Discover Colorado’s Hidden Gems During National Preservation Month

Discover Colorado’s Hidden Gems During National Preservation Month

DENVER (April 25, 2012) – In an era of lightning-fast technology and forward-thinking mindsets, Colorado pauses this May to celebrate its rich heritage in celebration of National Preservation Month. From the opening of the new History Colorado Center to American Indian festivals, mine tours to abundant historic districts, Colorado honors its past with great fanfare. Below is a sampling of activities, museums and historic areas that visitors can discover and enjoy this May throughout the state.

Archaeological and Historical Activities

A Hands On Colorado (May 5-6) playground geared for children of all ages will be hosted at the new History Colorado Center (opens April 28). Guests can experience roving pioneer children’s games, the “slim dig” archaeologist sandbox filled with replica ancestral Pueblo cultural artifacts, learn how to map archaeological sites, ask an archaeologist questions, watch the chips fly as skilled workmen shape logs using traditional log building techniques and more.

The 12th Annual Indian Arts and Culture Festival (May 26 – June 3) in Cortez features events starting in Mesa Verde National Park, a juried American Indian art market, which features world-renowned artists from Pueblo, Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, Ute and Apache tribes, and a Navajo rug seminar and auction round out the weekend.

The Historic Colorado Chautauqua Association. The Colorado Chautauqua Association (CCA) will host four distinct tours of their National Historic Landmark campus in partnership with Boulder Walking Tours beginning Memorial Day weekend. Dates and times vary.

Trolley Tours in Castle Rock (May 19) reveal the historic sites within the town limits and their backgrounds during this interactive tour, which begins and ends at the Castle Rock History Museum.

8th Annual 1890’s Achoria Leland Mine Tour (May 26). The exclusive tour of the Achoria Leland Mine and 1899 Doyle Block will showcase the 1890 mining operations on Gold Hill in Victor, Colo., that made Achoria Leland one of the great gold producers of more than $3 million worth of gold.

Bent on Birding Activities (mid-May) in Bent County includes a petroglyph tour, least tern and piping plover viewing, a dinosaur tracks tour and a chuck wagon dinner at Boggsville National Historic Site. Tours of the Festus Museum, Kit Carson Museum, the Art Gallery at Rawlings Heritage Center, Boggsville and John Martin Reservoir are also available.

Hotel de Paris Museum (May 25) will host a free public lecture at this National Trust Historic Site in Georgetown. Archaeologist Thomas Witt will speak about excavated artifacts recently recovered at Louis Dupuy’s Hotel de Paris and how style and taste flourished in the Colorado Frontier. New this year, visitors will have the opportunity to touch select historic artifacts. Starting June 1, this improved sensory experience will intensify the tour experience and stimulate curiosity.

Historical Museums and Centers

The new $110 million experiential History Colorado Center opens on April 28 and will revolutionize the way we think about history. Visitors will have the opportunity to traverse the state in a “time machine,” travel across the plains in a Model T Ford, don a headlamp and descend into a hard rock mine, and soar off the world’s first ski jump in Steamboat Springs.

Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum in Ignacio offers a visually captivating understanding of the Southern Ute Tribe’s past, present and hopes for the future. Tribal elders pioneered the opening of this center for more than a decade, which opened its doors last May.

The Pioneer Museum in Gunnison was established in 1964. Museum highlights include Gunnison’s first post office (1876), a D & RG Narrow Gauge train, water tank and depot, two rural schoolhouses, authentic barn with ranch displays, blacksmith shop and more.

Trinidad History Museum offers both guided and self-guided tours of Baca House and Bloom Mansion Grounds starting May 1 through September 30. The Santa Fe Trail Museum and Heritage Gardens are also available to visitors.

Historic Districts and Areas

Historic Ranch Life. The Just Ranch and Rowley Homestead sites at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby depict the lives of the late 1800s Rocky Mountain ranchers. Visitors can take a guided tour of the buildings and try their hand at turn of the century chores, such as making a walking stick and doing laundry on a washboard.

Breckenridge National Historic District Walking Tour. Step back in time with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance’s Historic Walking Tour of downtown Breckenridge. Visit historic dance halls, hotels and saloons, or grab a friend for a 100-year journey into Breckenridge’s haunted past.

Leadville’s Rich History. Most of the buildings in Leadville – a true gold rush mining boomtown – were built between 1880 and 1905. There are 70 square blocks included in the National Historic Landmark District of Victorian architecture, featuring the largest opera house west of the Mississippi, a saloon visited by Oscar Wilde and two historic 1879 churches.

Mesa Verde Country®. The towns of Cortez, Dolores, Mancos and Towaoc, and the entire Mesa Verde Country area, comprise the archaeological center of America.  In addition to Mesa Verde National Park, visitors can explore two national scenic byways, one national forest, two national monuments, one tribal park and the largest archaeological reserve in the U.S.

Cripple Creek Historic District. The rural ranching community of Cripple Creek was transformed into a renowned gold camp after a cowboy discovered gold in 1891. Many of the mining-era buildings remain today, including the Imperial Hotel and St. Paul’s Catholic Church, plus a 1,000-foot-deep underground shaft.

Boggsville National Historic District gives visitors a close-up look at Old West pioneer life. The former Santa Fe Trail trade stop traces the paths of Kit Carson and Wild Bill Hickock and hosts Old West reenactments during the summer months.

Downtown Denver Historic District encompasses 43 architecturally and historically significant buildings. A walk through the warehouse and mercantile buildings showcases the present-day shopping and dining quarter’s late-19th-century roots.


Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 26 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 12 national parks and monuments, and 54 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the 2012 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit or call 1-800-COLORADO. Media are invited to visit the Colorado Media Room at Follow Colorado on Twitter at or Facebook at

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