Love History? Take a Road Trip and Explore Holiday Treasures Around our State

(Photo courtesy of Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society)

Santa’s Lighted Forest Trains, Holiday Teas, Winter Warriors, and So Much More at History Colorado this December

Around the Centennial State, our museums and sites have a variety of holiday offerings meant to engage communities, past and present, through celebration. From holiday teas to Santa’s train rides, there’s something for everyone at History Colorado sites statewide this holiday season.

History Colorado’s Holiday Offerings:
Holiday Tea | Denver, CO
Center for Colorado Women’s History | December 2, 7, 9, 14 & 16, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 – 2 p.m.
Tickets ($30 – 35) and additional information available here.
Bring your loved ones and your bes-teas to celebrate the holiday season at the Center for Colorado Women’s History. Featuring the beloved Lady Evans black tea, and a variety of sweet and savory snacks from Miss Peabody’s Southern Tea Cakes, these events will leave you brimming with holiday cheer!

Each Holiday Tea at the Center for Colorado Women’s History includes a docent-led tour of the historic house museum in all of its holiday splendor, followed by an hour-long tea seating. There are two seatings for the Holiday Tea events, one at 10:30 a.m. and another at 12:30 p.m. Some dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advanced notice provided you contact Margaux Miller at margaux.miller@state.co.us at least 3 days in advance of your tea event! Finally, tickets for these special events sell fast, so be sure to reserve your spots for either the 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. event times!

Georgetown Loop Holiday Trains | Georgetown, CO
Georgetown Loop Railroad | Multiple dates and times throughout December and January
The Holiday season is here and Georgetown Loop Railroad is happy to host its annual Winter Holiday Trains from December 1 – January 7. Located forty-five miles west of Denver, the Georgetown Loop Railroad is one of Colorado’s most authentic living history experiences which offers daily train rides through scenic and snowy vistas on Santa’s Rocky Mountain Adventure, as well as evening journeys in Santa’s Lighted Forest featuring more than 300,000 holiday lights. The holiday season even extends into the New Year at the Georgetown Loop Railroad with a Victorian Holiday Celebration train that runs December 26 – January 7! Tickets to all of the Georgetown Loop Railroad’s holiday offerings sell out quickly, so be sure to reserve yours now!

Annual Christmas Holiday Festival | Montrose, CO
Ute Indian Museum | December 2, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy the work of Colorado artisans and be merry at the Ute Indian Museum’s Annual Christmas Holiday Festival! This seasonal event is the perfect opportunity to explore various arts and crafts vendors while warming up with fresh fry bread, bidding at the silent auction, and receiving free admission to the museum! No tickets or reservations are needed for this holiday event. So come on down to the Ute Indian Museum and join us in celebrating the holiday season at this free event.

Cookie Exchange | Trinidad, CO
Trinidad History Museum | December 2, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Grab your favorite holiday cookie recipe and get ready to swap for some new treats! For the cookie exchange, please bring at least two dozen of your best sweet treats to compete for honorable titles such as “Most Creative Cookies”, “Best Tasting”, and more! Prizes will be awarded, but everyone will be going home with a variety of cookies and new recipes. The event is completely free, but RSVP is required. Please RSVP to Millie at emily.duren@state.co.us or (719) 846-7217.

Decorations on Display | Trinidad, CO
Trinidad History Museum | Fridays and Saturdays throughout December
Tickets ($3-5) and additional information available here.
Join the Trinidad History Museum for extended hours every Friday and Saturday through the holiday season! With beautifully lit pathways, spectacular outdoor lighting, and sensational seasonal decor, these cozy nights spent with warm beverages and loved ones is a great way to embrace the festivities.

Admission to the museum on these winter nights is $5, but our History Colorado members receive discounted entry for $3. Tickets can be purchased in advance here, or you can donate an unopened toy to the Trinidad History Museum’s month-long toy drive and receive free admission! For more information, please contact Millie at emily.duren@state.co.us or (719) 846-7217.

Holiday Tea Events at the Trinidad History Museum | Trinidad, CO
Trinidad History Museum | December 9, 16, & 23, 2 – 4 p.m.
Tickets ($10-15) and additional information available here.
Don’t miss the opportuni-tea to enjoy a warm beverage with a mountain town view at the Trinidad History Museum. Listed below are this season’s Holiday Tea events, which are all hosted in the historic Bloom Mansion and feature perfectly curated blends from the Trinidad Tea Company:

  • On December 9, the Mad Hatter’s Winter Wonderland embraces the whimsey of the holiday season with a nod to the comical Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter

  • On December 16The Nutcracker Tea Party brings the beloved ballet to life! Reimagine the iconic Christmas classic with every sip of a perfectly brewed cup

  • On December 23, the Victorian Christmas Party requests your attendance to enjoy rich teas and decadent snacks while wearing your best attire

Have questions or want to reserve your spot? Please contact Millie at (719) 846-7217 or at emily.duren@state.co.us or purchase your tickets online!

Holiday Kids Cultural Craft Class | Montrose, CO
Ute Indian Museum | December 10, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Tickets ($5-10) and additional information available here.
Join the Ute Indian Museum’s Holiday Kids Cultural Craft Class and unleash some creativity! During the class, students will learn how to craft a one-of-a-kind Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer ornament to ring in the holidays. Great for families, kids, and craft-savvy people alike, this course is a perfect way to get into the season. Each ticket includes museum admission and craft supplies for one child. Parents are welcome to accompany their children for free, but if you’re hoping to craft your own reindeer, please purchase a ticket for yourself as space and supplies are limited!

History Colorado 2024 Tours & Treks Summit | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | December 13, 6 – 8 p.m.
Give the gift of adventure this holiday season! During History Colorado’s 2024 Tours & Treks Summit, our team will unveil new thrilling overnight escapades, informative walking tours, and one-of-a-kind events enriching our understanding of the Centennial State’s history and beyond. These experiences are perfect presents for friends and loved ones or as an opportunity to indulge in a self-care excursion of your own – because you’re just as important! Regardless of your intentions for travel and exploration, History Colorado has you covered. For more information and to reserve your free ticket for the Summit, please visit the event listing available here.

Blaxplanation presents Spirit at the Mountaintop: A Holiday Gift to the Community- Documentary and Panel | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | December 16, 1 – 3 p.m.
History Colorado’s Blaxplanation team is proud to partner with Adam M. Dempsey and Lincoln Hills Cares to present a free screening of Spirit at the Mountaintop. Directed and produced by DempseySpirit at the Mountaintop, is the story of the Shorter AME Church and a celebration of the extensive, beautiful history of the Black Community in Colorado as told through the story of one of the Centennial State’s first Black churches.

Following the screening of Spirit at the MountaintopTerri Gentry, History Colorado’s engagement manager for Black communities, will moderate a discussion with Dempsey and Black history expert Terry Nelson that dives deeper into the cultural importance of Black churches and answers audience questions. In addition to the documentary showing and panel, there will be free Blaxplanation swag, hot chocolate, and treats to usher in the holiday season at this free event, so RSVP today!

REVEALED: John Fielder’s Favorite Place | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | On Display Now!
Enjoy snowy landscapes from the comfort and warmth of History Colorado Center this winter season through the enchanting and sublime imagery captured in REVEALED: John Fielder’s Favorite Place! In REVEALED, visitors follow the renowned nature photographer across glacial cirques and over 13,000-foot passes where the high alpine lakes reflect riotous wildflowers and spectacular sunrises. Through a combination of well-worn equipment and breathtaking photography, the exhibition captures the magic all Coloradans– and numerous tourists– feel when immersed in the Centennial State’s vast mountainscapes.

Have a John Fielder fan in your life? Or, are you reminiscing about an all-too-quick Colorado summer? Give yourself, the nature buff, or the history buff in your life a History Colorado membership today and enjoy a print from John Fielder’s favorite place – Reflections at the Uppermost Pond in Sunlight Basin – on us! This print is exclusive to the 2023 holiday season and will never be sold in our retail stores in-person or online. To ensure you, or a loved one, receives this gorgeous and limited print before the holidays, please sign up or renew your membership digitally before December 12 or in-person before December 24.

New Exhibitions and Programs
New Exhibition- Winter Warriors: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | Now On Display!
The History Colorado Center’s newest exhibition, Winter Warriors: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II, uses photos, video, and first-hand personal accounts from the troops themselves to explore the dynamic history of the US Army’s first winter warfare division. Follow these soldiers who were forged in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains from their training at Camp Hale through their crucial breakthrough against the Nazi German Army in the mountains of Italy. Displayed in the newly opened marquee exhibition gallery, this more than 5,000-square-foot exhibition takes visitors on a multi-sensory journey that explores the history of the 10th Mountain Division in more detail than ever before!

Hands-On History Winter Camps | Throughout Colorado
History Colorado’s community museums are proud to present accessible, engaging, and exciting enrichment for kids outside the classroom. Hands-On History is a collection of unique education programs providing participatory history and culture-based offerings for students from grades 1 to 8 (ages 6 to 14). Listed below are the Hand-On History Winter Camps that still have spots available this season, as well as their locations, dates, and themes:

  • The El Pueblo History Museum’s “Wonderful Winter: Snow Much Fun” camp , January 2 – 5, treats campers to a chance to have the perfect winter through winter sports, blanket forts, fireside folktales, and so much more!

  • The Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center’s, Winter Camp , January 3 – 5, provides children with the opportunity to explore, learn, cook, and sample traditional foods from the San Luis Valley

  • Trinidad History Museum’s Winter Camp, January 2 – 5, explores how art techniques and materials– from pottery and paper to quilting and more– have changed over time

  • Last, but not least, the Ute Indian Museum’s Winter Culture Camps, December 27 – 29 & February 19 – 21, immerse children in the rich traditions, spirituality, and living culture of the Ute people

Interested in signing up? Please follow the links above for additional information (such as cost, camp times, and opportunities for tuition assistance) as well as contact information for the respective education coordinators.

December Events
First Friday of the Month Coffee | Leadville, CO
Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin | December 1, 10 – 11 a.m.
Connect with the Leadville community through the comforts of coffee and biscuits. Starting December 1, and continuing on the first friday of every month, Leadville’s own Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin will host a free social gathering meant to exchange stories, make new friends, and eat delicious food. First Friday of the Month Coffee is open to the public and each cup of coffee is on us!

Museum of Memory- Whittier Neighborhood | Denver, CO
Ford-Warren Branch Library | December 2, 1 – 4 p.m.
Join History Colorado’s latest Museum of Memory project highlighting the Whittier Neighborhood. This event is the next in a series of workshops designed to engage, collect, restore, and commemorate the histories of the Whittier Neighborhood community. Facilitated by History Colorado’s Engagement Manager for Black Communities, Terri Gentry, and the Ford-Warren Library, this event allows former and current Whittier Neighborhood community members to share their experiences and inform this public history project.

House Museum Book Club | Denver, CO
Center for Colorado Women’s History | December 3, 12:30 – 2 p.m.
Join the Center for Colorado Women’s History, and the Molly Brown House Museum, online or in-person for a collaborative book club hosted by two of Denver’s historic house museums. On December 3 at 12:30 p.m., book club members are discussing Alice Tubbs: The Straight Story, A Lady Gambler in the Wild West by Morton Duckworth. This event is free but requires registration in advance. Please email Cat Jensen at cat.jensen@state.co.us to register.

Rocky Mountain Map Society presents “The Navigation of the Colorado-X Now, and Then” with India Wood | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | December 5, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Venture through the charted– but relatively unexplored– lands of the Centennial State through the expeditions of cartophile India Wood. During the lecture, Wood, a Colorado local, details the processes she underwent after drawing an X across the state map and endeavoring to traverse the Centennial state as close as possible to those intersecting lines. Throughout the evening, Wood will compare her goals, navigation methods, maps, and obstacles that shaped her own journey to those of 19th century explorers like Zebulon Pike, Stephen Long, and John Fremont. Tickets for this event are free, but an RSVP is required. For additional information on Wood, the Rocky Mountain Map Society, or to make your reservation, please view the event posting here.

Low Sensory Morning | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | December 9, 8 – 10 a.m.
The History Colorado Center is happy to open its doors for families who prefer a lower sensory museum environment. The museum will be closed to the general public, attendance limited, and sounds in the exhibitions turned down to ensure an accessible experience for all. Come and enjoy! Admission is free and space is limited, so an RSVP is required.

Auraria Mural Community Open House | Denver, CO
St. Cajetan’s | December 9, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Please join the Auraria Mural Project, supported by History Colorado’s Museum of Memory Initiative, in honoring and centering the Auraria community’s long-standing history in Denver. This Community open house provides a unique opportunity for the Auraria community to share various themes, hopes, and experiences that local artists Silas “JOLT” Ulibarri and Ezra Herrera will utilize in transforming the downtown campus’s Plaza building.

For more information about campus parking, the artists, and how to reserve your free ticket, please visit the event listing here. Additionally, the Displaced Aurarians Neighborhood Memory Project is currently available to view online featuring various resources, the Auraria Neighborhood database, and oral histories.

Lessons From the Pauper Graves: What 19th Century Irish Deaths Can Teach Us About the 21st Century | Leadville, CO
Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin | December 9, 6 p.m.
Join the Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin staff in hosting Professor Dr. James Walsh, and local Leadville panelists, in a discussion examining the lives of 19th century paupers and comparing them with 21st century immigrant workers. Dr. Walsh specializes in labor, working class, and immigration history/politics, and has extensively researched the Catholic Pauper graves in Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery as well as the Leadville Irish Memorial. Throughout the evening, discover how Walsh’s research on Irish immigrant paupers correlates to the current challenges of immigrant workers in mountain communities. This discussion is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided for the evening. For additional information, please contact the Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin at (719) 486-0487.

Community Table Presents: Zero Waste Cooking and History Workshop | Denver, CO
CSU Spur | December 12, 6 – 8 p.m.
Join History Colorado for its new culinary-centric event series, Community Table, which explores Colorado’s diverse cultures, communities, and stories through culinary wisdom. Developed to make the historical personal, this Community Table event is hosted in collaboration with CSU Spur and focuses on the rich history of the zero-waste movement in America from its wartime roots to modern initiatives. Attendees of the Zero Waste Cooking and History Workshop will engage in a cooking workshop hosted by Paula Thomas, owner of The Ecological Kitchen, followed by a discussion led by History Colorado’s Curator of Business and Industry, Dr. Rachel Storm.

This event is open and free for the public, but reservations are required and space is limited. For additional information and to RSVP, please view the event listing here or contact Ani Steele at ani.steele@state.co.us or (303) 866-2785.

Vecinos Community Coffee | Fort Garland, CO
Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center | December 14, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Join Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center staff for some warm beverages and even better platica with your neighbors. This free event, hosted on the second Thursday of each month, provides space for community sharing and gathering. Parking is available at the back entrance. We look forward to sharing our afternoon coffee with you!

Paint Night at Fort Garland | Fort Garland, CO
Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center | December 15, 6 – 8 p.m.
Tickets ($25) and additional information available here.
Explore some of the Centennial State’s historic places and iconic landmarks through art! Led by local artist and educator Taylor Hubbard, this relaxing painting experience brings Costilla County and the San Luis Valley right to your canvas. Perfect for date night or a catch-up with friends, Paint Night at Fort Garland is a great way to immerse yourself in Colorado’s breathtaking and historic landscape. Tickets for this after-hours event will go quickly, so make sure to purchase your tickets today!

Book Club | Trinidad, CO
Trinidad History Museum | December 16, 10 – 11 a.m.
Join the Trinidad History Museum’s Book Club for a discussion about December’s book-of-the-month: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. Every other month, the Trinidad Book Club comes together to talk about a book set in or related to Colorado (but varied in genre and theme). This month, the well-received horror fiction and thriller novel, The Only Good Indians, is bound to spark fruitful discussions surrounding themes on tradition, identity, and guilt. To sign up for this month’s conversation, or to learn more about Book Club, please contact Millie at emily.duren@state.co.us or at (719) 846-7217.

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 144-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and 10 other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information. #HistoryColorado

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