For more than four decades, the Pagosa Springs History Museum has offered visitors and locals alike a glimpse back into the history of Pagosa Country, at the same time preserving history and displaying precious artifacts from the past. 

The museum, which is overseen by the nonprofit San Juan Historical Society, hosts a one-of-a-kind collection depicting early life and industry in the area. The majority of the items on display were found, used or produced in the area, including metal art; a gem and mineral collection; taxidermied bear, mountain lion and deer; and fossils of the extinct mosasaur, an aquatic reptile, that was discovered in Archuleta County.

A few of the exhibits available to view at the museum include logging and railroad, a plethora of old photographs, a general store, country schoolroom, ranching and textiles, and household exhibits, which include a wood-fired range, clothes washers that show the evolution of doing laundry, kitchen gadgets, sewing machines and even a convertible table/chair made out of redwood that was crafted in Archuleta County. 

In addition to the museum’s permanent textile exhibits, the museum will again include a special display of quilts this season. In the footsteps of the highly popular shows of the past several seasons, this summer’s show will feature quilts made by local quilters. A redwork quilt set for display celebrates local organizations and features the names of well over 100 locals who were involved in the making of our community. You’ll also be able to view the friendship quilt “Pine Trees of Pagosa Springs,” among others.

The museum is located a short walk from downtown Pagosa Springs at 96 Pagosa Street (the corner of U.S. 160 and 1st Street). It is partially housed in the old waterworks building constructed by the WPA in 1938. 

While visiting the museum, guests are encouraged to browse the gift shop, where historical society members provide carefully selected items, which may be of particular interest to visitors of Pagosa Country. Also available are handmade items from local crafters, making the perfect memento or gifts for friends back home.

The society has also compiled and published a 13-volume book series, “Remembrances,” celebrating the people, places and history of Pagosa Springs and surrounding area. 

The museum opens for the season in May, and will be open five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. including holidays, through October. Admission is free. 

Donations are accepted to offset the operating expenses. The museum relies on private funding and grants to operate and all donations are greatly appreciated.

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