Rio Grande County Museum opens with fall hours

DEL NORTE- Like many organizations throughout the Valley, the Rio Grande County Museum has been closed for a majority of the year but have now been given the go-ahead to open their doors to the public. “It has been a long, hard spring, summer and beginning of fall, but we have got through it so far and things are going well. The Museum is now open regular hours Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Masks are required, but the museum doesn’t provide them. It is exciting to see people again and all have been willing to wear their masks.”

Though the museum was closed to the public, museum staff have been busy behind the scenes making sure everything was ready by the time they were able to open. “As we get into the swing of things again, the exhibit that was done for the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage is still up and can be viewed through the middle of November. A quilt was made with blocks representing the states or territories that gave suffrage to women before the constitutional amendment in 1920. This block represents Colorado and called Colorado Beauty.”

In the monthly newsletter the museum talks about another exhibit stating, “The exhibits will be reworked for next year with a history of Monte Vista notebook. Barbara Deacon had donated a large collection of San Luis Valley Graphic Newspapers and research through those is the beginning of the history.

The first event is the Second Annual Holiday at the Museum Art Show. The opening reception will be Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The show will be catered by Carther Roadhouse; a new business in Del Norte. They have some exciting ideas about a refreshment table.

The art show will feature San Luis Valley artists. Evelyn Sprouse-Rowe, Darwin Thompson, John Patterson, Albert Kahan, Laura Lunsford, Marian Schlagbaum, Mary Susan Eldredge, Martha Kennedy, Cath Moran, Jeanne Norwood and Craig Lehman will be showing their work. This is an exciting group of artists who show well together as there is such a variety of talents and different styles. In keeping with the museum’s mission, it has included two student artists.

Kami Humphreys is a student in the eighth grade in the Pueblo area. She has done work for the museum for several years. Two of her paintings hang in the welcome area of the museum and one was used as a postcard for the museum. Kami has volunteered for the museum for the past several summers, helping to set up and serve ice cream for the Covered Wagon Days Ice Cream Social. She and her grandmother are museum members.

Jayden Powell-Gates is a third grader in the Upper Rio Grande School District who loves his artwork and is greatly encouraged by his art teacher, Susie Carrasco. Jayden spends a great deal of time in the museum as his great grandmother is the director. He also does volunteer work such as washing the glass cases, help to move books in the museum library and does a good job with the vacuum sweeper. He is trying his hand at some sculptures.

It is important to give young artists a place where they can show their work. Hopefully, this spring we will be able to do the school art show again. There is a showing that can be viewed in the museum of what the students of Ms. Carrasco and Dan Roesch did with their students. Thanks to the Upper Rio Grande School District for their commitment to the arts.

One of the artists, Martha Kennedy, has a photo of a drawing that she did as a 6-year old. She drew this when she would travel from Denver to Alamogordo where her father was doing research. She now paints professionally, as well as, writes and publishes books. The painting is entitled March is the Big Empty and will be shown in the holidays at the Museum Art Show. Darwin Thompson will also be showing his carvings, drawings and watercolors. His carvings will not be for sale, but the watercolor paintings will be, with some of the proceeds going to a special project for the museum.

As we go through the next few weeks, we will bring more information and stories of our talented artists. Most are well known in the valley and southern Colorado.

Just a reminder from the 503(c)3 Museum board that dues will be due again starting in January. However, dues can be paid at any time and pro-rated.

Masks are required, but not provided and social distancing is promoted. Small groups of a maximum of 10 people can be accommodated, but it is suggested that these groups call to schedule a time. It is our goal to protect our visitors as well as our staff as we continue to respond to the COVID virus. For any questions or more information, please call us at (719)657-2847 or email at [email protected] . You can also follow them on Facebook at Rio Grande County Museum


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