Rio Grande County Museum

Rio Grande County Museum The Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center is located in Del Norte, Colorado, It is where the stories of Rio Grande County's past are told.

Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center presents the historical stories of all of Rio Grande County. The exhibits show life as it was in the early period of history including Native American, Hispanic, Eastern American and European settlers who came to farm and ranch, mine and build towns and establish home and schools. Art shows and concerts provide an added cultural aspect to the museum through the summer and winter season. The Museum also serves as the information center for Rio Grande County in Del Norte. The quiet and relatively uncomplicated lifestyle of the San Luis Valley, Rio Grande County and Del Norte is part of the charm of this part of southern Colorado. Experience the best of "Rio Grande Country" in Del Norte, Colorado. For more information please visit the website of riograndecounty.org. If lodging information is needed rgclodging. com will give the information needed.

07/06/2019
The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild will be showing their artistic creations at the Rio Grande County Museum from July 30 th...
07/02/2019

The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild will be showing their artistic creations at the Rio Grande County Museum from July 30 through August 10. Members of the guild will be here for Covered Wagons Days where they will be selling quilt blocks to help with their charity projects. An excellent opportunity to see what the quilt guild is doing and have some ice cream and see the museum. On Covered Wagon Days there is no admission to the museum, but donations to the museum will be accepted and appreciated. This is one of the fund raisers that the Museum Board does throughout the year.

Nancy Harris will show her work at the Rio Grande County Museum starting August 13, 2019 with a reception on August 17th...
07/02/2019

Nancy Harris will show her work at the Rio Grande County Museum starting August 13, 2019 with a reception on August 17th. The Museum is extremely pleased to be able to show Nancy's amazing work. More information will be available as the show gets closer. The museum can also be contacted by (719)657-2847.

Ski Hi Stampede is now just around the corner!!  We thought that we would share a few memories from bronc riders, Miss S...
06/25/2019

Ski Hi Stampede is now just around the corner!! We thought that we would share a few memories from bronc riders, Miss Stampede with Mickey Clare, a beautiful float from Fassett's Department Store and the favorite Barlow and Sanderson Stage Coach that the beloved "Gramma Pfeiffer" was always a passenger.. The museum has our annual Ski Hi Stampede exhibit in place and features Mickey Clare, Donna Glee McOllough and Lucille Ryan. The saddle that was won by Lory Walker in the saddle bronc in 1949 or 1950 is also part of the exhibit.

The Monte Vista section of the Rio Grande County band was in concert in the Monte Vista Presbyterian Church.  The beauti...
06/19/2019

The Monte Vista section of the Rio Grande County band was in concert in the Monte Vista Presbyterian Church. The beautiful pipes for the organ are still in place in the Church. Tom Drysdale was the director in the white uniform. This was taken most likely in the 1920s. The Del Norte Brass Band photo is earlier, probably in the 1910s. The young man on the right side of the photo second from the end holding the instrument is the only one identified. He was Whittier Jones who was in World I and worked with the defense of the United States in World II in building airplanes. His father was a Civil War Veteran.

Adams Street in Monte Vista ca 1908-1910.
06/15/2019

Adams Street in Monte Vista ca 1908-1910.

The Hathaway Stone Quarry between Monte Vista and Del Norte supplied building stone for many buildings in Monte Vista an...
06/14/2019

The Hathaway Stone Quarry between Monte Vista and Del Norte supplied building stone for many buildings in Monte Vista and Del Norte over the years that it was running. This stone is one large cut being transported by wagon to the rail head for shipment. Unfortunately, the photo does not state where the stone was going and how it would be used.

Every year the museum staff put together a scavenger hunt for the children who visit the museum.  Photos are taken of it...
06/11/2019

Every year the museum staff put together a scavenger hunt for the children who visit the museum. Photos are taken of items within the museum exhibits with clues for the children and their parents to carefully look through the exhibits to find. These are a few of the items on this year's hunt. They are printed in color and this year there are two pages of items to find. The High Valley Community Center kids did this one last Thursday. The hunt was put together by Jayden Powell-Gates, 7 years old, and his mother. The hunt is not limited to children, but many adults have fun with it as well.

06/08/2019
Rio Grande County Public Health

Rio Grande County Public Health

It's a beautiful warm day today (6.8.19) in Rio Grande County, which means the Rio Grande River is running high. Please follow SLV Emergency and Rio Grande County for updates.

Last week we posted a photo of the Monte Vista train depot.  We found this one in a collection of post cards that was lo...
06/04/2019

Last week we posted a photo of the Monte Vista train depot. We found this one in a collection of post cards that was loaned to the museum. This one also definitely says "Monte Vista" on the depot. We thought that the difference in the growth around the depot was interesting.

Musical instruments to a computer to a typewriter and more are part of the Communication exhibit now open in the gallery...
05/30/2019

Musical instruments to a computer to a typewriter and more are part of the Communication exhibit now open in the gallery room of the Rio Grande County Museum. This exhibit features many of the artifacts in the museum that have not been shown for a long time. The exhibit will run until late July. Interesting to see how different forms of communication relate to each other.

This interesting photo came to the museum from the Fassett family of Monte Vista.  Sitting and waiting for the train was...
05/28/2019

This interesting photo came to the museum from the Fassett family of Monte Vista. Sitting and waiting for the train was probably a little less comfortable than today. The sign above the door does say "Monte Vista" which make the photo somewhere around 1886 give or take. There is no information on the photo as to the date.

This interesting photograph of early Los Valdezes or Seven Mile Plaza was from the collection donated to the museum by E...
05/22/2019

This interesting photograph of early Los Valdezes or Seven Mile Plaza was from the collection donated to the museum by Ella Holt. Ella's family were early residents in the Monte Vista area.

With the end of school fast approaching,  it seemed appropriate to show some of the old schools from Del Norte, Monte Vi...
05/14/2019

With the end of school fast approaching, it seemed appropriate to show some of the old schools from Del Norte, Monte Vista and Sargent. The Del Norte School opened in 1877. The Monte Vista Schools was completed and opened in January of 1887, The Sargent School districts was the was the first of the districts to consolidate and this building was dedicated in April of 1918.

05/11/2019

The programs "The Civil War and WWI on the Home Front" scheduled for May 18th have had to be canceled. The Director's tours through the museum and Darwin Thompson's art show "Trappers and Traders" will still continue.

This article was shared with the Museum by the Elliott family.  Emily Brown brought it to us.  Thanks!!
05/11/2019

This article was shared with the Museum by the Elliott family. Emily Brown brought it to us. Thanks!!

San Luis Valley - MuseumTrail.org
05/08/2019

San Luis Valley - MuseumTrail.org

Rio Grande County Museum and Fort Garland Museum are pleased to announce their participation in the nationwide Blue Star Program. The Blue Star program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across the United States. This is the tenth season for this program and Rio Grande County Museum has participated for seven seasons. The following museums in southern Colorado are participating:

Rio Grande County Museum
Fort Garland Museum

Read more at:
https://www.museumtrail.org/news/free-admission-for-veterans

Three pieces of art work from students in the Del Norte Junior High School.  This is from the art show that is continuin...
05/07/2019

Three pieces of art work from students in the Del Norte Junior High School. This is from the art show that is continuing through Saturday. Still time to come and enjoy the work of the Del Norte students.

A good weekend in the San Luis Valley!
05/04/2019

A good weekend in the San Luis Valley!

This weekend you can enjoy a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Alamosa, Dark Skies at Orient Land Trust and Westcliffe, student art shows in Del Norte and Alamosa, a Borderlands history perspective in Ft Garland, Eufórquestra performing at St. Ives’, and Plein Air Artists Exhibit in Walsenburg. And don't forget the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. Enjoy!

Orient Land Trust (dark skies event, 05/04)
Cinco de Mayo Celebration and Block Party (Alamosa)
Visit Custer County (dark skies event, 05/04)
Rio Grande County Museum (student art exhibit)
San Luis Valley Museum (student art exhibit)
Fort Garland Museum (Borderlands presentation)
Missy and Heine Andersen return to Society Hall!
Euforquestra at ALMA Benefit | Alamosa, CO
Plein Air Artists Colorado-PAAC (Walsenburg)
Museum of Friends (MOF) (Plein Air, Walsenburg)
Spanish Peaks Country

All set up and ready.  Del Norte has amazing young artists and two incredible art teachers.
04/30/2019
Del Norte Schools Art Show

All set up and ready. Del Norte has amazing young artists and two incredible art teachers.

The gallery room at the Rio Grande County Museum will be filled with the artistic creations of the Del Norte School Art Departments starting on April 30th and continuing through May 12th . The...

Photograph of the Week: Rio Grande County resident and WWI Nurse Nancy McConnel:
04/19/2019

Photograph of the Week: Rio Grande County resident and WWI Nurse Nancy McConnel:

"This Week in History," from the Del Norte Prospector, dated April 16, 1937:
04/16/2019

"This Week in History," from the Del Norte Prospector, dated April 16, 1937:

Photograph of the Week:
04/12/2019

Photograph of the Week:

Supporting our local businesses in any fashion helps to keep our community alive and vibrant.  It helps with the cultura...
04/11/2019

Supporting our local businesses in any fashion helps to keep our community alive and vibrant. It helps with the cultural part of the community such as museums, High Valley Community Center, the kids sports programs. Shopping at home also gives employment to the residents.

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"This Week in History," from the San Juan Prospector, dated April 6, 1895:
04/09/2019

"This Week in History," from the San Juan Prospector, dated April 6, 1895:

Photograph of the Week:The Sugar Beet Factory in Monte Vista.  This was taken around 1916.
04/05/2019

Photograph of the Week:
The Sugar Beet Factory in Monte Vista. This was taken around 1916.

"This Week in History," from the San Juan Prospector, dated March 29, 1920:
03/27/2019

"This Week in History," from the San Juan Prospector, dated March 29, 1920:

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area
03/23/2019

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

The name La Jara(The Willow) was originally given to the post office located on the Mancil Garrett ranch six miles west of La Jara, while what is now La Jara was then known as the “Tank”. After the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad established a station at the “Tank” the post office moved there from Garrett in 1884. The “Tank” station was not a building but was only a boxcar standing on the side track where the present coal sheds now stand. The railroad was most influential in the settlement, growth and development of La Jara. The following year D. R. Smith built a grocery store on the north-west corner of the present day Family Dollar. This was the first building in La Jara. The second oldest building was the property of A. L. Moss, situated just south of the D. R. Smith Grocer, and was occupied by by William King, a blacksmith. The building was destroyed by a fire in 1915. The first bank was established in 1907 and was located at the present day site of the Community Banks. In 1891 the population in La Jara was 300, the town had two churches, two town companies and two newspapers. There was also a hotel, mercantile, blacksmith and wagon making shop, saddle and harness shop and the only two story building on Main St. was La Jara Drug. Many other businesses thrived in La Jara’s Boom Years.

Earlier this week we posted an article about the start of construction of an apartment building in Del Norte.  Here is a...
03/22/2019

Earlier this week we posted an article about the start of construction of an apartment building in Del Norte. Here is a current photograph of the apartments along with the front page of a contract between Alva B. Hibbs' business Modern Gas and Equipment Company and The Del Norte Investment Company to install furnaces in the apartments in 1948.

Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) Wins $273,361 in Grants
03/20/2019
Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) Wins $273,361 in Grants

Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) Wins $273,361 in Grants

La Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area of Alamosa and a $193,361 grant from the Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF) of Denver for 2019-2021.

"This Week in History," from the Del Norte Prospector dated March 14, 1930:
03/19/2019

"This Week in History," from the Del Norte Prospector dated March 14, 1930:

The Elephant Rocks or Round Rocks as many locals call them, are just 15 miles away from the Rio Grande County Museum.  T...
03/14/2019

The Elephant Rocks or Round Rocks as many locals call them, are just 15 miles away from the Rio Grande County Museum. The area is so peaceful and quiet. It can be enjoyed in any season. The wildlife viewing is great.

View of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from Elephant Rocks Natural Area. For all of you birders out there, here are a few Elephant Rocks birding tidbits from coloradobirdingtrail.com/site/elephant-rocks/: This fascinating area is full of amazing scenery as well as great Pinyon-Juniper and shrubland birds. It is good for Rock Wren, Green-tailed Towhee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Bushtit and Pinyon Jay. Though the Cassin’s Kingbird is rare in the San Luis Valley, it has been spotted here, too. Poorwills call from the rocks at night. Several species of lizard scamper over the boulders, and with luck you might see a snake. You won’t miss the chipmunks and the rock squirrels.

Monte Vista Crane Festival committee president Jenny Dunkin Nehring adds this as a great location for spotting the first Mountain Bluebirds of spring!

Photograph of the Week: This shows Adams Street in Monte Vista, with the Granada Movie Theater on the left in the 1940s....
03/01/2019

Photograph of the Week: This shows Adams Street in Monte Vista, with the Granada Movie Theater on the left in the 1940s. They were showing "For Me and My Gal," starring Judy Garland and George Murphy when the photograph was taken. This dates the postcard and the time period to 1942-1943. The Gordon and Fassett store signs are shown as well.

02/28/2019

We are unable to have a booth at the Crane Festival this year. However, the Rio Grande County Museum will be open on Friday and Saturday, March 8th and 9th during the Festival. If someone wants a trip to Del Norte, there is plenty to do and see into between all the activities in Monte Vista.

"This Week in History" from the Del Norte Prospector, dated Feb. 28, 1941:
02/26/2019

"This Week in History" from the Del Norte Prospector, dated Feb. 28, 1941:

This mug was made with a photo from a family's private collection to make a unique gift.  We are now capable of making "...
02/23/2019

This mug was made with a photo from a family's private collection to make a unique gift. We are now capable of making "specialized" gifts that include, posters, keychains, ornaments, and more. If you have a special photograph you would like to use for something like this please contact us!!

Photograph of the Week:Old St. Joseph's Hospital with Sisters standing along the fence. 1925.
02/21/2019

Photograph of the Week:
Old St. Joseph's Hospital with Sisters standing along the fence. 1925.

Several years ago Alex Colville had taken on the project of documenting in photos these disappearing potato cellars.  Th...
02/14/2019
These Are the 5 Most Endangered Places in Colorado

Several years ago Alex Colville had taken on the project of documenting in photos these disappearing potato cellars. The Rio Grande County Museum is in contact with him to see if the collection can be eventually displayed.

From potato cellars in the San Luis Valley to a Catholic church in La Plata County, these are the most endangered historic places in Colorado.

"This Week in History" from the San Juan Prospector, dated Feb. 11, 1888:
02/12/2019

"This Week in History" from the San Juan Prospector, dated Feb. 11, 1888:

WE ARE SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE OUR PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION (AFTER MUCH HARD WORK) IS OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE!!!!!  WE STILL HA...
02/06/2019
RG Museum

WE ARE SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE OUR PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION (AFTER MUCH HARD WORK) IS OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE!!!!! WE STILL HAVE SOME WORK TO DO AND WILL BE ADDING DESCRIPTIONS AS TIME GOES ON. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN STILL BROWSE AND PURCHASE AND WE WILL ANSWER ANY QUESTION YOU HAVE IF YOU CONTACT US!
CHECK US OUT!!!

https://rgmuseum.smugmug.com

The Rio Grande County Museum has made much of our photograph collection available to the public here. You will find historic pictures of the county and its citizens here, along with beautiful landscapes. Keep in mind, that these photographs are OLD! Many show their age with tears, stains, and folds....

Address

580 Oak St
Del Norte, CO
81132

General information

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Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(719) 657-2847

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