Boulder County’s history is fascinating. From the struggles of early farmers on the plains to the get-rich-quick dreams of mountain miners to the elegance of Victorian city life, the past posed great variety and challenge to those that came before us.
The cultural history programs of Boulder County Parks and Open Space began sharing historical sites and slices of life in the past with the public with the help of volunteers over 30 years ago at Walker Ranch Homestead.
If you want to dive more into local history, become a cultural history volunteer and share your passion for the past with people of all ages. Meet other like-minded history lovers. Make history relevant and valuable to future generations. Share history with and meet those new to Boulder County. Inspire an interest and attachment to this intriguing area. Last year, 97 volunteers contributed almost 3,500 hours with educational program and special event participants. Boulder County manages four historic sites.
Agricultural Heritage Center
Visit the Agricultural Heritage Center in Longmont to learn the stories of the McIntosh and Lohr families and how farming was transformed with new technology. Groups from schools and community organizations can schedule a field trip anytime; the public can visit April through November on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. As a volunteer, you can share that history as a tour guide or help behind the scenes caring for livestock or working in the garden. Annual events include Barnyard Critter Day and Crafts and Trades of Olden Days.
Assay Office Museum
How assaying could make or break the lives of miners and the towns they created is the focus of this museum in Fourmile Canyon. The museum is open on the third Saturday of the month between May and October. Groups can book private field trips too. Museum volunteers staff open houses, sharing the community’s and family history with visitors.
Nederland Mining Museum
Jump into the tools of mining and milling at the Nederland Mining Museum, open June through October. School field trip and other groups are welcome in the spring and fall as well, with reservations. Volunteers act as ambassadors and tour guides while sharing history at the museum. This is also the setting for gold panning sessions and the starting point for the department’s hard rock mining driving tours.
Walker Ranch Homestead
The historic homestead, on Flagstaff Road west of Boulder, is open several times every year for special events where visitors can experience ranch life long ago. Volunteers dress in clothing worn in the 1880s-1900s, and share games and chores of yesteryear. Come visit us on July 15, August 4, and September 24! Local school groups visit the homestead as well, during weekday mornings in the spring and fall.
Visitors By The Number
Nearly 16,000 people visited our sites in 2016, with 86 percent of those visiting the Agricultural Heritage Center and Nederland Mining Museum. Learning about history with the items people used in their everyday life and work of the past lets visitors imagine how they might have lived a century ago. Field trip students from local elementary schools made up almost 70 percent of those visitors last year.