| Story by Kathryn R. Burke
[Ouray County, Colorado]The museum features exhibits on ranching life. Included are tools, furniture, cooking and homemaking items, linens, photographs, books, and western art. The collection is impressive.
An interactive children's exhibit keeps the kids busy while parents browse.
The newest exhibit (see images, right), "Blood, Sweat, and Rhinestones," showcases some of the area's rodeo and wild west show performers and western movie stars. The transition from ranch to arena to the "silver screen" was a natural one. What is suprising —and well displayed here — is the number of women who excelled as performers in both rodeo and wild west shows. Anna Lee Aldred, Mamie Fancis Hafley, and Reine Hafley Shelton all had ties to this area, and were big names in the arena.
The Ouray County Ranch History Museum opens each summer, May-September, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday. The museum is also open throughout the year to groups and individuals by appointment. Admission to the Museum is free, but donations are requested. For more information on Ranch Museum programs, membership, how to make donations, information about events, displays, and space availability, please contact the museum."
Early rodeo was truly a spectator sport. (Above) There were no barriers between the performers
and the audience, who often had to scramble to get out of the way.
After retiring from racing Anna Lee Aldred (right) became a trick rider, performing at rodeos throughout the US. In her later years she was a familiar sight volunteering to work around the stables at the Montrose County Fair.
Througout the year the museum and the grange offer special events, including music and storytelling, often serving potluck. The old school serves as a community center as well as a grange and museum, and has a long history of opening its doors to local folks.Within the museum, a small gift area offers books, cards, coffee mugs, and other items with a donation to the museum. These items may be ordered by contacting museum curator Jane Bennett.