Museum of Northwest Colorado debuts its remodel

— The Museum of Northwest Colorado is debuting its remodel, artifacts and a brand-new train diorama for Railroad Day on Thursday, which happens to be the 100th anniversary of when the railroad came to Craig.

The remodel revamped three floors and added 4,000 square feet, bumping the building’s square footage to 15,000. Two of the reworked rooms will be used for historic exhibits.

Community members can explore the museum’s new digs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and the Craig Chamber of Commerce will host a mixer that day from 5 to 7 p.m.

The remodel also expanded storage space for a variety of historical relics.

“We’re going to have organized storage,” said Jan Gerber, assistant director of the museum. “It’ll be better cared for.”

That’s largely because of the new heating and cooling system, said Dan Davidson, director of the museum. They completely replaced the out-of-date boiler and now have state-of-the-art temperature and humidity control.

The projected cost was $150,000, but Davidson said that because of unforeseen issues, the museum went over budget. Museum funding comes from storing artifacts on state land and mineral land leases — a huge source of revenue for the museum.

They’ve gone above budget “because we’ve done more,” he said. “There’s been some extra stuff. There’s some roof work that’s going to be happening.”

A lift also will be installed so anyone can go up to the second floor of the museum.

The staff is excited for Railroad Day, “100 years to the day of the railroad coming to Craig,” Gerber said.

“No single thing made a bigger economic impact on the economy than the railroad,” Davidson said.

A new train diorama — created by Rand Hood, who has made detailed and historically accurate dioramas for the museum — will be on display.

Davidson equally is excited about new the artifacts that now are on display.

Another exciting feature of the remodel debut is the Gerard Delano artwork called “Mountain Man.”

Delano painted the culture of the West, Davidson said.

“They showed different parts of the settlement of the West,” he said.

The painting also was displayed in the historical Cosgriff Hotel for about 20 years.

Community members interested in the open house will receive refreshments, and those wanting to attend the mixer must RSVP to Shannon Moore at 970-824-5689 or office@craig-chamber.com.

Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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