Fort Garland Museum

Fort Garland Museum Established in 1858 in southern Colorado, Fort Garland, with its garrison of American soldiers, served to protect the earliest settlers in the San Luis Valley. Today 5 of the original 22 buildings still stand and are open to the public as a museum.
(38)

Western expansion fueled the need for frontier forts. The primary purpose of these forts was to keep the peace between settlers and indigenous people. In 1852 the U.S. government saw the need for a military presence in the San Luis Valley and built Fort Massachusetts, the area's first stronghold. It soon became clear that the location of Fort Massachusetts was not strategically practical. It was vulnerable to attack from higher ground and it was too far from the settlers it was intended to protect. Brig. Gen. John Garland issued orders for a new post to be built 6 miles south between Ute and Sangre de Cristo creeks. The fort is built of adobe or mud bricks, the local building material at the time. Exterior walls were plastered with mud, interior walls were plastered with mud and lime. Soldiers and local adobe skilled laborers built the fort under the direction of Charles Autobees. The flat roofs were constructed using large log beams called vigas andwith wood planks on top and then covered with dirt. It was completed in June of 1858, the flag was lowered at Ft. Massachusetts and Capt. Duncan marched his men to the new site where the flag was hoisted to the top of the new flagpole. In 1861, Colorado Volunteers were training at Fort Garland. In March of 1862, they trekked through harsh winter conditions to join the New Mexico Volunteers, and the combined forces met the Confederates at the Battle of Glorieta Pass. The Union soldiers thwarted General Sibley's efforts to bring the Civil War to the far West. After the Civil War, from 1866 to 1867, Christopher "Kit" Carson commanded the New Mexico Volunteers at Fort Garland. Drawing on his knowledge of American Indian languages and culture, he aided Chief Ouray and other Ute leaders in teh negotiations that created a Ute Reservation. African-American cavalry men, the famed "Buffalo Soldiers" distinguished themselves at Fort Garland between 1876 and 1879. Fort Garland was in use for 25 years, a long time for a frontier fort. The coming of the railroad and the removal of American Indians brought Fort Garland's 25 years of service to an end in 1883. Five of the twenty-two original buildings at Fort Garland are still standing. Since the 1990s archaeological research has been carried out at the fort to determine the footprints of the original buildings. The museum today is run by History Colorado. Summer Hours: March-November Monday-Sunday 9am- 5pm Winter Hours: November 1st-March 1st Open Wednesday-Sunday. 10am - 4pm Closed Monday and Tuesday. Closed: January and February. A regional museum of History Colorado.

Ute Indian Museum
02/06/2020

Ute Indian Museum

ON THIS DAY in 1868, Chief Ouray and Chipeta visited the White House in Washington D.C., where they met with president Andrew Johnson.

This was not the first time Ouray and Chipeta visited the United States capital- a few years earlier they had met with Abraham Lincoln- and it would not be the last. In total, they and other delegates from the Ute would meet with three different presidents over a period of almost two decades.

During these meetings, numerous treaties were established between the Ute and the American government, many of which were not honored. But the legacy of Ouray as a leader and peacemaker continues to this day.

“The water is all one system,” said José Martinez, referring not just to his community but to the environment at large. ...
02/04/2020
Water, Democracy, and Sustainability: The Acequias of Southern Colorado | History Colorado

“The water is all one system,” said José Martinez, referring not just to his community but to the environment at large. “Without water, the land is worthless. We have to keep it sustainable, and that will benefit future generations. If they don’t, it will dry up. And that will affect us down here, and everywhere. The water is all one system.”

This new article on the History Colorado blog details the Acequias of the San Luis Valley and features interviews with local acequia parcientes José and Juanita Martinez.

Take a look: https://www.historycolorado.org/Acequias-of-Southern-Colorado

In a time of more frequent droughts and growing concerns about hydration, water rights, and resource conservation, some are starting to turn towards a centuries-old tradition of irrigation that still thrives in southern Colorado: the acequias.

February is Black History Month, a time to recognize and commemorate the too-often neglected accomplishments of African-...
02/01/2020

February is Black History Month, a time to recognize and commemorate the too-often neglected accomplishments of African-Americans throughout history. This month be sure to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of African-Americans in Southern Colorado history- of which this is only one example!

Cathay Williams (1844-1893) was the first African-American woman to serve in the US Armed Forces, and the only one known to have enlisted in secret by dressing as a man. Reports of her serving during the Civil War are unconfirmed, but by 1866 she had definitely enlisted under the name "William Cathay" and was soon posted in Colorado and New Mexico. Her deception was only discovered more than two years later when she was hospitalized due to illness, and after being discharged from the military she moved to Pueblo, Colorado, where she lived several years. Eventually she moved to Trinidad, where she lived the rest of her life in relative anonymity as a seamstress and boarding house owner.

Cathay's story is featured in our Buffalo Soldiers exhibit here at the fort- check it out the next time you visit Fort Garland!

Do you want to know more about our Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area?!  Check out the new article on the Colorado ...
02/01/2020
Soak Up History & Natural Beauty in the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area | Colorado.com

Do you want to know more about our Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area?! Check out the new article on the Colorado Website!

https://www.colorado.com/articles/soak-history-natural-beauty-sangre-de-cristo-national-heritage-area

Now a scenic agritourism destination in the San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area boasts big, wide skies, snow-capped peaks and rippling sand dunes — along with an independent spirit infusing its art, landmarks and food.

At Fort Garland Museum we offer something for everyone!#dollypartonchallenge
01/30/2020

At Fort Garland Museum we offer something for everyone!
#dollypartonchallenge

We know how meaningful it is for our communities to see themselves in our museums, that's why we started working on our ...
01/28/2020
History Colorado

We know how meaningful it is for our communities to see themselves in our museums, that's why we started working on our Borderlands of Southern Colorado initiative.

It all started with the writings of late Chicana feminist scholar Gloria Anzaldúa, who grew up on the Texas-Mexico border. She wrote, "A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition.”

We know how meaningful it is for our communities to see themselves in our museums, that's why we started working on our Borderlands of Southern Colorado initiative.

It all started with the writings of late Chicana feminist scholar Gloria Anzaldúa, who grew up on the Texas-Mexico border. She wrote, "A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition.”

What a wonderful Tuesday...it's snowing here at the Fort today... what is the weather like in your area?
01/21/2020

What a wonderful Tuesday...it's snowing here at the Fort today... what is the weather like in your area?

"Our work around indigenous slavery is just beginning. Next steps include a public forum at our Fort Garland Museum with...
01/21/2020

"Our work around indigenous slavery is just beginning. Next steps include a public forum at our Fort Garland Museum with a tribal consultation this spring. Two workshops in our Borderlands of Southern Colorado initiative in the San Luis Valley are also forthcoming this summer. The sessions are designed for K–12 educators who, in turn, might incorporate new knowledge into their classrooms."

Last night we welcomed author and historian Andrés Reséndez to present on his recent book, "The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America." At the evening lecture, we invited Dianne Archuleta to share about her great-great grandmother's experience being enslaved. Ernest House Jr. shared more from the tribal perspective on the new scholarship.

Our work around indigenous slavery is just beginning. Next steps include a public forum at our Fort Garland Museum with a tribal consultation this spring. Two workshops in our Borderlands of Southern Colorado initiative in the San Luis Valley are also forthcoming this summer. The sessions are designed for K–12 educators who, in turn, might incorporate new knowledge into their classrooms.

Our resident crows... they are not the only ones that are enjoying this beautiful weather.. Happy Monday!  Hours are 10-...
01/20/2020

Our resident crows... they are not the only ones that are enjoying this beautiful weather.. Happy Monday! Hours are 10-4:00.

We have good news! The Road to the Vote exhibit has been extended through next Tuesday, January 21st. If you missed it, ...
01/18/2020

We have good news! The Road to the Vote exhibit has been extended through next Tuesday, January 21st. If you missed it, you still have time to see it --- stop by before it goes to Montrose!

Museum hours are Monday - Saturday 10am-4pm.

"In 1851, the first settlers in Colorado settled along the banks of Culebra River. It is a great source of the San Luis’...
01/14/2020

"In 1851, the first settlers in Colorado settled along the banks of Culebra River. It is a great source of the San Luis’s acequia system (a community-operated watercourse used for irrigation), which was given the highest priority and first water rights in the state of Colorado. The river supports fourteen acequias."

For more information, visit our website: https://www.sangreheritage.org/water/

Culebra River is located in Costilla County, Colorado. Beginning at the junction of El Valle and Carneros Creek, and at one time used to flow into the Rio Grande River. In 1851, the first settlers in Colorado settled along the banks of Culebra River. It is a great source of the San Luis’s acequia system (a community-operated watercourse used for irrigation), which was given the highest priority and first water rights in the state of Colorado. The river supports fourteen acequias.

For more information, visit our website: https://www.sangreheritage.org/water/

One more week before the exhibit moves to it's next location. Visit Ft Garland by Friday to see this amazing piece of hi...
01/13/2020

One more week before the exhibit moves to it's next location. Visit Ft Garland by Friday to see this amazing piece of history!

Did you know our women's suffrage artifacts are making their way across the state?

"The Road to the Vote" is an artifact tour to commemorate women's suffrage in Colorado. In 1893, Colorado made history by becoming the first state to outlaw, via state referendum, denying citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. Road to the Vote features an original ballot box from 1884 and a reproduction of one of the ballots used in the historic 1893 election.

It's currently on view at our Fort Garland Museum until January 17, then it'll travel to Montrose at the Ute Indian Museum from Jan. 27 to February 7. The third tour stop will be at our museum in Leadville, the Healy House & Dexter Cabin from Feb. 18 to 28. The final stop for the artifacts will be back in Denver at the Center for Colorado Women's History at the Byers-Evans House on March 7.

#HerColorado

01/12/2020
Teaching Hard History Podcast

Teaching Hard History is an amazing historical podcast that focuses on the difficult history of slavery in the United States, with a goal of serving as a resource for educators and being good information for everyone.

The podcast includes conversations with guest historians. In particular, the talks with Andres Resendez (episodes 7-8) and Christina Snyder (episodes 2-3) touch on topics that have a lot of relevance to Colorado history, Southwest history, and the themes of our new, upcoming Borderlands of Southern Colorado exhibit.

Check it out: https://www.tolerance.org/podcasts/teaching-hard-history/american-slavery

What we don’t know about American slavery hurts us all. From Teaching Tolerance and host Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Teaching Hard History brings us the lessons we should have learned in school through the voices of leading scholars and educators. It’s good advice for teachers, good information for ev...

Dr. Marcia Goldstein gave a great presentation about the history of women's suffrage in Colorado this afternoon. Thanks ...
01/12/2020

Dr. Marcia Goldstein gave a great presentation about the history of women's suffrage in Colorado this afternoon. Thanks to everyone who joined us!

Please join us tomorrow, Saturday, January 11, at 2:00pm for Let the Women Vote! Colorado's Struggle for Suffrage. This ...
01/10/2020

Please join us tomorrow, Saturday, January 11, at 2:00pm for Let the Women Vote! Colorado's Struggle for Suffrage. This presentation, by Colorado historian Dr. Marcia Goldstein, highlights how Colorado became the the first state in the union to win the vote for women through popular referendum.

The event is free and open to the public.

Only one more week to view the Road to the Vote Artifact Tour! The exhibit includes a ballot box used in Costilla county...
01/10/2020

Only one more week to view the Road to the Vote Artifact Tour! The exhibit includes a ballot box used in Costilla county in the 1893 election granting women the right to vote in Colorado.

There's no charge to see this exhibit. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm.

The Road to the Vote Suffrage Exhibit has arrived at the Fort Garland Museum! This unique travelling exhibit commemorate...
01/06/2020

The Road to the Vote Suffrage Exhibit has arrived at the Fort Garland Museum! This unique travelling exhibit commemorates the 1893 election in which Colorado women won the right to vote in a special referendum! Featured in the exhibit is an original ballot box used in Costilla county in 1893.

The exhibit will be on display here from 1/6 through 1/20, when it will move to Ute Indian Museum in Montrose.

This March, it will reach its permanent home at the Center for Colorado Women's History at the Byers-Evans House Museum in Denver.

Beginning Monday, January 6, visit the museum gift shop to view the Road to the Vote Artifact Tour which will be on disp...
01/03/2020

Beginning Monday, January 6, visit the museum gift shop to view the Road to the Vote Artifact Tour which will be on display at Fort Garland through January 17th! This traveling pop-up exhibit features artifacts and information commemorating women's suffrage in Colorado, including an original ballot box used in Costilla county during the 1893 election.

Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission to the Road to the Vote exhibit is free and open to the public.

Hello again everybody! Yesterday we took a moment to look back on 2019 and everything great that happened here at the mu...
01/01/2020

Hello again everybody! Yesterday we took a moment to look back on 2019 and everything great that happened here at the museum- community events, exhibits, and so much more. But that’s the past. Today is New Year’s Day, and it’s time to look at the FUTURE.

So let’s take a moment to look forward at what’s coming in 2020!

This year at Fort Garland Museum, we have so many amazing things planned, from special guest talkers to holiday celebrations. But one of our biggest and most exciting changes is the opening of a brand new Borderlands of Southern Colorado exhibit! This exhibit will focus on the intersection of cultures, communities, histories, and more at the borderlands of Southern Colorado. Two other Borderlands exhibits have already opened in Pueblo and Trinidad, and we’re very excited to open ours. Stay tuned for more information about the opening date and accompanying celebration!

This summer we will also be hosting the San Luis Valley Educators’ Seminar, a program for teachers all around the nation. They can come to visit the valley, tour its historic sites, and learn methods of teaching the history of the American Southwest! This seminar was only made possibly by an incredible grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities—and support from our community and help from experts and scholars from all across Colorado.

2020 is going to be incredible- and none of it would be possible without you, San Luis Valley! You are our community!

Happy New Year!

Wishing all of our friends and neighbors a safe and prosperous 2020.Happy New Year!
01/01/2020

Wishing all of our friends and neighbors a safe and prosperous 2020.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Years Eve! This year went by so fast- and, incredibly, it’s the end of an entire decade, too! Today is a day t...
12/31/2019

Happy New Years Eve! This year went by so fast- and, incredibly, it’s the end of an entire decade, too! Today is a day to celebrate 2019 and to look back on everything that happened, everything that was accomplished!

This year at Fort Garland Museum, we had so many incredible events. From our yearly Memorial Day Encampment to our new Christmas Posada, we got to interact with our community in so many amazing ways. We’re so grateful to everyone who participated with us in those events!

This year we also were proud to restructure our Buffalo Soldier Exhibit! New interpretation has been added, old interpretation has been changed, to provide a deeper and more accurate history to our visitors. If you didn’t have the opportunity to pay this exhibit a visit in 2019 after it re-opened, we invite you to do so in 2020!

2019 was a great year- and 2020 will be even better! Happy New Year’s Eve, San Luis Valley!

12/28/2019

The Fort will be closed on Saturday, Dec 28 due to hazardous conditions. Have a safe weekend!

12/24/2019

The fort will be closed on Dec 24-25 so that staff may be with their families.
Merry Christmas.

Just a few more shopping days until Christmas! If you're looking for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers, check out ...
12/19/2019

Just a few more shopping days until Christmas!

If you're looking for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers, check out the museum gift shop for 10% off everything storewide from now through the end of the year. Sale includes all books, jewelry, artwork, and more!

Gift shop hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. The museum will be closed December 24 and 25, so stop by today!

12/16/2019

The museum will be closed today, Dec 16.

We will resume regular hours (10a-4p) tomorrow.

Thank you to all of our friends and neighbors who celebrated with us last night --- we're grateful to be part of such a ...
12/14/2019

Thank you to all of our friends and neighbors who celebrated with us last night --- we're grateful to be part of such a wonderful community. Special thanks to all of the vendors, entertainers, and volunteers who shared their time and talents. Wishing you a great holiday season!

We're excited that Semillas de la Tierra is highlighting our entertainment lineup at The Fort Posada tonight! We also we...
12/13/2019

We're excited that Semillas de la Tierra is highlighting our entertainment lineup at The Fort Posada tonight! We also welcome perfomances by Samuel Ozuna, Brittney Duarte, Ryan Tijerina, and Christian Santistevan.

Performances will take place in the Soldier's Theatre. The Posada is 3pm-7pm.

It's beginning to look a lot like a Fort Posada!Don't forget to join us tomorrow, 3p-7p for entertainment, craft vendors...
12/12/2019

It's beginning to look a lot like a Fort Posada!

Don't forget to join us tomorrow, 3p-7p for entertainment, craft vendors, kids activities, luminarias, food and fun! We're also excited to share that the North Pole has confirmed that Santa will be making a special visit around 5pm.

We hope to see you here!

Fort Garland Museum's cover photo
12/12/2019

Fort Garland Museum's cover photo

Thank you so much to everyone who donated yesterday for #ColoradoGivesDay! With your help, History Colorado's museums we...
12/11/2019

Thank you so much to everyone who donated yesterday for #ColoradoGivesDay! With your help, History Colorado's museums were able to reach our goal, and more. We raised more than DOUBLE the amount from last year- and every single dollar of that will be matched by one of our incredibly generous donors! Thanks to all of your wonderful gifts, we will be able to make great expansions to our programming and facilities state-wide!

Thank you so much for supporting us.

You are our community. This is your museum.

A beautiful view of Blanca Peak from Fort Garland Museum...In 2003, the UN designated December 11 as International Mount...
12/11/2019

A beautiful view of Blanca Peak from Fort Garland Museum...

In 2003, the UN designated December 11 as International Mountain Day. Today is a day to remember and recognize the uniqueness of mountain environments and the people who inhabit them, as well as the threats they may be facing due to climate change, over-development, and resource depletion.

Here in Colorado, we love our mountains. They're a huge part of our state's culture, past and present. Take this opportunity to learn a little bit about other mountain cultures around the world, and the struggles they face- ones which may be reflected in our own backyards.

https://www.un.org/en/observances/mountain-day

A gift that lasts throughout the year and gives back with treasured memories and an experience that lasts a lifetime.
12/11/2019
Give the gift that keeps on giving!

A gift that lasts throughout the year and gives back with treasured memories and an experience that lasts a lifetime.

History Colorado Membership

We have an incredible announcement- thanks to the generosity of one of our donors, all Colorado Gives Day donations to H...
12/10/2019

We have an incredible announcement- thanks to the generosity of one of our donors, all Colorado Gives Day donations to History Colorado and our museums will be matched- up to $25k worth!

Colorado Gives Day lasts through midnight tonight! So please consider giving a little bit to Fort Garland Museum. Donations from supporters like you will help support expansions of our educational programs. Hands-On History provides a reliable, safe, fun, and educational option for working families in our community. Your donations will help provide more opportunities for students with financial needs to enroll

Donate here: ColoradoGives.org/FortGarland2019

Address

29477 Highway 159
Fort Garland, CO
81133

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(719) 379-3512

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Fort Garland Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Fort Garland Museum:

Videos