Pioneers Museum revisits the past


From mining to skiing to ranching, Routt County has a rich heritage.

To get the full Routt County experience, visitors should be sure to take a rest from the area's outdoors activities and visit the Tread of Pioneers Museum, where much of that history is easy to access and fun to experience.

"Summertime is one of the most exciting times at the museum, because there are lots of fun events and our rotating exhibits turn over," said Museum Director Candice Lombardo. "We'd like to invite everyone to come down and see what's new."

The downtown museum itself is an artifact, as it is a 1908 Victorian home with turn-of-the-century furnishings. It is one of the last original Victorian houses from the era of early pioneers settling the west, and is called the "Zimmerman House" after a prominent local family.

Exhibits spaced throughout the museum's 10 rooms include:

"Foundations of Steamboat" series -- a permanent exhibit that annually highlights a different family that has contributed to the culture and heritage of the Yampa Valley. This year features the Gays, a prominent ranching family in Pleasant Valley.

"Meanwhile, Back on the Ranch" is a history of ranching in the valley, put together with the help of local ranchers. This exhibit is scheduled to open on June 17. It will include a map of all the area's original ranches, brands used by area families, an example of a traditional ranch kitchen and a book of histories and stories.

*The museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 5 p.m. It is at the corner of Eighth and Oak streets, so is easy accessible from downtown. * Admission for the museum is free for Routt County residents. For visitors, the cost is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $1 for children. * For more information on summer events, exhibits and programs, call the museum at 879-2214.

The Western room is a permanent exhibit that focuses on the Wild West and includes an extensive gun collection and an outlaw audio exhibit.

Other permanent exhibits include a skiing exhibit and a history of Steamboat exhibit.

Visitors and residents who are in Steamboat for the Fourth of July should be sure not to miss the annual Pioneer Day Block Party, when the museum closes down a street and opens to the public for free.

The day will feature music by Alpine Brass, which comes from the museum and Strings in the Mountains, exhibits by the fire department and non-profits displaying their work. n


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