Opening the door to history

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Tread of Pioneers Museum

Location: Corner of Eighth and Oak streets Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday Call: 879-2214 for extended hours Cost: Free for all Routt County residents. Prices for out-of-town guests are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors ages 62 and older and $1 for children younger than 12.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum is a cultural amenity that people can enjoy year-round, Executive Director Candice Lombardo said.

The main gallery features a History of Skiing exhibit. Visitors can trace ski technology evolution with a timeline of historic skis.

A Stetson hat that belongs to Billy Kidd and the coat John Steele wore for the 1933 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid are displayed. Nearby sits the Lighted Man suit worn during Steamboat's annual Winter Carnival and the story of Steamboat ski jump founder Carl Howelsen. There is a wooden chair from the combination T-bar and chair lift that took skiers to the top of Emerald Mountain.

On the second floor of the Queen Anne-style home, visitors can hear the story of Harry Tracy, a notorious outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy's Hole in the Wall Gang. Tracy escaped from Hahn's Peak Jail and was captured by Routt County Sheriff Charles Neiman. Visitors can learn about Tracy by using the push button audio exhibit.

Handcuffs and memorabilia from the outlaw's capture are on display with historic guns, a chuckwagon and an old mailbag in the room celebrating the area's Old West heritage.

The museum also holds late-1800s greeting cards, the bearskin coat worn by country doctor F.E. Willett and a traveling salesman's box of candy.

It is a mixture of exhibits and relics that The Denver Post dubbed "the best small town museum in Colorado."

The museum's latest exhibit is, "Back in Business: How Steamboat Used to Shop." The exhibit explores the commercial world of Lincoln Avenue throughout its history by displaying artifacts from historic main street businesses.

The Foundations of Steamboat exhibit recognizes local families who have contributed to the development of the valley. This year, the exhibit features the Fetchers and their efforts to promote and conserve the natural resources of the area, as well as their contributions to ranching, ski jumping at Howelsen Hill and the beginnings of Steamboat Ski Area.

Also, starting Nov. 11 and running until Nov. 20, the museum will host its 12th annual Festival of Trees. During the Festival, local businesses, students and nonprofits decorate trees for public display at the museum. Then, on Nov. 21, the trees are delivered to their sponsors. During the festival, the museum will be open every day with its regular hours.

There also is an exhibit displaying wildflower watercolors by Lulie Crawford. Crawford is the daughter of James Crawford, the founding father of Steamboat.

A scavenger hunt offers children the chance to use a treasure map to search for artifacts throughout the museum. Children can win prizes when they are finished.

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