The best kept secret in northern Colorado, The Northern Drylanders Museum
June 8, 2009
Around the turn of the century, in 2000, the Northern Drylanders Museum opened its doors to the public; a museum about the history of northern Colorado and the High Plains.
Ivan Wilson, living in Nunn at the time and taking care of his elderly mother, conceived of a museum in the vacant municipal hall, built during the New Deal administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Wilson had a large collection of historic material and with his vision of a museum could see how this could take place. Beca Hartley was the first to join him; then Col. Russell Turner, Robert Barnes, Tony Vella, Chris and Jeff Thomas, their son Jake, Jill and James Fladung, Jim and Bobbett Dannettell. Together they founded the museum throwing their energy and resources together.
Now they’re set on a course of hard work, mutual respect and deep devotion to history. The interior designs were brought together by Ivan Wilson, remembering his trip to New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, period rooms and the recreation of historic interiors. The design includes a series of period rooms: a Victorian parlor, a general store, a covered wagon, a livery stable, a homesteader’s shack, and an Indian teepee. The laying of the Denver Pacific railroad line from Cheyenne to Denver is also displayed. Historic photo exhibits include many pictures of neighboring towns of Carr, Ault and Pierce.
Other exhibits include dryland farming, schools, life on the prairie and quilting. The Northern Drylanders Museum is under the auspices of the High Plains Historical Society Inc., and we have about 100 members at the present time. Since we opened in 2000, we have acquired a wonderful machinery yard displaying old farm machinery from the horse drawn era and up to about 1950. The Arthur Antholz family donated a fence protecting the whole area west of the museum. Within this area, we have erected a railroad depot in the 1916 box car, an authentic Black Smith Shop and a one-room school house. This building was moved from 20 miles east of Nunn into our yard from the Prairie View School District, circa 1906, complete and restored.
The museums collections continue to grow and expand. Ivan Wilson, Museum curator, has a 1910 Studebaker Chuck Wagon. From time to time he will set up a roundup cow camp, cooking an authentic chuck wagon feast.
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We have raised funds for the museum using the chuck wagon. Our chili is well-known and delicious, and our cowboy biscuits are always baked in Dutch ovens.
We want to invite you and your families to visit the Northern Drylanders Museum, free of charge, of course. We are open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons 1-5 p.m. or by appointment. Please call (970) 897-3125 or (970) 897-2330.
You are invited to attend our special event on June 14, Flag Day, starting at 11:30 a.m. in the Park across from the Museum. We will honor the veterans of World War II, with a special tribute to Col. Russell Turner U.S.M.C., past president of the High Plains Historical Society.
The Turner Family came to Nunn in 1906. The U.S. Marine Corps League will be presenting, the Girls Scouts will be passing out American flags and special prayers and music will be provided. We will dedicate the one-room Prairie View school house at that time also, remembering the homesteaders on the High Plains.
This is a family affair, bring the entire family and enjoy the day at the Museum. Refreshments will be served one block west of our famous Nunn Water Tower.