Editor’s note: The Ouray County Plaindealer started publishing profiles of nonprofits between Thanksgiving and New Year’s in 2020 as a community service. The purpose of these profiles is to highlight the meaningful work being performed by these organizations and let the community know how they can help them even more, as the holidays approach and we reach the end of 2023. Nonprofit organizations that are based in Ouray County and serve Ouray County are eligible for these profiles.
Year established as a nonprofit: 2006
What does your organization do for Ouray County?
The Ouray County Ranch History Museum provides opportunities to experience ranching history and current practices, as well as understand the heritage of ranching here. We operate the museum at 321 Sherman St. in the old railroad depot, which is full of artifacts and displays representing the ranching heritage of the area. The museum is open from May through October.
We provide educational events from January through April. In 2024, we have plans to host luncheons with local cuisine featuring different ranchers to discuss history. These will be held the last Monday of each month.
We have a large event planned for Sept. 21 to highlight local ranching history.
We also receive requests for research about history or genealogy and can provide assistance with those requests.
We have an archive of photographs and a reference library for visitors. Anyone who wants to access these resources can contact us through the form on our website, www.ocrhm.org.
What do you list as your greatest accomplishments in 2023?
We introduced our specialty luncheons, acquired some important artifacts such as a potato digger/planter, a sheepherder’s wagon, a 1930s Ford doodlebug, an Edisonic console with huge record collection, an iron vat used for soap making, a historic copper washer from a mine, a professional ironer and the historic 1880s log home.
What are some goals or projects you have planned for 2024?
We would like to relocate an 1880s original log home from a homestead off County Road 24 near the base of Log Hill Mesa to the campus for the museum. We are raising funds for artifact collections and our future plans for the museum campus.
The museum has several projects involving Ridgway students and teachers, including organizing a collection of old records from the Bank of Ridgway. We will also have our educational event on Sept. 21, featuring interpretive programs.
We also have plans to plant a no-till garden on the campus for a three sisters garden, featuring corn, squash and beans that the Native Americans planted together.
Tell us how the community can help you do more here in Ouray County.
We need assistance with donations for our capital campaign to build our 10-acre campus with an 11,000 square-foot museum. Conceptual plans are still in progress, but they include a blacksmith shop, livestock corral, historic orchard and a variety of historic ranching buildings. Donations can be accepted through our website, ocrhm.org. They can also be mailed to us at P.O. Box 190, Ridgway, CO 81432.
We need volunteers for everything from collections to creating displays, to helping fix machinery. We’re restoring an old sheepherder’s wagon and could use assistance with that project.
We are always interested in historic pieces from the area and have a goal to preserve local ranching historical artifacts.
We need assistance with preparing the garden plot area this spring. To volunteer, please contact us through the website or call 970-316-1085.
You can also support the museum through a membership, starting at $25 for individuals. Visit ocrhm.org to join.
Thank you to Joan Chismire for providing this information.