ANTONITO — The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area has partnered with the Conejos County Commissioners to reopen the Conejos Museum in Antonito. The Conejos County Museum and Visitor Center preserves the history of the people, cultures and towns of Antonito, Sanford, La Jara, Manassa and Mogote.
SdCNHA will now manage the building and will be open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting in late April. Conejos County is one of the three counties within the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, due to its rich history in the development of the state of Colorado.
“We are excited to partner with the Conejos County Commissioners on this project. It’s our hope to expand upon the existing exhibits and showcase the beauty, and unique culture and history of the heritage area,” said Tori Martinez, executive director for SdCNHA.
The heritage area is looking for volunteers to help with cleaning up the landscape surrounding the museum and painting the exterior of the building on a community work day, which will take place on Saturday, April 7. The museum is also in need of a few donations. There is a need for a flat screen television with USB connections. The flat screen will be used to show the oral history videos of the Voices of the Valley project. In addition some high quality headphones are also needed that can be connected to the television.
SdCNHA is also asking members of the community for donations of items that are significant to the culture and people of the area to add to the collection already housed at the museum. The current museum collection has a wildlife display courtesy of the Department of Wildlife that includes a black bear, mountain lion, antelope, ram, mountain goat, and otter. Donations sought include items that showcase the SPMDTU, the Conejos land grant, items regarding the Rio Grande and the Cumbres trains and the historic settlement to the area.
The heritage area is redesigning the interior signage of the museum, as such they are opening up the opportunity to local graphic designers who would like to volunteer their time to assist with this project. In addition, cash donations will be used to improve exhibits and create the interpretive signage.
In February Matt Wilson from National Park Service visited the museum. After meeting with County Commissioner Mitchell Jarvies and County Administrator Tressesa Martinez, Wilson provided a detailed report to Martinez regarding recommendations for the future of the museum.
Thus far, gracious volunteers, like Antonito local Jonathan Armenta, have helped to paint the interior walls of the museum, the interior floor, and rearrange exhibits. Jonathan said, “It’s been a privilege to help the heritage area and it’s a lot of fun learning more about the history of the Valley.”
To volunteer for the community work day, donate items or funds, or for more information about creating signage please contact SdCNHA at [email protected] or 580-4070. To learn more about SdCNHA visit www.sdcnha.org