Dan Davidson, Museum of Northwest Colorado director, talks about a horsehair headstall Wednesday that was created in the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins, Wyo. The item is part of a new museum exhibit titled "Passing of the Old West," which premiers Sunday.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Dan Davidson, Museum of Northwest Colorado director, talks about a horsehair headstall Wednesday that was created in the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins, Wyo. The item is part of a new museum exhibit titled "Passing of the Old West," which premiers Sunday.

Exhibit portrays 100 years of cultural changes

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If you go

What: "Passing of the Old West" opening reception

When: 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave.

Cost: There is no cost to view the exhibit. For more information, call 824-6360 or visit www.museumnwco.or...

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This work, titled "The Prospector," was created by Gerard Curtis Delano and is an example of many artists' work that will be on display as part of the new exhibit at the Museum of Northwest Colorado. The exhibit is meant to show the changing times of the west, from 1850 to 1950, depicted through art.

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Museum director Dan Davidson talks about a Delano painting on display in the "Passing of the Old West" exhibit.

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The "Passing of the Old West" exhibit spans the second floor of the museum, and its opening reception is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Grand Olde West Days schedule

Grand Olde West Days, a three-day festival, begins this weekend in Craig. Here are the events scheduled for Saturday through Monday at various locations:

Saturday:

• 8 a.m. Antique tractor pull, 312 Yampa Ave.

• 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cowboy Action Shoot, Bears Ears Sportsman's Club

• 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Brown's Amusements Carnival, Moffat County Fairgrounds

• 2 p.m. Craig Lions Club parade

• 5 p.m. VIP ticket holder's reception, Fairgrounds

• 7 p.m. Lane Frost Bull Riding Competition, Fairgrounds

• 9 p.m. Cowboy Disco Dance, Fairgrounds pavilion

• 9 p.m. Buckin' Bull Challenge, Fairgrounds pavilion

Sunday:

• 8 a.m. Antique tractor pull, 312 Yampa Ave.

• 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cowboy Action Shoot, Bears Ears Sportsman's Club

• 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Brown's Amusements Carnival, Fairgrounds

• 1 p.m. Warrior Freestyle Motorcycle stunt show, Fairgrounds area

• 3 p.m. Museum of Northwest Colorado art show preview with live music, 590 Yampa Ave.

Monday:

• 8 a.m. Flapjack feed, Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, 485 Yampa Ave.

• 8 a.m. Antique tractor pull, 312 Yampa Ave.

• 8 a.m. 5K Fun Run sponsored by the Rack Pack Relay Team (pre-registration encouraged)

• 9 a.m. Annual Car Show, downtown Craig. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Yampa Avenue Street Festival, downtown Craig

• 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Brown's Amusements Carnival, Fairgrounds

Employees at the Museum of Northwest Colorado spent Wednesday preparing for Sunday's launch of a new exhibit they said is rich in history and dollar value.

"Passing of the Old West," an exhibit that's been six months in the making, contains more than 35 paintings and about 40 artifacts. The exhibit's premier showing is scheduled for 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, during the 19th annual Grand Olde West Days celebration.

The exhibit, according to the museum, "portrays the story of change which came to the Western United States from 1850 to 1950, through the eyes of a number of well-known artists.

"This change," according to a museum summary of the exhibit, "always took place through hard work and sacrifice, and many times, conflict. : The Western artifacts within this exhibit bear witness as participants and survivors in that period of change."

Eight institutions and thirteen individuals - in locations such as Colorado, Wyoming and Texas - loaned art or artifacts to the museum for the exhibit.

In terms of acquiring pieces from outside sources, "Passing of the Old West" rates as one of the museum's biggest exhibits, museum director Dan Davidson said.

Wednesday morning, Davidson toured the museum's second floor, where the exhibit is located, showing off its assortment of pieces. From one corner of the second floor to the other, the pieces illustrate the evolution of the West over time.

"What we're trying to do is sort of recreate that (change)," the museum director said.

Davidson, it seems, is impressed with the quality of the pieces the museum has acquired for the exhibit, which runs through the end of the year.

He began his Wednesday review of the second floor with paintings and drawings produced by Gerard Curtis Delano, a Denver-area artist whose work was prominently displayed in Craig in the former Cosgriff Hotel, from 1958 to the late 1970s or early 1980s, Davidson said.

The museum modeled its new exhibit off Delano's exhibit at the Cosgriff, which also chronicled through artwork the tides of change on the cultural Western landscape and was titled "Passing of the Old West."

Delano died in 1972, but his work has remained popular.

One of Delano's pieces sold for $1.2 million a year ago, the museum director said. A reprint of that work is on display on the second floor.

His works displayed at the museum include the titles "The Chisholm Trail," "The Prospector," "Two Deer" and "Storm Clouds in the Desert."

The exhibit also has a display of cowboy gear, including a pair of boots from 1880s Utah with spurs made in Rifle, posters from Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, and a saddle made in 1902 or 1903 in Craig specifically for Buffalo Bill, one of the West's most colorful figures.

And for history buffs who enjoy a little more edge to the items they view, there is a collection on Bob Meldrum.

Meldrum was the topic of a recent museum article in the Craig Daily Press. In that article, the museum referred to Meldrum as "The last of the bad good guys," a description, given his history, that is perhaps fitting.

"They said he was an 'equal opportunity killer,'" Davidson said Wednesday, while standing over a glass case containing Meldrum's 105-year-old Colt firearm, which was made in May 1904.

The collection also contains a drawing by Meldrum, a man who the museum article described as someone who "stood on both sides of the law at various times in his life," made while in prison in Wyoming.

Meldrum's drawing depicts an 1898 shooting at a bar in Dixon, Wyo., between barkeeper and patron.

And there are many other artifacts in the exhibit, including spurs, olden handcuffs, saddles and firearms, most of them with rich histories.

"We wanted to show artistry," said Davidson, looking into a case containing a handmade horsehair headstall, "and not just from the painters. : Certainly, you had to be talented to put something like that together."

The Termo Company and the Susan M. Lindsey Trust are sponsoring the "Passing of the Old West" exhibit.

Sunday's opening reception at the museum will include:

• Fiddle and guitar music from the John Wayne Band from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

• Music by Pickly Pair from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

• A book signing by Queeda Mantle Walker, author of the "The Mantle Ranch" and "Last Ranch in Hell's Canyon" from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The Museum of Northwest Colorado is located at 590 Yampa Ave. For more information, call 824-6360 or visit www.museumnwco.org.

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