Museum of Northwest Colorado Director Dan Davidson stands in front of the Cowboy and Gunfighter exhibit. The back of the museum is getting a $150,000 facelift.

Photo by Noelle Leavitt Riley

Museum of Northwest Colorado Director Dan Davidson stands in front of the Cowboy and Gunfighter exhibit. The back of the museum is getting a $150,000 facelift.

Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig gets a facelift

— The sawed-off shotgun, old horse saddles and train memorabilia at the Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig will have new company when the two new exhibit rooms at the historic building are complete.

The back of the museum is getting a $150,000 remodel that’s sure to make the museum even more of a treasure to Craig.

“The key part I like about the project is that we’re not using any taxpayer money,” museum Director Dan Davidson said.

It’s not yet known when the remodel will be complete, but a portion of the project is expected to be finished by late July.

The old building first was renovated in 1991, when the museum moved from the Moffat County Courthouse into its existing space. It used to be an Army National Guard building, where dances and roller-skating took place in the 1970s.

The state originally owned the building but sold it to Moffat County for $1. That’s when county officials decided to make it a museum to house artifacts from Northwest Colorado.

The back of the museum was in desperate need of renovation. It had a stage with lights that used to be a sitting area for museum guests. The new area will give Davidson and staff more storage space in addition to exhibit space.

APH Construction started the remodel June 10, making it a little noisier than usual with hammering and drilling. Yet the noise didn’t drive away museum fanatics.

Ed and Susan Howard, of Gordonville, Texas, took time June 21 to enjoy each exhibit, despite the construction noise.

“I noticed one of my ancestors here,” Ed Howard said. “He owned a store here” in Craig.

The couple lives in a Burlington Northern caboose in the wintertime and seemed to enjoy the new train exhibit.

Danny Taylor, of Murray, Ky, praised the museum, saying it was better than many of the museums he has visited.

“I’ve been out here several times,” Taylor said. “It’s fantastic. I was at the Buffalo Bill museum, but as far as Western history and folklore, I like this better.”

The museum’s new exhibit space is being partially funded by money that the museum receives for storing old artifacts that were found on state land, which equals about $30,000.

The rest will come from mineral land leases that have been donated to the museum from various Moffat County residents.

The past five years have been extremely fruitful for the museum, as it pulled in about $1.5 million in mineral lease money.

“We get 20 percent of that money every year,” Davidson said. “It’s why we get to do what we’re doing here.”

Noelle Leavitt Riley can be reached at 970-875-1790 or nriley@craigdailypress.com

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