Accident closes museum, donation drive begins


By Karl Isberg | Pagosa Springs History Museum

The Pagosa Springs History Museum will be closed for the remainder of the 2023 summer season.

Members of the museum’s board of directors determined the closure was necessary in light of unforeseen problems that occurred during an expansion project at the facility, and by construction activities being conducted in areas adjacent to the museum site.

This spring, a room adjacent to the existing museum previously occupied by a Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District fill station was acquired and work began to transform it into a new, much-needed exhibition space. 

During a sandblasting procedure, material infiltrated the museum’s exhibition and office areas, requiring extensive cleaning. A professional service that specializes in cleaning delicate items and archival materials must be utilized in order to guarantee the difficult process is successful. The tasks of locating a service and having the work approved by insurance carriers are underway.

Directors anticipate the cleaning to be complete in time to open the museum for the 2024 season.

Work on the expansion will continue with the hope it will be ready for the 2024 season, adding space for additional items in the museum collection.

The museum is a popular entertainment and educational attraction, providing displays that depict life in the area from the 1890s on. Visitors step back in time to a dentist’s office, a barber shop, a general store and a country schoolroom. The museum displays portions of Fred Harman’s famous “Red Ryder and Lil Beaver” art collection, as well as a blacksmith shop, a typical early 1900 kitchen, and logging and ranching equipment. The works of local quiltmakers are also featured, as are many more items that provide insight into the history of the area.

The absence of revenues resulting from the setbacks experienced this year negatively affects the museum’s financial picture. In order to maintain the financial health of the museum, donations are needed and greatly appreciated. Donations will be used to maintain the facility, deal with ongoing basic costs, and to help ensure that this valuable cultural asset will continue to serve members of the community and visitors alike.

If you wish to make an online donation to the Pagosa Springs History Museum, please do so at

Donations can also be mailed to Pagosa Springs History Museum, P.O. Box 1711, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.