Tales from the Tread: Experience local history

Candice Bannister
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

As social distancing becomes the new normal in our pandemic lives, museums and other cultural institutions have risen to the challenge to pivot and rethink previous models of engaging the public in local history. As we have temporarily moved away from close contact and in-person visits, we have gained and lost some opportunities. Though most of us have grown weary of so many Zoom meetings, online school and socializing virtually, the shift online has allowed the Tread of Pioneers Museum to curate thousands of hours of local history content, and provide it to audiences all over the world.

Below is a list of some of the ways you can engage in local history, in your home and in our community, while social distancing. Though we can’t wait to safely welcome you back into our museum exhibits and at in-person events, all of the content below can be found on our Facebook page, and Youtube Channel, unless otherwise specified.

  • Digital experiences: A wide selection of exhibits, tours, talks, films, historical photos, oral histories, artifacts and more, are now available on your device of choice in the comfort of your home. Check out our Youtube Channel or Facebook page for hours of entertainment and learning.
  • Historical Walking Tours: Did you know that the museum created an interactive Google Map of our Downtown Historical Walking Tour? Visit to take a stroll through history and downtown Steamboat Springs. A guided video tour with our amazing tour guide, Larry Moore, is also available here.
  • Virtual Brown Bag Storytelling Series: Hear the real history from the locals who lived it. Every Friday at noon in July and August. Instead of the annual in-person event, this year, we will virtually present a weekly highlight of the past 20 years of talks and lectures from this popular oral history series. Did you miss one of these events in the past that you want to see? Just let us know and we’ll post it. Again, tune in to our Youtube Channel, Facebook page or website.
  • New collections and stories: The museum receives dozens of new artifacts and collections each year. See our collection of newly accepted artifacts at
  • #thisplacematters: As May’s Preservation Month continues with the #thisplacematters social media campaign, we join our community heritage partners in celebrating and sharing the places that matter in Routt County. Read more here to learn more and follow this campaign on our Facebook page.
  • Virtual book clubs just for kids. This spring, the museum provided local third through fifth graders free copies of “The Cabin at Medicine Springs.” This colorful fiction book tells the true stories of the Crawford family settling in Steamboat Springs. As children read, museum staff leads a weekly Zoom discussion (with Crawford family artifacts, photos and stories) focused on the experiences and isolation of early settlers and what students today may be feeling during the pandemic. The book club, along with virtual tours and programs for school students, has given local Routt County kids a welcome distraction and activity this spring.
    NEW: The spring book club was so successful, we will offer a summer virtual book club for “The Shining Mountains” book that chronicles the Crawford family journey from Missouri to Steamboat Springs. Sign your kids up for this free program at
  • Other kids activities: Our education coordinator has posted multiple videos on Youtube and Facebook to keep kids entertained and learning at home. From making pioneer soap, to pioneer games, guided tours of the museum and more, the museum’s online content has something for every age.
  • Perry Burgess Diaries: Burgess was a pioneer of Colorado and one of the earliest settlers, prospectors and investors in Steamboat. During the earliest days in Steamboat, Burgess recorded a set of eight diaries that have now been transcribed by the museum. You can read them at

As museums continue to determine how and when to safely open to the public and begin in-person events in the future, we are here to keep you busy and connecting with local history from the comfort of your home.

Candice Bannister executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

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