By Shari Pierce
Special to The PREVIEW
As you are planning your family weekend — maybe a trip to the park or some shopping at our downtown shops — be sure to include some time for a visit to the San Juan Historical Society Museum. In addition to this summer’s quilt display, the museum plays host to a wide variety of exhibits.
The front of the museum houses displays related to the business and social aspects of our community, including railroad memorabilia; farming and ranching tack, saddles and equipment; Dr. Ellsworth’s dental chair and oh-so-much more.
Tools of the trade
Many hand tools were used by settlers to Archuleta County to craft their homes and places of business.
Drills, levels and a beautiful hand planer are on display at Pagosa Springs’ own museum. You are invited down to view the display of hand tools. You’ll gain an appreciation for the physical labor that went into building our community. No electric drills, saws or nail guns, just elbow grease, skill and hard work.
Over some very rough roads, wagons brought some of the earliest families to Pagosa Springs. No AAA services were available to repair the wagons. View the wagon hub on display along with the wrench used to loosen this hub. You will gain a new appreciation for the strength and toughness of these men and women.
This summer’s special quilt display is “Stitches in Time.” One of the quilts that is part of this exhibit is “The Women on My Mother’s Side of the Family.” This quilt was created in 2000 by Judy Jordan to honor the women on her mother’s side of the family.
Judy began the project by having each woman sign a block. Judy then added the birth date and birth state, where appropriate the death date. She embroidered the information on each block to more permanently preserve it.
Since her grandmother, Lara Elizabeth Ford, had passed away before this quilt was started, Judy used a signature off of a card that she had received from her grandmother for this representation.
The next step was to add a “bonnet girl” with a skirt fashioned from one-half of a Dresden Plate quilt block design. Each girl is carrying a ribbon rose.
The first row begins with Judy’s grandmother, followed by her daughters, then the granddaughters and granddaughters-in-law and so forth.
The quilt spans birthdates from 1888 through 1999. This is a remarkable representation of many generations of women in this family.
Judy added a verse from Psalms to the front of the quilt:’“Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a real blessing.” Psalms 129:3.
Future historians will love Judy’s tenacity in making sure each of her quilts is well documented on the back. On this quilt, Judy added a bonnet girl block with her own signature and birth information. Along with that, she embroidered yet another Bible verse: “Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30.
This is just one of many quilts on display. Be sure to come in and view these quilts; many of them will only be on display this summer season.
The society offers a gift shop featuring a wide variety of items of interest to visitors of the museum. This season, the gift shop has been greatly expanded and more items are yet to come. Southwest history books, photos, quilting books and patterns, wall hangings, tote bags and purses, rocks and home décor are just a few of the items to be found in the shop.
Society members also offer handmade items for sale. Choose from covered wagon dolls, postcards, tote bags and jeans purses to find the perfect gift for someone special.
Admission to the museum is free, however donations are greatly appreciated to help with operating expenses such as utilities, insurance and payroll.
The gift shop is important to the success of the museum. Sales from the shop are utilized to offset operating expenses.
The museum is located at 96 Pagosa St. on the east end of Pagosa Springs next to the bridge and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please plan a visit to the museum soon. You’ll be glad you did.