Knowing where you have been is vital to a rural community’s future. Having the knowledge and understanding of your history can help build the basis for a much greater appreciation of today. That sentiment was the foundation for the past four years of hard work done by the Montezuma County Historical Society Board.
After finally finding a permanent place to call home, the board is getting ready to open the doors to their new museum and begin to showcase the stories of Montezuma County. “We are proud of our partnership with the county. The community will have a museum we can all be proud of,” said Ann Brown, Chairwoman of the Montezuma County Historical Society Board. The building formerly housed the County Social Services Offices, but after moving their location to the new Justice Center, the Montezuma County Commissioners offered the space as a permanent home for the museum in 2018
The society will now be able to display its historical artifacts, photos, family histories, and other memorabilia in the new Montezuma Heritage Museum, a dream in the making for more than 60 years. But keeping track of all the collections that had been stored in several different spaces over the years was a challenge. The artifacts had made the rounds in the County being stored in the basement of the old city hall, in the library, in the senior center, and the federal courthouse basement. Gathering the inventory of all these items and cataloging them was needed.
That’s when the Historical Society contacted USDA Rural Development for assistance. The Community Facilities (CF) Program was a great fit. The program provides loan and grant funds to construct, expand or improve facilities that provide education, health care, public safety, and other public services. Working with our local Cortez office, the society was able to apply for and receive a $6,700 CF Grant to purchase computer equipment.
With the final preparations complete and the inventory accounted for, in May 2021 the Society offered a sneak peek of the museum on Historic Preservation Day. However, Montezuma County residents and visitors will have to wait a bit longer for the official grand opening which is slated to be held later this summer.