The Rio Grande County
Museum and Cultural Center

See The Cultural and Natural History of the San Luis Valley
Home to the Del Norte Visitors' Center

580 Oak Street
Del Norte, CO 81132
(719) 657-2847

Louise Colville
10-4 Tuesday - Friday
10-2 on Saturday

Donations Appreciated
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Home of the Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center 
The Museum features a community room where seminars, workshops, and lectures take place, as well as a small historical library and a large exhibits display area.  Two Spanish-style courtyards, used for special outdoor events and displays, invite visitors to linger for lunch or a rest.

The Rio Grande County Museum was first opened in 1959 in a room in the county courthouse.  Over the years, the collection outgrew the available space and in 1985, the family of newspaper publisher Dean Hammond donated the land for a new museum home.

The museum offers visitors a glimpse into the cultural and natural history of the area from the Indians and Hispanic settlers, the mountain men fur trappers and traders, to the later settlers who came in search of land, freedom, gold, and silver.

Of special interest in the Del Norte area is the Old Spanish Trail .  Between 1830 and 1848 the Trail was a major trade route running between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Los Angeles, California.  Traces of the original trail can still be seen in the area.

Who would have thought that at one time, Del Norte, Colorado was home to one of the finest telescopes in the entire country! The year was 1885, and the project was the dream of the Reverend George M. Darley of the Presbyterian College of the Southwest. The Observatory was placed high on Lookout Mountain and was the largest telescope west of the Mississippi. Visit the Observatory pages on this site.

This museum offers stimulating learning opportunities for visitors of all ages.  You can view a comprehensive exhibit of Indian rock art here.  Lecture series are offered, in addition to special programs for school children.  Visitors also have the chance to browse through our gift store and view exhibits of contemporary regional artisans.

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Click on any image for a larger view and more information


Traditional Indian Outdoor Oven

Located In The
Museum Courtyard

Jack Hamilton's Western Art
Featured in August, 2000
Jack Hamilton Art Work - Special Exhibit
Fremont's Fourth Expedition into the San Luis Valley FRÉMONT'S FOURTH
Into The
San Luis Valley


Prehistoric and Historic
Images From The
San Luis Valley
Display of Indian Rock Art

Samples of the Work
of Ancient Indians
in the Southwest

Household Tools and Wares
From the Previous Century
Kitchen from the 1900s
Living Room from the 1900s 1900s LIVING ROOM

Furnishings From
The Previous Century

An 1859 Hispanic Settlement
In Rio Grande County

Read a Detailed History
Model of La Loma
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Lifetime Legacies Productions and San Luis Valley Museum Association
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