Parade of Museums to hit 4 area locations

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If you go

What: Yampa Valley Parade of Museums, with stops at Tread of Pioneers Museum (in Steamboat Springs), Hayden Heritage Museum (in Hayden), Museum of Northwest Colorado (in Craig) and The Wyman Living History Museum (in Craig)

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; a bus leaves the Wyman museum in Craig at 8 a.m., with the first tour stop at Tread of Pioneers at 9 a.m.

Where: Craig residents should meet the tour bus at the Wyman museum; the bus will stop in Hayden and Steamboat Springs to pick up other tour participants

Cost: $10 includes transportation, brunch, lunch and dessert; tickets are available at Tread of Pioneers Museum and Museum of Northwest Colorado

Call: 824-6346

— About two weeks before Thanksgiving, the Wyman Living History Museum's office manager, Nicki Boulger, had a thought: If a parade of homes is fun, wouldn't the same be true of a parade of museums?

"A lot of people don't realize the culture and heritage that is in this area," Boulger said, explaining the appeal of the Yampa Valley's four history museums. "We have some really nice museums in this area that, living here, you might not go and see them."

Boulger, along with representatives from Tread of Pioneers Museum, Hayden Heritage Museum and the Museum of Northwest Colorado, hopes to expose some of that culture and heritage with the inaugural Yampa Valley Parade of Museums. The four-stop tour starts at the Wyman museum in Craig at 8 a.m. Saturday, travels to Steamboat Springs, through Hayden and back to Craig. Steamboat participants are asked to meet at Tread of Pioneers at 9 a.m. Saturday.

"Each of the museums is different," Boulger said. Tread of Pioneers is set up as a Victorian-era house, and the Hayden Heritage Museum is in a train depot. The Museum of Northwest Colorado focuses on cowboy and gunslinger artifacts, and the Wyman museum takes guests through live exhibits.

"We're not the same, and we're hoping to get that out to the public," Boulger said. Tour participants will ride a bus from one museum to the next while listening to Wyman museum founder Lou Wyman give a running history of Northwest Colorado.

Each museum will offer a tour with one of its employees. Candice Lombardo, executive director of Tread of Pioneers Museum, said she plans to highlight the museum's new railroad exhibit for her portion of the daylong event.

"A lot of our history here within this museum is a lot of focus on town development and pioneer times, but also our ski history," she said, adding that all of the museums will be decorated for the holidays.

The tour's $10 ticket price includes a ride on the bus and food at three of the four stops. The Hayden Heritage Museum will provide a light brunch; the Museum of Northwest Colorado features a lunch of chicken noodle soup and submissions from a gingerbread house contest; and the Wyman museum will offer sleigh rides, a visit with Santa and dessert.

By Thursday afternoon, the Parade of Museums tour bus reservations were close to full, but Boulger said anyone who doesn't fit on the bus is welcome to follow the tour in a car. Tickets are required to take advantage of each museum's exhibit and food offerings and are available at Tread of Pioneers and the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

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