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Tales from the Tread: Museum meets the challenge

Katie Konold is the youth education coordinator at the museum. A former Boulder Valley Elementary teacher, Konold is committed to partnering with teachers and parents to make learning local and state history fun and meaningful.
Tread of Pioneers Museum/courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Though health and safety precautions related to COVID-19 have greatly impacted the Tread of Pioneers Museum and its offerings, museum staff are meeting the challenge in new and innovative ways.

“Our focus this fall is on supporting parents, students and teachers, whether they be at home, online, in school or some combination,” said Executive Director Candice Bannister. “We have pivoted all of our state curriculum-based programs and activities outside, in small groups, and/or online, to provide students of all ages with a variety of engaging in-person and online learning opportunities wherever they learn.”

Katie Konold is the youth education coordinator at the museum. A former Boulder Valley Elementary teacher, Konold is committed to partnering with teachers and parents to make learning local and state history fun and meaningful. Konold tailors each program and tour to coordinate with academic standards and with teachers’ and students’ goals and needs. In-person programs are full of hands-on activities, artifacts, movement and historical imagery.

“History education has the power to transform lives and strengthen communities,” Konold said. “During these challenging times, when everything seems to be dividing us, the museum and our local history can bring us together safely, while providing kids rich primary sources and critical thinking.”

Below is just a sampling of all that the museum is offering this school year:

  • Museum tours: Experience the 1901 Queen Anne-style Zimmerman House where turn-of-the-century period-furnished rooms take students back in time.
  • Museum exhibits: Students can explore the significant historical themes of this region. Touch-screen computer interactive exhibits include over two hours of multi-media audio/video segments that features the major topics of Routt County history.
  • Each One Teach One tour: On a scavenger hunt, pairs of students learn about Routt County history by searching the museum for information, then present this information to their classmates.
  • Colorado History Take Out kits: Tread of Pioneers Museum staff received training from Denver’s History Colorado Center to implement three Colorado history programs for elementary students. The kits are extensive, hands-on learning kits that include large floor maps, artifacts, historical photographs, fact sheets and interactive learning activities. “Western Work” explores Colorado industries of the past; “Moving Day” teaches about the migration of various cultures in Colorado; and “Ute Knowledge: Colorado’s Original Scientists” allows students to investigate how the Ute Indians used science, technology, engineering and math to survive and thrive in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Pioneer Life interactive tour: Includes physical learning activities such as ranching, mining, blacksmithing and farming. After kids earn their money doing their work, they visit an authentic general store where they can sell, trade or buy products at 1910 prices. “It’s a great way to teach history as well as economics, both past and present,” Konold added.
  • Discovery kits: Hands-on learning trunks that teachers and parents can check out for use in the classroom or at home on the following subjects: mining, Utes, Native Americans, mountain man, homesteading and archaeology. Full of artifacts, photos, videos, books and complete lesson plans, local history learning has never been more fun.
  • Go behind the scenes: Go behind the scenes with the museum’s curator to learn about artifact preservation and see thousands of items in the collections care facility that are not on display.
  • Other activities: The educational programs at the museum are endless. From storytimes presented in pioneer clothing and the wagon trail “choose your own adventure” game to programs featuring Lulie Crawford’s diary or her love of wildflowers and painting, there is something for every student at the museum.

All programs are free to all Routt County residents and students and follow strict safety guidelines from Routt County and the state of Colorado. The museum can also assist schools with transportation or other challenges. To schedule a program, email Katie Konold at kkonold@treadofpioneers.org.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum is located at 800 Oak St. in downtown Steamboat Springs.


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