Colorado Resort Adventure Guide

Southeast Region
The Museums of Trinidad, Trinidad, CO

by Diane Hess
Louden-Henritze Archaeiology Museum of prehistoric peoples, Trinidad, Colorado

Trinidad was once a bustling center of trade on the Santa Fe Trail. Now a traveler's oasis on two modern "trails", I-25 and Amtrak's Southwest Chief from Los Angeles to Chicago, the town retains its Old West character with impressive architecture, brick streets, and museum exhibits. Four museums span the evolution of the area from dinosaurs to cowboys.

In the Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum, artifacts reveal the lifestyles of prehistoric peoples. A rare fish egg fossil, shark teeth, mammoth tusks, arrowheads, are among the many artifacts on display. Ask the museum director about rare archaeological sites in the area.

The Trinidad History Museum is a unique complex. Guided tours feature the 1882 Bloom Mansion, one of the most unusual Victorian buildings in the state, and the Baca House, a two-story adobe from the Santa Fe Trail era. In the Santa Fe Trail Museum, artifacts depict daily life from Santa Fe Trail days through the 1920s. This is where you will find Kit Carson's famous buckskin coat. Historic gardens contain heirloom flowers and vegetables. The bookstore specializes in area history.

Mitchell Museum, Trinidad, Colorado

The A.R. Mitchell Museum is housed in an early-1900s building of over 40,000 square feet with original tin ceilings, wood floors, and horseshoe-shaped mezzanine. The museum displays an extraordinary collection of Spanish colonial folk art and paintings by A.R. Mitchell and his contemporaries as well as early photography and Old West artifacts. The gift shop features paintings, sculpture, and jewelry from southwestern artists as well as limited edition giclée prints of famous cowboy artist Arthur Roy Mitchell.

Youngsters of all ages enjoy the hands-on activities in the Old Fire House No. 1 Children's Museum. Visitors may sound the fire alarm and climb aboard the old red fire truck. Kids love the dress-up area and the model train. In the basement, visitors explore Trinidad's not-so-accommodating original jail cells.

  • Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum: Open January-November, Monday through Thursday,
    10am-3pm, Admission is free. 719-846-5508
  • Trinidad History Museum, Property of the Colorado Historical Society:
    Open daily May 1-Sept 30, 10am-4pm.
    Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mon-Sat 10am-4pm.
    Oct-Apr by appointment. 719-846-7217
    $5 admission adults, $2.50 students & children, free for under 6 years old.
  • A.R. Mitchell Museum & Gallery: Open May-Sept, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5 p.m.
    Oct-Apr, call for hours. $2 admission, free to children under 12. 719-846-4224
  • Old Fire House No. 1 Children's Museum: Open June-August, Mon-Fri 11am-3pm.
    Admission is free. 719-846-8220 or 719-846-2024

photos courtesy of Trinidad Chamber Of Commerce

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