By Kay Beatty
Special to The PREVIEW
On May 26, the San Juan Historical Society will open the doors of the Pagosa Springs History Museum for the 2017 season.
Located on U.S. 160 at 1st Street, next to the river, the museum will be open all summer 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and there is no admission charge.
This year, a highlight is a display of beautiful quilts made and owned by members of the Pagosa Piecemakers Quilt Guild who have generously loaned 15 quilts to be hung for the season.
Several of the quilts date back to the 1930s, several are more recent, locally made prize-winners, and all have stories to tell. When you go, you will be provided with a tour booklet describing each of the quilts, facts about them and explanations of the patterns and motifs used in the making. You don’t have to be a quiltmaker to appreciate the love, imagination and skill that goes into this craft.
The permanent historical displays in the building are the main attraction, depicting pioneer life in the area, wildlife and nature, geological and anthropological displays and more.
You’ll see a reconstructed school room, household artifacts, tools, clothing and many historical photographs of Pagosa’s early days. Old Chromo post office fixtures are there, a pay cage from a bank, and a reconstruction of a dentist’s office.
The building that houses the museum is of particular interest, as it formerly was the old waterworks building and was erected by the WPA in 1938 during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency.
It feels as though you have stepped back in time as you observe lifestyles of long ago.
A contemporary feature of the museum is its gift shop, offering items handmade locally and donated to help support the operating costs of the museum. A visitor can find a special souvenir of a trip to Pagosa Springs — a useful handbag or totebag, wall hanging, apron, potholders, and books describing the San Juans, the area surrounding Pagosa Springs and the people who settled southwestern Colorado. The shop even has a selection of handcrafted picture postcards to mail back home. Every nook and cranny in this special place is a delight to view.