Museum & Observatory
Explore Gunnison's recent history at the Gunnison Pioneer Museum or dig into the ancient past at the Tenderfoot Site. You can also look to the stars at the Gunnison Valley Observatory.
Gunnison Pioneer Museum
The Gunnison County Pioneer and Historical Society had its beginning in 1880 with the early pioneers who settled in the Gunnison Valley. The Pioneer Society was reorganized and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1930.
From its very beginning, the society stated its interest in preserving the history of the pioneers of Gunnison County and by 1964 the Pioneer Museum was finally begun. The Board of the Society oversees the operation of the Museum, which is staffed mostly by senior volunteers.
The Museum grounds, its 16 buildings and the artifacts and memorabilia that make up the many displays, have been donated by generous members and friends of the Society. Most of the items on display date back to the early settlers. The Museum's collections truly represent the cultural history and heritage of the people of Gunnison County.
Several years ago the Museum added the Andy Mallett Antique Car Museum- a large building housing 63 antique cars, one of the largest collections in Colorado, this building alone is worth the price of admission for car buffs.
In addition to the Museum, the Pioneer Society also owns the Aberdeen Quarry which is located on Beaver Creek just a few miles from Gunnison. Granite from this quarry was used in building the Colorado State Capitol. As part of the summer program at the Museum, Jeep tours are scheduled to provide an opportunity to visit this historic site.
At The Pioneer Museum:
- Gunnison's First Post Office (1876)
- D&RG Narrow Gauge Train
- Rural School House (1905)
- House With Early-Day Furnishings
- Antique Cars and Wagons
- Dairy Barn with Tool, Saddle, Wagon and Implement Displays
- Old Ranch Machinery
- Arrowhead and Mineral Collections
- Dolls, Toys and Much More
The Museum is open:
Memorial Day to Mid-September
Monday - Saturday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Sunday, 11:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Adults - $7.00
Children (6-12) - $1.00
Group Rates Available
For Additional Information: Call (970) 641-4530
The Gunnison Valley Observatory provides a facility and setting for the public, amateur astronomer and scientist to come together and share their excitement of astronomy. GVO is developing public telescope viewing programs, educational outreach presentations, and facilities that can support and enrich both the amateur and professional astronomical communities. Visit GVO's website at gunnisonobservatory.org
Archaeology – The Tenderfoot Site
Western State College of Colorado has conducted field schools on the Tenderfoot Site since 1991. When Western began working on the Tenderfoot Site in 1991, their knowledge of the Archaic (hunter-gatherers exploiting a modern, non-Ice Age environment) occupation of western Colorado was based mainly on a few excavations of cave sites and one or two open lithic-scatter sites. Generally, archaeologists had thought that the Archaic inhabitants of western Colorado were highly mobile, living a relatively unchanging and simple lifestyle. Subsistence was thought to be based on seeds and small game. The major technological changes appeared to be an increase in ground-stone, seed-processing implements and changes in the shape of projectile points. Inadequacies in these models began to surface in 1978, when archaeologists in Colorado began to find Archaic houses.
Each summer during Western State College's archaeological field school, free tours are given to the general public and to groups. Transportation from Western State College to the Tenderfoot Site is provided. Visitors should take water, adequate footwear, hats, sunscreen, and insect repellent. To arrange a tour, or for more information, please call (970) 943-2543.