Local officials got a tour of the remodeled building that will house the new Montezuma Heritage Museum, which is expected to open this summer.
“It has been four years of hard work and is nearly done,” said Ann Brown, chairwoman of the Montezuma County Historical Society Board.
The museum will be at 35 S. Chestnut St., in a 4,800-square-foot building that was donated by the county commissioners in 2018. The building previously housed social services, and was originally built as a Montgomery Wards store in 1957.
A capital campaign for the project has raised $365,000 of the $400,000 goal. The completed remodel construction cost $314,000, and was done by Kimble Construction and Silver Creek Builders.
The front of the building features a stylish facade and outdoor patio.
Indoors, white oak hardwood floors donated by Muscanell Millworks were installed by Andrew Garcia.
The reception desk was created with blocks of wood saved from the historic McElmo Flume, a recently restored piece of irrigation infrastructure east of Cortez.
Pictures and paintings of local history adorn the museum walls.
One of the paintings to hang permanently in the museum was created by early Dolores farmer and rancher Carl Granath in 1910, said museum developer Barbara Staff. He painted it for William Exon, who opened a mercantile store in Dolores in 1909. The building at the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street still stands today and Granath Mesa above Dolores is named in honor of the family.
“We feel the painting captures the agricultural hope and promise of the Dolores and Montezuma valleys framed by Mesa Verde and the Sleeping Ute,” Stagg said.
A sneak peak of the museum will be offered on Historic Preservation Day on May 22, then a grand opening will be held in the summer.
“We are proud of our partnership with the county. The community will have a museum we can all be proud of,” Brown said during the tour.
For more information and to help with fundraising and archival contributions, go to www.montezumamuseum.org