Steamboat Springs Curator Kelly Bastone's favorite piece in the Tread of Pioneers Museum's new exhibit is a Selch Diary container circa 1950.
"It's my favorite mainly because paper products don't survive," Bastone said. "It's pretty exciting because it is such a disposable object that made it this long."
The museum chose the "Back in Business" theme to highlight the development of local commerce.
"The museum typically focuses on personal and domestic life in Routt County," Bastone said. "It was time to focus on historical businesses, because they played a key role in this town's development."
Bastone said there were a few unexpected things she found when putting together the exhibit.
"There were a few surprises beyond the lodging and saddle industry," she said. "A lot of people were surprised there was a cigar and candle factory here."
The focal point of the exhibit has been the old switchboard from the Harbor Hotel.
"A lot of people remember using it and seeing it around," Bastone said. "It connected people to rooms in the hotel and is a curiosity piece circa 1960. And it's nearly 500 pounds. It's heavy."
The two oldest items in the exhibit are the cash register, circa 1910, that was used in the Battle Creek Store on the Snake River, and the adding machine, circa 1915, that was used in the first bank in Oak Creek.
There are many different styles of women's hats on display, as well.
You used to be able to go into a millinery store to get your hat trimmed or select specific ribbon or feathers to decorate it with, Bastone said. "In the 1800s there was enough demand for stores to carry just hats."
Harwigs was a shoe, saddle and leather goods store that opened in 1918 and later became a restaurant.
"The 1950s cowboy (on the front of the building) was painted by a migrant ranch worker and had to be touched up as the building aged," Bastone said. "But that first version was the most splendid."
The restaurant, Harwigs/L'Apogee, kept the cowboy because it became an icon and a part of Steamboat's heritage, like many of the items on display at the museum. These items of Steamboat's business past will be on display through May 2007.