Tales from the Tread: The mission behind the mission

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The Tread of Pioneers Museum’s mission is to promote an understanding and appreciation of the history of the Steamboat Springs area by collecting, preserving, exhibiting, interpreting and sharing that history and heritage. At the heart of our mission is preservation, but what does it mean to preserve history?

Tales from the Tread

Tales from the Tread columns publish the first and third Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today.

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Museum Curator Katie Adams carefully cleans a painting in the museum’s collection.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum is guided by best practices and collections stewardship standards set by the American Alliance of Museums. These standards dictate careful and responsible management of the collections entrusted in our care. Collections are held in trust for the public and are made accessible for the public’s benefit and future generations.

Collections care, which is sometimes called preventive conservation, involves any actions taken to prevent or delay the deterioration of cultural heritage. The primary goal is to identify and reduce potential hazards to collections through thoughtful control of their surroundings, including temperature, relative humidity and visible and ultraviolet light and limiting exposure to any damaging contaminants or pests. Museum methods guide proper object handling, documentation, display and storage.

To ensure proper collections care, the Tread of Pioneers Museum in 2013 completed a 3,600 square foot, museum-quality collection facility. With the generous support of our community, this project provided space for appropriate care and storage of irreplaceable artifacts and archivesm, including documents, diaries, maps, photographs, films, oral histories and objects such as clothing, firearms, furniture, skis, collectibles and other memorabilia.

Many museum visitors are surprised to learn that, in addition to the hundreds of objects currently on display in our exhibits, our collections facility is full of thousands of items in our storage areas. These treasures are being carefully preserved for future exhibits and in perpetuity for our region and residents.

Collections care extends far beyond the buildings and environment. To stay abreast of current museum trends and practices, museum staff also complete extensive training and coursework in collections management and museum methods, regularly attend regional and national museum conferences and webinars and access online research and resources.

Do you have an item you believe is essential to the history of the Steamboat Springs area and worthy of careful preservation? If so, call our curator, Katie Adams, at 970-879-2214. The museum is always accepting donations and is currently seeking the following items to enhance the collection: Winter Carnival and Moffat Railroad memorabilia, antique bicycles, early snowboard and other significant local history items.

Candice Bannister is executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

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