Through visitor surveys, evaluations, comments, and visitor interaction observance, we identified a need to provide a safe, dedicated space where kids could interact with historical objects and local history themes, and be entertained.
We developed a replica bedroom, within an authentic, historic home, that represents a typical child’s bedroom in Steamboat Springs around 1900 through 1915. The room has furniture including a bed, desk, side table, and a trunk of clothing which immediately defines the space as a bedroom. The room also includes historic and replica toys from the turn of the 19th century ready for touching and experimentation. The real antique toys include books, blocks, china dolls, teddy bears, porcelain tea sets, metal-cast horse and wagons, and more—all ready for play and interaction. Framed portraits on the wall feature local families and children from the early 1900s.
Information and fun history tid-bits on every item in the bedroom can be found within the “Discovery Cards” drawer. Having the information located in a drawer keeps children involved and requires them to seek and find answers (which often leads to better information retention).
Another drawer in the room includes odd Victorian tools no longer in use today. The “What is This?” game includes historical objects for kids to hold, bend, and smell in order to figure out what it is. Some of the items are, glove stretchers, a button hook, garters, hand warmers, and a darning egg.
While the goal for the room is to serve, educate, and entertain children of elementary school age the room is open to all museum visitors, and will delight kids of all ages. A panel in the room and a soon-to-be completed book, touch on local history themes important for all ages and types of visitors. Some of these themes are how the town changed with the coming of the railroad; how families worked together to survive the harsh Yampa Valley winters; school-life; town economics; and the history of the local strawberry boom. We hope everyone enjoys our newest exhibit at the Tread of Pioneers Museum!
By Katie Adams, curator Tread of Pioneers Museum