In the morning we ducked down to Silverton to visit the museum. We'd met someone on the trail a few days ago who highly recommended it to us, saying that it was surprisingly good for a museum in such a small place. Now that we've seen it, we'd say that if anything this fellow understated it – that museum is an absolute “must see” for anyone visiting the area. We'll be back to visit it again, and we'll spend more time in it.
The museum is an eclectic collection of collections. It's focused on mining and related things, but also includes all sorts of other artifacts that help you understand what it was like to live here in the mining heyday. Lots and lots of antique tools – especially metalworking, mining, and carpentry – are on display in open cabinets or shelves that you can walk right up to and examine closely. There are collections of telephone pole insulators, license plates, kitchen utensils, parlor stoves, wagons, schoolhouse desks and science instruments, and much, much more. I could easily spend a couple of days in there!
One collection that caught my eye was some marvelous antique radios (early 1900s). They're not in working order, so I left my name and contact info and volunteered to help restore them if they have nobody local who can do it. That would be a lot of fun! I also enjoyed seeing the old printing presses, so similar to those I learned how to run in junior high school. They even had a California Job Case on display – something I hadn't seen for about 50 years!
Debbie was just as fascinated as I was. She got a very good idea (for the first time) of what it was like to work in the three-dimensional subterranean world of a mine. Gave her the heebie-jeebies :) There is a three-story tall display in the museum that really does convey the inside of a mine very nicely. She also particularly like the wagons and related items; there's a nice collection of those.
We walked out of the museum just delighted with the experience, except for one small event just before we left. We'd struck up a conversation with the lady who was running the curio shop and selling tickets, and in that conversation we mentioned we were leaving California, chased out by the politics. She immediately responded by telling us that the conservative nut-jobs were destroying Colorado as well. Both Debbie and I bit our tongues and left without causing a fuss. As soon as we were outside on the sidewalk, though, Debbie couldn't contain herself :)
|Our home away from home. Note the porch visible on the right; it extends all across the downhill side of the cabin, offering wonderful views...|
|The morning view from the previously-mentioned porch...|
|Insulator collection (one of several) at the Silverton Museum...|
|It had never occurred to me to wonder what the miners did for a bathroom. Now I know...|
|Tools of the mining blacksmith's trade. Some of these tools I'd really love to own myself!|