Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
The municipal museum of Colorado Springs, located in the former El Paso County Courthouse (1903), portrays the history and culture of the Pikes Peak Region in exhibits emphasizing the unique character of this uncommon Front Range community. As the focal point of the City’s lovely downtown, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum draws thousands of people to the area annually. Centered in one of two primary downtown parks, this elegant and historic structure is surrounded by inviting green lawns, colorful flowers, outdoor sculptures, and a splendid granite fountain.
Guided by a mission to collect, preserve, research, and interpret the history and culture of the Pikes Peak Region, the Museum features permanent exhibits on the history of the area and changing exhibits on topics of broad interest. The Museum’s active changing exhibition schedule has featured subjects as diverse as Western art, antique quilts, Plains and Pueblo Indian culture, and space exploration. Popular culture exhibits have included such topics as juke boxes, motorcycles, and baseball memorabilia. A major attraction are the murals, by local artist Eric Bransby, which depict the story of the Pikes Peak Region from early human occupancy to the building of the Air Force Academy.
The Museum has over 60,000 objects in its collection including nationally significant collections of quilts, Van Briggle art pottery, plus the finest regional art collection in the state of Colorado. The Native American collection includes hundreds of items representative of the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho cultures. A portion of author Helen Hunt Jackson’s house is reconstructed in the Museum, furnished with her original possessions. Other collections relate to the founding of the City, the area’s mining and agricultural history, its early prominence as a health resort, and its more recent significance as a center for military training and operations.
The Museum houses the Starsmore Center for Local History, an archives and research library, which concentrates on items related to the Pikes Peak Region. Included in these collections are: manuscript collections pertaining to the history of the area and its people; early images of Colorado Springs; bound newspapers; and city directories dating from the 1870′s. These materials are used by the public for genealogical and historical research, films, books, articles, and school projects. Of particular significance to Colorado Springs are the personal papers of city-founder and railroad-builder General William Jackson Palmer.
Public programs range from scholarly presentations to family festivals. The Museum has been host to a variety of events: lectures on the American cowboy, Hispanic and African-American celebrations, and antique auto shows. Classical music concerts and plays have been featured in the exquisitely restored Division I Courtroom on the Museum’s upper floor, and summer jazz has delighted thousands in the surrounding park. A vital community outreach program provides tours, speakers, presentations for schools, and other special programs. With a dedicated corps of volunteers, guided tours are provided to more than 8,000 of the 75,000 people who visit the museum annually.
Fully accredited by the American Association of Museums, and winner of local and national awards for excellence, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers a rewarding and enjoyable experience for people of all ages and interests. A visit provides a look into the spirit, past and present, of the city nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak, America’s most famous mountain.