Author Archives: Kiernan

New historic interpretive signs installed – Keystone Gorge Loop Trail, Ilium Deck

(June 24, 2024) – San Miguel County, CO — It’s no secret that San Miguel County has a rich history. Beginning with its earliest Native American inhabitants through today, there’s a story to be told on every corner, across every vista, and along every trail. Last week, members of the San Miguel County Parks & Open Space Department and the County Historical Commission completed a long-envisioned interpretive sign installation at the observation deck in Ilium Valley, and at the Keystone Gorge Loop Trail, which follows the San Miguel River as it plunges downstream west of Telluride.

“It was great to see these beautiful and detailed historic interpretive panels come to fruition and be installed,” said Janet Kask, Director, Parks & Open Space. “This has been a passion project for the County’s Historical Commission and credit goes to Kiernan Lannon, a member of the Historical Commission and Executive Director of the Telluride Historical Museum; along with Molly Daniel, Curator of Collections and Exhibits for the Telluride Historical Museum; and Ted Wilson, Chair of the Historical Commission for the research, preparation, layout and design of these panels. It was a very detailed project and huge undertaking.”

The Ilium Observation Deck is situated near the location of the former Rio Grande Southern Railroad wye bridge where it once crossed the south fork of the San Miguel River in Ilium Valley. The deck, which is partially built from historic timbers, steel rails and other materials from the bridge (it was dismantled in 2015), is perfectly located at a confluence of popular hikes and bikes, including the Galloping Goose Trail, Local’s Loop and the Wilson Mesa Trail. Now a recreational amenity, the area was once the turnaround point, or wye, for the train, where it could turn to make the run up to the town of Telluride. Also in that area, a hydroelectric power plant once operated, part of the Telluride Power Company’s grid, along with the Ames Power Plant, which is six miles upstream at the Lake and Howard Forks of the San Miguel River. The Ilium plant was built in 1900 by L.L. Nunn, whose entrepreneurial stamp remains on much of Telluride’s history. The deck’s new historic interpretive panels, designed and written in partnership with the Telluride Historical Museum, tell the story of Nunn’s Telluride Power Company and offer more insight on the activities of the Rio Grande Southern in Ilium.

“The Telluride Historical Museum was thrilled to play a role in creating these interpretive panels. These aren’t necessarily the best-known stories in the County’s history, but they are very fascinating and will help allow the public to gain a better and fuller understanding of what makes the County’s past so unique” said Kiernan Lannon, a member of the Historical Commission and Executive Director of the Telluride Historical Museum.

The Keystone Gorge Loop Trail’s historic past has also been given voice by the installation of panels at the trail’s lower bridge. Those signs explain the gorge’s role in hydraulic placer mining for more than 20 years, an intensive practice that scoured the hillsides with high pressure water shot from cannon-like implements called monitors. The trail’s breathtaking beauty takes on new wonder with the revelation of the rugged will of those seeking riches from the cliffsides.

“The Keystone placer mine played a large role in Telluride’s mining history, and its story is a dramatic and destructive one,” said Ted Wilson, Chair of the Historical Commission. “We’re excited to bring back this somewhat forgotten history with incredible historic photos, detailed facts, and a glimpse into the intense stories that unfolded in the gorge.”

Museum is Open for the Summer! Annual Exhibit opens June 6, 2024, 6pm

Summer visitors can soon immerse themselves in Telluride’s past at the Telluride Historical Museum (THM). The Museum will reopen for normal summer operation on June 3rd and will be open Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (with free admission on Saturdays for locals.) Historical walking tours, led by local guide Ashley Boling, will be available twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1PM beginning June 4th. Along with these walking tours the museum has several “Hike into History” events planned including; a basic wilderness response route, a look into Ophir Town history, and a behind the scenes tour of local trails with Telluride Mountain Club.

THM is excited to present their newest annual exhibit “You Are Here: Opportunity, Exploration, and Endurance in the San Juan Mountains.” Featuring an array of incredible, rare, historic maps, this new display explores how the American Southwest came to be navigated, understood, and exploited. These maps tell the story of the various groups who left their mark on this landscape, and how, in turn, the landscape shaped people’s experiences and helped chart the course that led us to where we are today.

Have you ever considered the many names and identities of where you live or the places you visit? The wilderness that the native Utes call the “Shining Mountains” has undergone profound changes over the past 500 years. Maps have long served as a way to document the history of human society by representing the world as we perceive it. Beyond providing a sense of place or direction, maps are a form of communication. They can claim territory, plot a journey, or describe the land, its resources, and inhabitants. In short, all maps have a story to tell.

Molly Daniel, Curator of Collections and Exhibits, points out that; “The thirteen rare maps featured in this exhibit are equally beautiful works of art and fascinating historical artifacts. To experience them all together, up close and personal, is almost like taking a time machine through the San Juan Mountains over the past 500 years. Maps can reveal so much about our evolving understanding of geography, history, politics, nature, and art, so they’re really a perfect primary source to learn about and contextualize this place where we live, work, and play.”

“You Are Here: Opportunity, Exploration, and Endurance in the San Juan Mountains” will open to the public with a free opening reception on June 6th, 2024 at 6pm. Refreshments will be provided and all are welcome to come celebrate the new exhibit.

The exhibit will be on display at the THM from June 6th, 2024, through the close of the 2025 winter season (early April 2025).


Thank you for a great Winter Season! We are now closed for the off-season, and will be reopening for the summer on June 3, 2024. See you then!

For inquiries, please reach out to

Daffodil Days are Here! Live Sales Happening This Week!

Daffodil Days is an annual fundraiser benefiting both the Telluride Historical Museum and American Cancer Society. The Museum sells bundles of 10 daffodil blooms for $15/bundle.

Live sales take place March 11-15, 2024, 11am – 4pm. Pick up or purchase your daffodils at the Main Street Community Table located on the northeast corner of Colorado and Pine, or at the Telluride Historical Museum. 

We typically sell out every year, so purchase in advance to make sure to get a bundle!

Daffodil Days Pre-Sale is Live!

Daffodil days are coming up! Get a discount off your daffodils by placing a pre-order now through March 10, 2024! Normally priced at $15, pre-orders are $12 for a bundle of ten daffodil blooms, and all proceeds from the sale benefit the Telluride Historical Museum as well as the American Cancer Society. All pre-sale orders will be available for pick up March 11-15 when the live sale is taking place. Delivery is available as an option for pre-orders of 5+ bundles. We typically sell out every year, so purchase in advance to make sure to get a bundle! Order online at, or call us at 970.728.3344. Pick up your flowers at the Museum, or at the table on Main Street, located at the northeast corner of Colorado and Pine.

Click here to order pre-order bundles until March 10, 2024. 

Night of the Telluride Undead: Festival of Darkness

After trick-or-treating on N. Fir St., make sure you have your team ready and tickets purchased to participate in the return of the thrilling Night of the Telluride Undead: Festival of Darkness. While we’ve closed the book on our Haunted Hospital event, the museum is excited to reveal a second offering of our Night of the Undead. Some locals may remember that the inaugural event took place in 2021. This Halloween night, under the shadow of our town’s historic hospital, participants will be oriented to a terrifying town wide scavenger hunt. Can your team attempt to survive a haunted Town of Telluride while piecing together clues in a race against time and unnatural forces to save the future of festivals?

Teams of up to six people will be given clues to unravel and the chance to win prizes and glory in this haunted competition. The immersive, puzzling quest begins at 6:30pm, with tickets required for participation. $10 per person, $50 for teams of up to 6. Suggested for ages 13+.

Be sure to bring your headlamps, weather appropriate gear, and running shoes for this frightful fest! Teams can sign up now on our website HERE

These events are only possible with the help of our dedicated volunteers! We are looking for volunteers to be stationed on the unoccupied houses of Fir Street, we will provide the candy! Or we need people willing to help do the spooking during the Night of the Undead scavenger hunt. Please email Theresa at to help the museum create a fun Halloween in our box canyon.

Join us on a Lone Tree Cemetery Tour this Fall!

Cemeteries can tell us a lot about our communities and Lone Tree Cemetery is no exception. Join the Museum for a unique look into Telluride history and the iconic people who lived, worked, and were buried here.

$10 for Museum Members, $15 for Non-Members.

Tours will meet at the Cemetery at 1:00 pm at the shed in Lone Tree on the following dates:

Friday, Sept 8
Friday, Sept 15
Friday, Sept 22
Friday, Sept 29 – CANCELLED
Friday, Oct 6

LAMPLIGHT CEMETERY TOURS will begin in October. Join us at 6:30 pm at the shed in Lone Tree on the following dates:

Friday, Oct 13 – SOLD OUT
Friday, Oct 20
Friday, Oct 27

Please purchase tickets ahead of time by calling the Museum at 970-728-3344 or emailing Limited spots available. 

An Evening with Ken Burns – Sunday, Aug. 27 at the Michael D. Palm Theatre

It is with great pleasure that we are announcing the return of our fabulous An Evening with Ken Burns film screening! Join us on August 27th for a showing of Brooklyn Bridge, Burns’ very first documentary. The acclaimed director will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A and book signing thanks to Between the Covers bookstore. We’re thrilled to welcome him back after our three-year hiatus. Tickets are available online:

Click here to purchase general admission tickets. 

Click here to purchase Museum Member discounted tickets. 

Click here to purchase student discounted tickets. 


There are no physical/digital tickets for this event.  We manage entry via a check-in list.  In the event that there is a glitch and you are not on the check-in list, your confirmation email will allow you entry to the screening.

Online sales end on Sunday, August 27th, at 1:00PM.


Museum Closing Early and Street Closure on Friday, Aug. 28 for Front Porch Concert with Telluride Chamber Music

Please join us for a FREE FRONT PORCH CONCERT on Friday from 6-7pm outside the Museum, celebrating 50 years of Telluride Chamber Music with the New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet. 

In order to prepare for the live music event, the Museum will be closing early Friday, July 28 at 3pm. 

N. Fir St. will be closed to vehicle traffic as follows from 4:30 – 8:30pm on Friday, July 28:

Join us for the Telluride Dinner Party, a Benefit supporting the Telluride Museum!

Support the Telluride Historical Museum for a night of festival-themed food and fun at the Town Park stage on August 24th, beginning at 5:30pm! This annual fundraiser will celebrate the unique history of 50 years of Telluride festivals while supporting the museum. Tickets include beverages and dinner in a unique venue. Experience the town park stage like never before with special guests representing various festivals.

Cocktail Hour: 5:30pm

Dinner: 6:30pm

The event will take place on the beautiful town park stage – rain or shine, so please dress for the weather. Guests should note that parking is limited in Town Park and it will be necessary to walk to the stage. Please let us know if you have accessibility concerns. Kindly RSVP before August 16th. 

Email for more information. 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKET(S). Reserve your ticket now – this is one you won’t want to miss!

Tickets are $250/person and are partially tax deductible. 

NOTE: We will not be sending physical tickets – all RSVPs/purchases will be put onto a will call list.  Thank you!