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About the Collections

The Museum cares for an extensive collection with items dating back to the 1880s. The stories from Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley are cared for in our archives and displayed in our exhibit hall. It is the responsibility of the Museum to maintain and conserve the history that has been entrusted in our care. It is our privilege to share this vast collection with all of you.

We are committed to caring for our historic collections according to the best standards and practices. In 2017, the CBM underwent the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) provided by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) with a follow-up conducted in 2018. In 2020, the Museum completed the Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) granted by the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC). Through programs like these, curatorial staff and volunteers continue to receive training and guidance on how to best care for our community’s collections.

Total Catalogued Records 1993-2020

Every year the Museum receives new artifacts into its collection. Each item takes an average of 30min to catalogue and house.

Photograph Records

Photographs are a glimpse into the past, making them one of the most significant collections within the Museum.

Archival records

Archives are made up of personal documents, memoirs, books, newspapers an more! These are integral in understanding the past.

Object Records

From fire hose carts to checker pieces, the Museum stewards a diverse collection of historic objects.

Volunteer Hours in 2019

The Museum relies on dedicated volunteers to catalogue, assist events and maintain our largest historic artifact, our building.

Visitors in 2019

Visitors from around the world are transported through time as they walk our historic floors and explore local history.

2019 Exhibit Visitors

Our exhibits aim to put the present in context, providing history on the stories that matter most to you.

Years of Collection Stewardship

We seek out meaningful and diverse historic artifacts and stories, safeguarding all collections.

Living History Initiative

Like communities large and small around the world, the people of Crested Butte are living through a once-in-a-generation event. A global pandemic found its way into our home at the end of the road faster and more furiously than anyone expected. Its impacts are already so far reaching—and still we can only speculate as to what the near and distant future holds.  Have a story to tell or a photo to share from living through COVID-19 in Crested Butte?  Submit it here!

Archival Research

The Gunnison Valley is full of stories, many that still need to be uncovered. The Crested Butte Museum conducts research of the archives to support exhibits and educational events. This research can include examining photos, letters, official records and much more! The Crested Butte Museum has catalogued just over 19,000 items as of 2020.

Do you have a research request for your own project? Contact the Curator for more info or to schedule an appointment.

Research FAQ

How can I obtain information or material from the museum archives?

There are two options. The Curator can search the archives in order to fulfill your inquiry or you may make an appointment in order to visit the archives for on site research under the supervision of the Curator. Both options require a Research Request Form to be filled out.

How long will it take to receive research after my request is submitted?

Please allow two weeks for the Curator to attend to your request and include a deadline for results. After your request has been accepted, Museum staff will prepare an estimate for expected research time and pending your approval we will undertake research and send an invoice upon completion.

What are the fees a research request? How about an in-person session?

The Museum charges $25.00 per hour for research services including supervision and searches. The first half hour of research is free.

How can material from the archives be used?

Photo reproductions can be used for most educational or research purposes. If you intend to reproduce the photos for commercial or public use, other regulations may apply. A Photo Policy Form will be provided by museum staff if you require any photographic services.

Does the Museum have pictures of my historic home?

Sometimes we do, but it is not guaranteed. We recommend that you reach out to the County Assessor’s Office and the Building Department at the Town of Crested Butte first and then visit the museum with the information you have found. We can often find more information based on the names of people that lived in the home than we can when using the address. See “Resources for research” for more research options.

Can I find family history at the Museum?

Sometimes, but it is not guaranteed. Provide as many names of people, places, and things to make the most out of a search with the Museum.

View Historic Photos for Purchase

Search & Order Photos

The Crested Butte Museum offers a selection of historic photographs available for purchase. Browse through the gallery on the left to view the current options. Are you looking for a photograph of something specific? Email  curator@crestedbuttemuseum.com to inquire.