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.
(29)

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.

It's starting to look like summer at the Fort!Open 9am-5pm, seven days a week.
05/15/2019

It's starting to look like summer at the Fort!

Open 9am-5pm, seven days a week.

SLV Educators are invited to attend "Teaching Geo-Literacy Through Hands On Resources" on Saturday, September 14, 9am-12...
05/13/2019

SLV Educators are invited to attend "Teaching Geo-Literacy Through Hands On Resources" on Saturday, September 14, 9am-12pm at the Fort Garland Museum.

The workshop is FREE and you will receive a $40 stipend for attending. Space is limited. Register online at https://tinyurl.com/y6ha7rqc

Workshop sponsored by History Colorado and Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Happy Mother's Day!
05/12/2019

Happy Mother's Day!

On this Mother's Day we are celebrating Ute mothers. Ute women have lovingly made cradleboards and baby carriers for generations. This unique cultural tradition is an amazing demonstration of love between a mother and child.

Our tribal cultural advisors explained to us that cradleboards allow babies to better see what is happening in their surroundings and to have good eye contact with persons speaking to them, compared with laying babies on their stomachs or backs.

Traditionally, they wore them on their backs, leaving their hands free for other work. But sometimes they also leaned the cradleboard up against a tree or the hung the strap over a low branch.

Many mothers continue today to use cradleboards. Some are made traditionally; others incorporate newer materials such as cotton fabric. In both cases, they continue to be made with great love and reverence. In Cortez, Colorado, near the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, the local hardware store sell the wooden board that is the base of the cradleboard.

Happy Mother's Day!

📷: Studio portrait of Ah-ne-cita and Ma-rez, a Ute Native American couple, with their child, Tomas-cita, in a cradleboard, photographed by Rose & Hopkins during Denver's Festival of Mountain and Plain, circa 1896-1899; Waynoka Whiteskunk with her son Koda Whiteskunk in a modern cradleboard, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Towaoc, Colorado, 2016; cradleboards in our collection

05/10/2019
Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

Rick Manzanares served as the director of Fort Garland Museum from 1996 to 2012, and the positive impact of his work continues to resonate throughout many of our programs and exhibits. Even after his tenure at the museum, Rick continued to be a tireless advocate for the preservation of San Luis Valley history and culture.

Our sincerest condolences go out to Rick's family and friends. He will be missed.

Rest in peace.

We are saddened by the recent passing of Rick Manzanares, who was instrumental in the creation of both the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. Rick served on the Steering Committee, as a member of the Board of Directors and as Interim Program Director. Locally, he also served as Executive Director for the Fort Garland Museum. His work and dedication to the history and people of our area paved the way for preservation, conservation and awareness of the rich culture that exists here.

His meaningful work reached beyond our borders of the San Luis Valley as he also served as the Executive Director of Canyons & Plains Southeast Colorado, Manager of the Roadside Interpretation Program for the Colorado Historical Society and Executive Director of the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council. He also worked as a historical consultant, interpreter and research assistant, historical tour guide, exhibit curator, panel presenter, reviewer, lecturer and published writer.

Among the many things that Rick contributed to about the San Luis Valley is the attached video, which is an interview for the Voices of the Valley Oral History Project by Adams State University. In this interview Rick talks about his childhood, religion, language, traditional foods and holidays. He speaks in detail about the importance of acequia culture, the Espinosa brothers, historical and racial tensions and why the heritage of the San Luis Valley is worth saving.

Please join us on Friday, May 24 at the Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative in Alamosa for an evening with author Kali Fajardo...
05/06/2019

Please join us on Friday, May 24 at the Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative in Alamosa for an evening with author Kali Fajardo-Anstine. Kali will be reading from her debut collection of short stories, "Sabrina & Corina"

Kali grew up in Denver, but has roots in the San Luis Valley. Kali was a fellow for the Center for Colorado Women's History at the Byers-Evans House and received her MFA from the University of Wyoming.

This event is co-hosted by Community Foundation of the San Luis Valley, Fort Garland Museum, and Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative.

Thank you to Dr. Everett for sharing knowledge and laughs with us this afternoon!
05/05/2019

Thank you to Dr. Everett for sharing knowledge and laughs with us this afternoon!

"The thirty-seventh parallel sliced through a cultural pocket of New Mexico and attached it to Colorado, a territory who...
05/03/2019

"The thirty-seventh parallel sliced through a cultural pocket of New Mexico and attached it to Colorado, a territory whose predominant Anglo society shared few traits with Hispanos. Good faith measures to incorporate southern Coloradoans into local affairs never quite compensated for tearing them away from New Mexico in the first place." --- from 'Creating the American West' by Derek Everett

Join us tomorrow to learn more!

Have you ever wondered how the Colorado-New Mexico state line was created? Or whether parts of the San Luis Valley were actually part of the Republic of Texas?

To learn more, join us on Saturday afternoon when Dr. Derek Everett presents "Walk the Line: Creation & Consequences of Western State Boundaries".

The lecture is free and open to the public. Everett is speaking as part of the Borderlands of Southern Colorado Spring 2019 Lecture Series. The series is supported by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

Super pleased to share our featured artist this week, Judy Barnes With “Spirit of the Wild Horse”.  Please stop in a...
05/01/2019

Super pleased to share our featured artist this week, Judy Barnes With “Spirit of the Wild Horse”. Please stop in and take a look at her photos and cards we carry in our gift shop.

We are pleased to announce the new arrival "Creating The American West", just in time for Saturday's Lecture featuring D...
04/30/2019

We are pleased to announce the new arrival "Creating The American West", just in time for Saturday's Lecture featuring Dr. Derek Everett. I know you will not want to miss the opportunity to hear him speak about the Creation and Consequences of Western State Boundaries. We have limited copies, come on in and get your copy today.

Have you ever wondered how the Colorado-New Mexico state line was created? Or whether parts of the San Luis Valley were ...
04/29/2019

Have you ever wondered how the Colorado-New Mexico state line was created? Or whether parts of the San Luis Valley were actually part of the Republic of Texas?

To learn more, join us on Saturday afternoon when Dr. Derek Everett presents "Walk the Line: Creation & Consequences of Western State Boundaries".

The lecture is free and open to the public. Everett is speaking as part of the Borderlands of Southern Colorado Spring 2019 Lecture Series. The series is supported by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

Please meet Ellen of... Ellen Scott Grable Designs...one of our featured artists...  Ellen spent a lifetime as a jewelry...
04/23/2019

Please meet Ellen of... Ellen Scott Grable Designs...one of our featured artists...
Ellen spent a lifetime as a jewelry designer selling to numerous high-end stores and spas. She has created jewelry for some of television's most beloved characters. In an era before social media, she was happy to be doing what she loved in such a fun and creative environment meeting wonderful people whose work she had admired for years. Several years ago she and her daughter moved to the Rocky Mountains in the San Luis Valley and started an off grid ranch. The challenges of living on wind and solar at almost 9000' have taught them both a great deal about self-reliance. Ellen splits her time between the ranch and traveling solo in The USA and abroad. Ellen continues to design and sell jewelry, some of which can be found right here in our gift shop.
#featuredartist #artist #jewelrydesign #shoplocal

Super excited to share this new gem of a book that just arrived in the gift shop..“Eleven achingly realistic stories s...
04/23/2019

Super excited to share this new gem of a book that just arrived in the gift shop..

“Eleven achingly realistic stories set in Denver and southern Colorado bear witness to the lives of Latina women of Indigenous descent trying to survive generations of poverty, racism, addiction, and violence..."
-Kirkus Reviews

“Here are stories that blaze like wildfires, with characters who made me laugh and broke my heart, believable in everything they said and did. How tragic that American letters hasn’t met these women of the West before, women who were here before America was America. And how tragic that these working-class women haven’t seen themselves in the pages of American lit before. Thank you for honoring their lives, Kali. I welcome them and you.”
—Sandra Cisneros
#FortGarlandMuseum #SabrinaandCorina #KaliFajardoAnstine #SoCo

These titles & more just in to the bookstore  ... Feed your brain and your belly with knowledge and food.. ;)
04/17/2019

These titles & more just in to the bookstore ... Feed your brain and your belly with knowledge and food.. ;)

This week Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center's "Traveling Hands on History program" will be in Alamosa! Have you ev...
04/15/2019

This week Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center's "Traveling Hands on History program" will be in Alamosa!

Have you ever been curious about the threads that make up your clothes, blankets and soft toys. This week we will be exploring where fibers come from and how they are turned into threads and yarns. Then we will be making a beautiful weaving to take home.

Join us from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on Friday the 19th at Cole Park. Should the weather be unfavorable, our wonderful friends at Alamosa Public Library will let us use their classroom space instead.

This Friday at Story Book STEM we will be learning all about ourselves and all the incredible things we can do. We will ...
04/15/2019

This Friday at Story Book STEM we will be learning all about ourselves and all the incredible things we can do.

We will read "I like myself" by Karen Beaumont and "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds.

Then Make a masterpiece or two.

We can't wait to see you there. Friday the 19th at 10:30 am

Are you interested in doing some reading before Thursday's lecture? You can find a copy of "Borderwall as Architecture: ...
04/15/2019

Are you interested in doing some reading before Thursday's lecture?

You can find a copy of "Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the US-Mexico Boundary" at the Fort Garland Museum gift shop.

Copies will also be available on the night of the event until supplies last. Dr. Rael will sign books after the lecture.

Looking for a fun way to spend some extra time with your little one? Join us for "Tiny Hands" an Infant and toddler prog...
04/15/2019

Looking for a fun way to spend some extra time with your little one?

Join us for "Tiny Hands" an Infant and toddler program at Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center.

This week we will be reading the book "Bear Wants More" by Karma Wilson. We will explore the ASL signs for "More", "Please", and "Want". Then we will do a fun craft and game to help you reinforce these signs when playing at home.

Come learn how valuable baby signing can be and have some fun with your little one at the same time.

"San Luis is a living tribute to the greatness of Colorado, where its gorgeous setting within Sangre de Cristo National ...
04/11/2019

"San Luis is a living tribute to the greatness of Colorado, where its gorgeous setting within Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is not only a nod to our bountiful landscape, but our diverse heritage as well."

This week in history, Hispano farmers established the town of San Luis, Colorado.

Today, the 168-year-old town is the state's oldest continuously occupied town. Located in south central Colorado near the New Mexico border, the San Luis Valley has been home to several different groups, one of the many reasons it holds historic significance for Colorado and the nation. The town was established by Hispano farmers, but the area was originally inhabited by prehistoric cultures dating back thousands of years.

Canadian-born Charles Beaubien purchased a portion of the Sangre de Cristo land grant to gain full ownership of the one million acre tract in the San Luis Valley, amassing his land ownership to more than two million acres between New Mexico and Colorado. Beaubien then began recruiting new settlers, which created an influx of people to the region, and the town of San Luis began to take shape. The construction and location of the Plaza de San Luis de la Culebra established it as the center of the town and is now part of the Plaza de San Luis de Culebra Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

San Luis quickly became the hub of the region because of its close proximity to the main roadway that led south to Taos and north to Fort Garland, and with the introduction of the railroad, San Luis was able to trade more freely with Pueblo and Denver.

While San Luis has seen a drop in population since World War I, the town maintains its historic integrity by maintaining its historic buildings, including the courthouse and the Church of Most Precious Blood. San Luis is a living tribute to the greatness of Colorado, where its gorgeous setting within Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is not only a nod to our bountiful landscape, but our diverse heritage as well.

Please help us welcome Ronald Rael back home to the San Luis Valley next Thursday, April 18 for 'Borderwall as Architect...
04/09/2019

Please help us welcome Ronald Rael back home to the San Luis Valley next Thursday, April 18 for 'Borderwall as Architecture'.

Rael is a Professor of Architecture at the University of California Berkeley. He will discuss his work in artistic and design practice that includes design activism along the U.S.-Mexico border and 3D Printing, and how he has been influenced by growing up the San Luis Valley.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Rael is speaking as part of the Borderlands of Southern Colorado Spring 2019 Lecture Series. The series is supported by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

Fun Fridays are back at Fort Garland Museum. Bring your children to our Hands on History programs every Friday to play, ...
04/09/2019

Fun Fridays are back at Fort Garland Museum. Bring your children to our Hands on History programs every Friday to play, invent, explore, and create!

At 9:30 am to 10:15 we have "Little Hands on History", an infant and toddler program designed to help young minds explore the world around them.

Then at 10:30 to 11:30 am join us for Story Time S.T.E.M.

Can't come to us? That's okay, we will come to you. Our Traveling Hands on History program will be popping up in a different town each Friday afternoon at 1:00 PM.

Watch our page to see the themes and Lessons for each week.

We can't wait to see you there!

Kudos to our friends and colleagues at El Pueblo History Museum, a fellow History Colorado Community Museum, for being s...
04/08/2019

Kudos to our friends and colleagues at El Pueblo History Museum, a fellow History Colorado Community Museum, for being selected as a National Medal finalist! This is one of the highest honors a museum can recieve. Congratulations!
#IMLSmedals #historycolorado

We head to Colorado today to feature El Pueblo History Museum. Located in Pueblo, the museum showcases the region’s many cultural and ethnic groups through innovative exhibits, including the Borderlands of Southern Colorado and the award-winning Children of Ludlow. The property includes a re-created 1840s adobe trading post and plaza, and the archaeological excavation site of the original 1842 El Pueblo trading post. Share your story about the museum, if you've been there! #IMLSmedals

It's National Read a Map Day! Check out this colcha by Tiva Trujillo, depicting the San Luis Valley.
04/05/2019

It's National Read a Map Day!

Check out this colcha by Tiva Trujillo, depicting the San Luis Valley.

It's National Read A Road Map Day! 🚦🗺🏞

(To all of our manly-man-tough-guy followers, continue on, there's no need to ask for directions here 😉)

Out of all of the Colorado maps that we have, this is one of the most unique items in our collection! This colcha was made by Tiva Trujillo in 1979. Trujillo is believed to have been from Saguache, Colorado, and the colcha depicts the San Luis valley of southern Colorado.

You can see the artist's name near the bottom-center of the colcha, as well as several locations marked out in different areas of the textile. Colchas date back to the Spanish colonial era, in which utilitarian wool bedspreads were embroidered with sheep's wool, first as a way to mend holes, and later as an elaborate decoration. There is no singular, strict style of colcha, but this one is heavily embroidered and decorated with an array of historic locations and rich, earthy colors.

Besides the many roads that weave in and out of the colcha, you can see houses, fields of crops, churches, trucks, and even a few farm animals all neatly woven together. It isn't hard to get lost in this amazing road map!

Don't forget to join us tomorrow --- Saturday, April 6 --- at 2pm for "Land of the Penitentes" by Ruben Archuleta.Archul...
04/05/2019

Don't forget to join us tomorrow --- Saturday, April 6 --- at 2pm for "Land of the Penitentes" by Ruben Archuleta.

Archuleta will have copies of books for purchase (cash or check only):
Penitente Renaissance ($20)
Land of the Penitentes ($15)
Eppie Archuleta ($10)

This event is part of our Borderlands of Southern Colorado Spring 2019 Lecture Series supported by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. The event is free and open to the public.

Join us on Saturday afternoon when SLV native Ruben Archuleta presents "Land of the Penitentes".The lecture is free and ...
04/01/2019

Join us on Saturday afternoon when SLV native Ruben Archuleta presents "Land of the Penitentes".

The lecture is free and open to the public. Archuleta is speaking as part of the Borderlands of Southern Colorado Spring 2019 Lecture Series. The series is supported by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

Do you, or a youngster you know, have an interest in your ancestors and the people of the past, from their diets to thei...
03/28/2019

Do you, or a youngster you know, have an interest in your ancestors and the people of the past, from their diets to their beliefs, the clothes and the jewelry they wore, the tools and cooking pots they used, the houses they lived in? Come in and discover this and more when you visit the The Fort Garland Museum. Don't forget to spend a little time in the Gift shop where we have a great collection of gifts and books to satisfy your curiosity... Hope to see you soon! #archaeologymonth

Proud of this partnership between History Colorado and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area benefiting San Luis V...
03/28/2019
National Historic sites named in SLV

Proud of this partnership between History Colorado and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area benefiting San Luis Valley communities.

VALLEY — The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and History Colorado, through an Underrepresented Communities Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund of the National Park Service, Department of Interior, have successfully submitted four properties in the San Luis Valley to the National Regi...

Address

29477 Highway 159
Fort Garland, CO
81133

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 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