Collections & Research
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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 to date
Every year the Museum receives new artifacts into its collection. Each item takes an average of 30 min to catalogue and house.
Photographs are a glimpse into the past, making them one of the most significant collections within the Museum.
Archives are made up of personal documents, memoirs, books, newspapers an more! These are integral in understanding the past.
From fire hose carts to checker pieces, the Museum stewards a diverse collection of historic objects.
Volunteer Hours in 2022
The Museum relies on dedicated volunteers to catalogue, assist events and maintain our largest historic artifact, our building.
Visitors in 2022
Visitors from around the world are transported through time as they walk our historic floors and explore local history.
2022 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!
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 19,729 items as of the end of 2022.
Do you have a research request for your own project? Contact the Curator for more info or to schedule an appointment.
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 [email protected] to inquire.
Donate to the Collections
The Crested Butte Museum accepts artifacts and archival donations on a case by case basis, with collections focusing on cultural materials and stories in alignment with our mission. If you are interested in donating to the Museum’s collections, please review the FAQs and contact [email protected] for any further questions.
Living History Submission
Donate an Artifact
Make an Appointment
Photo Use Policy
Photographic images that are in the care of, or are the property of, the Crested Butte Museum, or photographs, photocopies, or artistic renderings of collection items that are in the care of, or are the property of, the Crested Butte Museum, shall not be reproduced, resold, or used for any purpose without the specific written permission by the Museum. To reproduce an image for personal or commercial use, publication or display on the Internet, the applicant must agree to the following reproduction policy and pay the appropriate fees.
1. Permission is for one time use only per image. Any subsequent use must be requested and granted in writing. Discs must be returned if given to the applicant for printing or web use and copies should not be made.
2. Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum will receive, free of charge a copy of the publication or video in which its images appear.
3. The applicant assumes any and all responsibility for questions of copyright, which may arise from use of these images. In cases where the copyright is held by a third party, written permission must be secured by the applicant from that party or their agent and must accompany the application.
4. Same page credit line “Collection of Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum” and the image number must accompany each image in printed or Internet material. The credit information for digital files must
be integral with the image as it is displayed, so that downloading of images includes the credit line. In film, Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum must be acknowledged in the credits. For exhibition and display, the label must carry the above credit line. Additional photographer’s credit may be required.
5. No images may be used to show or imply that the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum endorses any commercial product or enterprise, or concurs with the opinions expressed in, or the accuracy of, any text used with the images. The Museum may refuse permission to reproduce images if the reproduction does not meet Museum standards, if the reproductions are used in ways which conflict with the purposes of the Museum, or if their use would be detrimental to specimens of the Museum.
6. By completing and signing the final invoice, the user agrees to the terms herein and agrees to pre-pay all applicable fees from Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum’s current fee schedule and any shipping charges if appropriate.
Crested Butte Museum members get a 10% discount on use fees
Research or Student Work – No Fee
Personal or Non-Profit Use
Print Publication: $15
Advertising: Print $50 / Web $75
Print Publication: $30
Advertising: Print $100 / Web $150
Right of Use fees are not for photo reproduction. They are for time associated with providing this service, keeping a properly stored collection and the right to use this collection.
What do we collect?
The Museum has limited space, and therefore only accepts historical items that align with our mission. Our mission is to preserve, share and celebrate the history and traditions of Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley. Through engaging educational and cultural experiences, the Museum connects people to the past, the place, and each other.
The Crested Butte Museum collects artifacts that tell the story of Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley. Artifacts include 3D objects, photographs, ephemera, oral histories, film, books, maps, and much more.
Acquisitions decisions are often weighed against existing holdings—prioritizing gaps that need to be filled in the collection. Newer artifacts (from the last 40 years) are more rarely offered than older (50 years or more). People of Color, Indigenous People, gay or queer people, trans and nonbinary people, immigrants not from Europe, refugees, people with disabilities, minority religious groups, and working class and low income people are underrepresented in the collection and are priorities for collecting.
Does the Crested Butte Museum provide appraisals or value estimates for artifacts?
No. The Crested Butte Museum policy states that no museum staff may appraise or provide value estimates for objects, or recommend an appraiser. To obtain an appraisal value for your materials, please contact the American Society of Appraisers.
Can the Crested Butte Museum provide advice on how to care for or clean an historic object?
Although museum staff cannot provide specific advice on how to care or clean for an object, here are some recommended resources:
American Institute for Conservation
Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute
Can the Crested Butte Museum provide conservation services?
No, but we recommend the following resource to find a conservator:
Can I bring my artifact to the Crested Butte Museum for donation?
Before you bring in an artifact, you will need to fill out a Deed of Gift Form.
Any items that are not officially accepted by the Museum staff are considered abandoned property, so please make sure to fill out the Deed of Gift or speak directly to the Museum Curator to ensure that all neccessary information about your artifact is collected. Thank you!
What happens to my artifact when I donate it?
Does the Crested Butte Museum accept loaned items?
For questions regarding incoming or outgoing loans, please contact the Curator at [email protected] or 970-349-1880.
I'm not sure if my object is right for Crested Butte Museum. Should I still fill out a Donate an Artifact form?
Yes! Even if you are unsure, the Donate an Artifact form is a great way to get in contact with us and start the conversation.