HISTORY

The museum has continued to change and evolve over the years and has long-range plans for a new museum building and grounds which will house our ever-growing ranching artifacts, machinery, educational displays, and gift shop.

The Ouray County Ranch History Museum (OCRHM) began in 2006 after completing a two-volume Ranching History of Ouray County book set that highlighted interviews with many ranching families of Ouray County. In 2007, the museum leased two classrooms in the Colona Schoolhouse from the Colona Grange #259. The Colona Schoolhouse became the home of the Ouray County Ranch History Museum for ten years.

In 2016, the Museum was offered an opportunity to relocate to Ridgway and move the ranch museum into the 1888/1891 Depot building, which had been owned by the Milt Mitchell family since the mid-1960s. Now situated east of Hartwell Park, the OCRHM includes outdoor displays, among them the 1968 True Grit jail wagon and other ranching machinery.

After moving artifacts, both large and small, into the Depot building, it flourished in the growth of an already expansive collection with newly donated artifacts. A sampling of the museum's exhibits include the following: a schoolroom, a Victorian-era bedroom, the kitchen, a land-&-water room, a kitchen, pantry, family history exhibits, a tool and tack room, and a section highlighting the Western movies created in our area. The ranch museum has future plans to build a new museum complex, which is set to occupy 9.5 of the 16.77 acres of long-term leased land located north of the Depot building and due east of the Ridgway Library. Once the new ranch museum is completed, the Ridgway Railroad Museum will have the opportunity to move their museum into the Depot. This will allow both non-profit organizations to reach out to local citizens with both indoor and outdoor exhibits to tell Ouray County’s rich history of ranching and railroading. 

The museum focuses on preserving and protecting the ranching heritage of Ouray County and its neighboring communities for future generations. The OCRHM Board of Directors is grateful for all the community support and is looking forward to working with the community and others to create this heritage complex in the heart of Ridgway.

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