Kremmling’s Heritage Park Museum reopens
July 18, 2008
Kremmling’s Heritage Park Museum has reopened after being closed for several years.
“It’s all fascinating,” said Karen Wischnack, Grand County Historical Association executive director. “It just features Grand County at its best.”
Wischnack said that since the museum has been closed, museum officials have been working to restore the buildings to make them “safe for the public to view.”
However, Wischnack said the museum did open its doors for visitors by special request and on holidays.
Visitors can tour several buildings at the Historic Area Complex, including the 1903 McElroy Barn and Livery. The building is located at its original site and has been fully restored. Visitors can learn how livery stables impacted Kremmling’s early economy.
The Hermitage House was built in the late 1880s and enlarged later. The two-story log ranch house was moved to the site in 1996. The exterior log work is in “excellent” condition, museum officials say, and the interior walls have been restored.
The house shows how pioneers lived versus how we live today, Wischnack said.
“The farming equipment is unbelievable,” she said.
A 1926 Horseshoe Ranger Station, an “attractive” log structure, and a 1940s Fishing Cabin are also located at the museum.
The 1904 Historic Jail is a small building that features displays of early town development and information about the “rogues and rascals who might have frequented the sheriff’s unique facilities.”
“We’ve got some wonderful photo displays in the jail of Kremmling and Grand County as a whole,” Wischnack said. “It’s hard to pick out one particular thing when it’s all good.”
The museum also displays photographs, logging equipment and tools.
Jim Wilson was recently hired as the museum attendant to take care of building maintenance after he found out about the position in the Sky-Hi Daily News.
“I’m a history buff, so I love anything dealing with history,” Wilson said, adding that he likes the blacksmith, livery, agricultural and logging equipment. “I come from a ranching home so that’s kind of neat to me … I’m really still learning about a lot of this stuff as well, which makes it a lot of fun.”
Wilson, 34, plans on helping restore the buildings, as well as taking care of lawn maintenance, painting and giving tours.
He has lived in Kremmling for four years. The Eagle native also is a physical education and English teacher at West Grand High School.
“There’s a lot of constant care that comes with older buildings,” Wischnack said. “It’s nice to have an employee who can take care of the complex but take care of the patrons at the same time.
Volunteers are needed for all three Grand County museums, including Hot Sulphur Springs’ Pioneer Village Museum Complex and Fraser’s Cozens Ranch and Stage Stop Museum. Volunteers help with events and upkeep lawns. The museums are not funded by the state.
Many of the former volunteers are burned out, over-worked, moved or have passed on, Wischnack said.
“We are in desperate need of volunteers,” she said. “We’re all competing for what few volunteers are out there …We are also in a dire need for board members … We try to keep our costs down on everything. We don’t have the money (to hire out) and we can only beg so much.”
The older buildings require a lot of maintenance. Nobody wants them to close because they preserve history and are educational, Wischnack added.
Heritage Park Museum opened last week. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.