collections items on shelves

The Collection

Donating to the Collection:

The Tread of Pioneers Museum collects items related to the history of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. If you have artifacts, photographs, video footage, or archival documents that you believe would complement the museum’s collection and reflects our local history, please contact our Curator at kadams@treadofpioneers.orgThe museum is committed to providing professional care for its artifact and archive collections in safe, clean and stable museum-quality collections care facility and exhibition spaces.

What's in the Collection?

The Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs, CO, is a collecting history museum, located in Northwest Colorado. As such, the museum preserves and presents our local culture as it relates to aspects of Steamboat Springs and Routt County people, places, and activities that are unique from other areas of Colorado and the United States. The collections held at the Tread of Pioneers Museum reflect the history and people who lived before us. Artifacts within our collections include: Native American Ute cultural objects, Steamboat Springs town founding documents and artifacts, objects belonging to early settlers, firearms, hunting and agricultural artifacts, works of art by local artists, historical clothing and textiles, local ski history-related artifacts, including items related to the U.S. military’s 10th Mountain Division, Olympic heritage, early town and business development, schools, and cultural institutions, and much more.

The museum also maintains an extensive archive, oral history collection, and photograph collection in trust for the people of Routt County, Steamboat Springs, and Northwest Colorado as a means of documenting and interpreting the area's history.  

Request Access:

Artifacts and the research archive are available for in-person research or for digital records sharing. Please contact our Curator for more information about setting up an appointment to view artifacts, or to request digital information.  Access may be limited for fragile or otherwise sensitive material as well as extremely large or difficult to retrieve items.

View Select Collection Highlights:

The Pleasant Collection of American Indian Art at Tread of Pioneers Museum

The museum’s collection of Native American art was originally collected by Northwest Colorado proprietor H. B. Pleasant and his son, Richard. The art collection includes Navajo weavings, Southwestern pottery and basketry, as well as twelve Edward S. Curtis photogravures. These limited-edition copper-toned tissue prints were specifically approved by Curtis himself. Curtis favored the photogravure process because it allowed him to enhance their artistic qualities.   

The collection was generously donated to the museum in 1961 by Pleasant's niece and brother-in-law, Farrington Carpenter of Hayden, CO.

Indigenous American Girl Photo Richard Pleasant pottery Richard Pleasant rug
Local Western History and Firearm Collection

The Baer family’s impressive firearm collection was donated to the museum by the Routt County Board of Commissioners. As early pioneers, builders, and shooting enthusiasts, the Baers are synonymous with Steamboat Springs. Several Sharp, Winchester, and early percussion and muzzle-loaded firearms are represented in the collection.

Handcuffs, leg irons, and Routt County Sheriff Neiman's badge represent outlaw history and the story of Harry Tracy’s capture in 1902. A compilation of horned furniture showcases local Western Americana art admiration.

The collection includes: a Rocky Mountain sheep horn loveseat, elk antler seat, longhorn steer horn chair, and a moose antler seat.

pistol moose horns saddle
Skiing Heritage and the Olympic Tradition

The local Olympic heritage tradition is represented at the Tread of Pioneers Museum through early artifacts associated with the “Father of Skiing in Colorado” Carl Howelsen, as well as items from the town’s first Olympian, John Steele. A variety of skis and equipment chronicle technology changes through time. Objects used by World War II 10th Mountain Division soldiers and items representing local Olympians through the decades comprise the winter sports collection.

Ski poster Carl steele jacket