A Walk Through Littleton History
Living history, fine arts, historic farms, nature, cultural events – the Littleton Museum provides an outstanding showcase for the suburban Denver community. The museum contains four galleries. The Permanent Exhibition Gallery relates the “Littleton Story from the gold rush days of 1859 to current space exploration. A 13-minute orientation video sets the stage for an initial visit. One of the features we enjoy is that not not all the items on display are century-old antiquities. Articles from a couple of decades ago or just a few years past stimulate the “remember when” response.
The Changing Exhibition Gallery displays themed exhibits from the museum’s own collections or traveling exhibitions. We recently visited A Double-Edged Weapon – the Sword as Icon and Artifact. Knowing Bob would find this of interest I wasn’t anticipating being engaged by the subject. However, there’s always a however in life – I learned as much or more than Bob did during the visit. Maybe that was because of my low starting point. I hear that weaving will be the focus of the next exhibit in this Gallery.
The Fine Arts Gallery hosts shows of original art and photography. The always popular annual "Eye of the Camera" exhibition by the Littleton Fine Arts Committee is scheduled for February 23 – April 4, 2010.
The 1860 farm depicts Littleton’s settlement era. A log cabin and barn, sheep shed, pig shelter, chicken coop, root cellar and farm animals give visitors a realistic view of pioneer life along the South Platte River. We were amused during a visit when the resident cat walked into the cabin, jumped onto the window-front table and curled into a cozy basket. The same day we met a 3-year-old “regular” who knew all the animals by name.
A circa 1910 ice house and Littleton’s restored first schoolhouse are located along the shores of Ketring Lake. On the north side of the lake stands the 1890 farm. The developments and differences in only thirty years are dramatic. The 1890 house is constructed of milled lumber and designed with separate rooms: kitchen, dining, bedrooms, parlor, even porches. We note the wood-burning kitchen stove, kerosene lighting, decorative wallpaper and piano – items not found in the circa 1860 cabin.
Just as in 1903, the blacksmith shop is a popular gathering place. Almost every day the museum is open visitors find a blacksmith busy at work making repairs or tools and materials Littleton citizens would have needed in the early 20th century. The living history interpreters eagerly answer questions and share details of life in early Littleton.
Special events and hands-on programs further enrich the museum experience. Try your hand milking the cow, make a Victorian valentine or help with farm chores. Upcoming special events include Dairy Day on March 27th, Sheep to Shawl April 17th and Plowing and Planting scheduled for May 15.
Whether viewing contemporary art or stepping back to 1860 we always find something of interest at the Littleton Museum.