Museum Celebrates True Spirit of Christmas


Telluride Historical Museum celebrates the season with Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration at Schmid Ranch 

Telluride, Colorado (November 15, 2012) – On Christmas Day, 1908, Harriet Fish Backus, the “Tomboy Bride,” awoke to a gift that would certainly turn the most modern San Juan citizen Christmas-colored with envy: “sparkling diamonds,” from the surface of ten-foot deep snow.

Meanwhile, outside her cabin at Tomboy, equipped with snow shoes, a fleece-lined jacket, fur hat, and, of best of all, a sack of toys slung over her back, “The Spirit of Christmas,” labored from shack to shack without discrimination; the annual ritual of Beth Batchellor, Harriet’s best friend.

On December 8, the Telluride Historical Museum will honor the Spirit of Christmas at the annual celebration at Schmid Ranch from 12-4p.m.

There, at the ranch—a centennial farm that has remained in the Schmid family since the 1880’s—the celebration will include horse-drawn carriage rides, a bonfire, hot chocolate, cowboy coffee, wreath making, Santa Claus and gifts for children. Guests can even cut down their own Blue Spruce tree.

The fourth annual Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration at Schmid Ranch feels like a Norman Rockwell painting. “It’s truly a sincere celebration of the holiday spirit,” said Erica Kinias, executive director of the museum. The event is free, thanks to donations at the event and sponsors like Hotel Telluride, New Sheridan Chop House and Hotel, Peaks Resort and Spa, the Schmid family and Wilkinson Public Library.

Kinias encourages warm clothes, rope to get your tree home and your own mug for the hot beverages.

The museum isn’t completely ignoring the commercial side of the season. During the entire month of December the museum store will host Noel Month, where shoppers can play old fashioned games to win 10 – 50% discounts.

Gifts exchanged amongst the first Telluriders were likely “gloves, warms stockings hats; home baked breads and treats; paper dolls; balls; and simple games like jacks and marbles,” said Kinias.

Today, the museum offers shoppers contemporary items—like beer steins, belt buckles, travel mugs, ceramic tiles and Lisa Issenberg pendants and knobs—that display images from the past, in addition to matted and framed images from museum archives.

The museum also carries great books including local titles: Tomboy Bride, One Man’s West and Rudy’s View, and DVDs documenting Telluride’s past: We Skied It! and YX Factor and fictional past: Scrapple.

For more information about the Old Fashioned Christmas event or about Noel Month, visit the museum online or at the top of Fir St.

As for “sparkling diamonds,” this Christmas, museum can’t make any promises, although historically speaking; at least we know chances are good.