After years of intending to go to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, we finally made it – and I’m so glad we did! The Pioneers Museum is located in downtown Colorado Springs, in the building that was formerly the El Paso County Courthouse, and showcases the early history of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. Here’s some pictures and tidbits about this great local museum!
You can explore the main and second floors of the former courthouse, where there are exhibits on photography of the Pikes Peak region, Van Briggle art, Pikes Peak tourism, Native American history, and of course, an exhibit about General William Jackson Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs.
There’s also an exhibit on the history of medicine in the Pikes Peak region. Many tuberculosis patients came to the Springs in the early 1900s to enjoy the dry air and sunshine, which was thought to ease the symptoms of disease. You can look inside one of the small huts that TB patients lived in at the Modern Woodmen Sanitourium, and there are other displays of old medical equipment that will surely make you grateful for the advancements we’ve had in medical technology!
Other exhibits rotate throughout the year.
The main courtroom is open to museum visitors, and it looks much like you would imagine it did 100 years ago! As a fan of the Perry Mason TV series, I was thrilled to learn that they actually filmed two episodes at the El Paso County Courthouse.
One of the most fun parts of the museum is being able to ride in the birdcage elevator – it’s quite an experience if you’ve only ever ridden in a modern elevator! You operate the elevator yourself and if there’s no one waiting, they probably won’t mind if you go up and down a few times!
Now, I love learning about Colorado Springs’ history, but I also have four children aged six and under who can barely read, much less love learning about history. However, I’m happy to report that we had a great time, in great part due to the picture hunt that the museum provides for kids.
When you check in at the front desk, they will offer your kids a paper that has small thumbnails of varies items that can be found in the museum. The objective is to find each of the objects and place an X in the box next to the item – when you finish, the front desk will give you a couple of bookmarks and a coloring paper.
My six-year-old loved this, and was very serious about finding all of the objects. (It was less interesting for my younger ones, of course, but they still had fun tagging along.) I don’t know how many museums do something like this, but it’s a brilliant way to keep kids interested in the tour!
If you haven’t been to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum yet, do it! It’s free, and I think you’ll have a great time. Bring some change so that you can operate the giant antique cash register in the lobby (and donate a few cents to the museum while you’re at it).
You can get more information on the museum here.