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Treasures abound at the museum

The sign out front says “Quilt Display.”

But, is there anything else to see besides quilts?

You bet.

A fabulous artifact on display is our Empire State Camera. It is just one of several (non-digital) cameras in the museum’s collection.

The Empire State Camera is a front focusing camera produced from 1894 to 1914 by the Rochester Optical Company. The Sears-Roebuck catalog from 1897 tells us that it has, “all the adjustments necessary for general work, and while sold at a moderate price it fully meets the requirements of the professional as well as the amateur, and is constantly gaining favor. This camera is constructed with an idea of satisfying all the movements necessary in a camera for both indoor and outdoor photography rather than beauty and fine finish. It is, however, made form selected mahogany, well finished with trimmings of polished brass. It has a front rack and pinion movement for focusing, which is held firmly after being set, by turning a milled head placed inside of the one used for focusing.”

This is just one of the treasures, which is housed in our museum.

Farm and ranch display

A display that people enjoy is the farm and ranch display featuring many saddles used by ranchers, an ox yoke, cream separator and other farm equipment. Outside is machinery used on area farms and ranches – a thresher, hay press, hay rake, potato digger and more. Time spent perusing these items will give an appreciation to the work that went into providing for families here in Archuleta County and the surrounding area.

Violet Ray machine

You can also see the finest in medical quackery at the museum. Charles F. Rumbaugh purchased a Violet Ray Apparatus from the Bleadon-Dun Company in Chicago, Ill. This company also manufacturered Thermic Lamps and Diathermyequipment. Rumbaugh purchased his machine in November of 1930. It is now a part of the historical society’s collection.

The Bleadon-Dun Company informed purchasers,’“Since the science of High Frequency has become of such importance a certain classification of the High-Frequency discharges which vary in wave-form, pressure and volume, was made. This formed a period of extensive and elaborate experimenting from which emerged the Multiflex.

“Special attention has been given to the various High-Tension discharges. By a unique arrangement of capacities, windings and resistances, the standard electric current of 110 volts A. C. or D. C. is transformed to a great variety of high pressure currents at varying frequencies. ‘Multifrex’ is the last word in Violet-Ray apparatus, providing three stages of Multi-frequency current together with the most complete attachments. The panel board is of Formica plate, the strongest and best insulator and brilliantly polished.’Trimmings of violet plush, and all metal parts nickel-plated.””

In addition to the basic machine, Rumbaugh purchased several accessories. The Comb-Rake Electrode was “used for all scalp treatments” such as”“Falling Hair, Dandruff, Gray Hair and stimulating the hair roots and cells.””

Also available was a Spinal Electrode, Prostatic Electrode, and a Special Metal Electrode, which was used to”“stimulate any nerve or muscle.”

Another electrode removed “warts, moles, or any growths of any nature … A few minutes a day with Violet Rays will keep the doctor away … Obesity prevented … You give your abdomen an extra“‘dose’ of Violet Rays to both tune up the digestive organs and prevent constipation, as well as to either prevent or over come obesity.”

A “Confidential Cash Price List” was sent to Rumbaugh. The basic Violetta Multifrex type E” was $58.50, the additional electrodes ran from $1 to $10.

Gift shop

After you’ve perused the vast collection at the museum, you can shop for items unique to Pagosa Springs in our gift shop.

Available is our special souvenir deck of playing cards featuring 55 photos of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area. The cards sell for $10, plus tax.

For those who are taking in the quilting exhibit, we have over 20 quilts on display. Many of them have ties to the local community, especially the Nossaman family who was one of the earliest families to settle in this region.

A local artist has generously created scenic fabric postcards for us to sell. These are beautiful and would make a great souvenir or gift.

Also featured are history books by local authors and other books of regional historical interest. A new order of regional history books just arrived this week.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. You should plan to arrive by 3 p.m. to be sure to have plenty of time to view all of the wonderful exhibits. We are located at 96 Pagosa St. on the east end of downtown.

There is no admission fee to see the museum this season. We do gladly accept donations to defray operating expenses such as utilities and insurance.

We look forwarding to seeing you there.

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