New exhibits at Craig’s Museum of Northwest Colorado |

New exhibits at Craig’s Museum of Northwest Colorado

Patrick Kelly
Two visitors to the Museum of Northwest Colorado look at a collection of illustrations by a member of the Lakota Sioux Tribe.
Patrick Kelly

The rich history of the American West is always on display at the Museum of Northwest Colorado and right now several new exhibits are adding to the tale.

Previously unused space in the back of the museum features two exhibits — one detailing the use of stagecoaches in Northwest Colorado and the other offering a rare glimpse into Native American life around the turn of the 19th century through a series of authentic illustrations painted by a Sioux warrior.

Museum Assistant Director Paul Knowles said the stagecoach exhibit was inspired by the fact that Northwest Colorado was one of the last areas in the nation to rely on that form of transportation.

“Really one of the last little pockets where you see people still using it,” he said.

Knowles said while stagecoaches became a novelty for the rest of the nation, they were still heavily relied upon in areas that had not yet been reached by the railroad.

“Those coaches ran longer here than a lot of other places in the country because of the railroad not getting here,” Museum Director Dan Davidson said.

In 1890s, a round-trip ticket from Craig to Rifle would take cost $15 — $390 in today’s currency — and take about 14 hours.

One of the most important functions of the stagecoach was to deliver mail and the driver would often act as source of information for happenings around the region.

“They were considered the rock stars of the day because they were constantly communicating with the outside world,” Knowles said.

The stagecoach exhibit will remain up for the foreseeable future with plans for its expansion.

The other fresh exhibit at the museum is on loan from the Wyoming State Museum and will only be up through January.

The Miller Collection of Sioux Indian Ledger Art contains 116 scenes drawn in the late 1800s by a member of the Lakota Sioux Tribe.

“It’s just a neat perspective from the Native American view,” Davidson said.

Many of the scenes found in the captured ledger are on display at the Museum of Northwest Colorado and depict events including warfare, horse stealing, the Ghost Dance and other aspects of Sioux culture.

“They are from the eyes and the perspective of a culture that not many of us have ever experience,” Knowles said. “I think that is what makes it so fascinating.”

Davidson said there are also several recent exhibits in the upstairs portion of the museum that focus on local cowboy lore and include items from historical figures.

For more information on the museum and its exhibits, visit

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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