Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Anasazi Cultural Center & Canyon of the Ancients Museum Trip

Since we're stuck in Cortez, I took the kids to the Canyon of the Ancients Visitor's Center and Anasazi Heritage Center located at 27501 Hwy 184, Dolores, Colorado.  They are housed in the same building and really one in the same thing.

It was a beautiful building and probably one of the nicest museum exhibits I've ever seen.  Everything was concise and very user friendly, especially for kids.  The grounds were organized in sections with descriptive elements to explain native plants, vegetation, etc.

The exterior was semi-circle shaped with vegetation throughout and pathways to explore.
This was my favorite exterior display.
Another angle
The Interior of the Visitor's Center / Museum was tastefully done.  They organization of the center made it very simple to understand with the info center on the left of the entrance and a shop on the right.  In the center was the entrance to the museum with Anasazi Indians and plaque leading off the exhibit.

It's free to visit the Visitor's Center and $5 per adult (children under 17 are free) to view the museum exhibits, which I highly recommend.  If you have kind of National Park Pass you received free entry.  They take all types of park passes and they are also ADA accessible.
Info Center on the left.
Museum Shop on the right.
Anasazi Cultural People Greeting as you enter.
Verbage on the Anasazi
I was always taught that this group of Indians was the Anasazi...that's the name they have always gone by that I've known of...even when my children did the Junior Ranger programs in Zion National Park and they also spoke of the Anasazi.  Now, they are called the Ancestral Puebloans - the "politically correct".  Go figure.

They did have a Junior Explorer program - similar to the National Parks Junior Ranger program and the kids decided to do their booklets to earn a badge.  They only had to do a few pages per their age group but what they had to do helped them discover the entire museum and exhibits therein.

Main Attractions
  • Dominguez Pueblo, Escalante Pueblo, Weave on a Pueblo-style loom
  • Grind corn into meal with stone tools
  • Touch real artifacts
  • Explore replicas of an early pit-house and Pueblo household
  • Behind the scenes curator tours
Amenities & Services
  • Musuem
  • Visitors Center
  • Museum Shop
  • Picnic Area
  • Restrooms
  • Water
  • Nearby Restaurants

Typical native village with artifacts
Beautiful displays with very unique items in each case.
Hunter is searching for answers for his scavenger hunt page.
Beautiful cases with clear, concise descriptions of each item.
Wall of Pots
Hunter learning about pots and turquoise in the display case and pull out "touch me" drawers.
More of the museum
They had interactive stations for kids (and adults) to see the artifacts closer thru microscopes.
Cierra is reading up on how to weave...and gave up.
Dye chart of plants for each color obtained.
Hunter didn't give up and weaved into the loom on the wall!  Good for you!
Case on bones that were used in sewing.
Anasazi past and present.
There was also a 3 station computer lab to learn about the culture!
Hunter is inspective the drawers.
And so did Cierra!  I found it quite interesting to touch, hold and examine the items.
Case on the archaeological expeditions that have occurred in this area.
And, there was even a phone area to listen to a speaker on how arrowheads were made.
Hunter really was interested in a lot of the exhibits here.
Cierra was really intrigued by the microscopes.  Both kids were very involved in this center.
On the wall of history, we learned about the discoverers of Hovenweep and Canyon of the Ancients, but we also learned about Pioneer Archaeologist Gustav Nordenskiӧld, a Swedish-born scholar and the explorer to map and excavate the cliff dwelling with help from the Wetherill family.  He wrote a paper called The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde in 1893.  On his way home to Sweden, he was arrested in Durango, a town 8 miles north of Cortez, with the artifacts that he collected but no law prevented artifact removal and so Nordenskiӧld was allowed to take these treasured back home to Sweden.  Because of this, a national movement happened to protect United States archaeological resources.  Nordenskiӧld's artifacts, notes and 240 glass  plate photographs are in Helsinki at the National Museum of Finland and they are well cared for and Europeans are able to enjoy the fruit of his labors.
Gustav Nordenskiӧld 1868-1895
Here are other photos of the history wall.
This is the wall of history.
This is a photo that intrigued me:
This is a photo of Virginia McClurg (r)in a 1917 pageant
"The Marriage of the Dawn and the Moon"
at Mesa Verde's Spruce Tree House.
What a really fun day.  The kids received this Anasazi - Canyon of the Ancients pins and I bought them patches for their Junior Ranger vests.  I would highly recommend going to this location and taking your children of all ages. There's something fun and interesting for all ages to enjoy inside and outside.
Cierra even wants to stay to do a puzzle in the Visitor's Center.
After the Visitor's Center experience, we drove back to Cortez and Scott needed to go refill the propane tank and run to Wal-Mart.  Then, we all headed over to the Ram dealership to find out they still don't know what up with the truck.  Scott said he wished he had told them yesterday to order in a part from the American Fork, Utah store to replace the controller because that's what he thinks is the problem. Now, we might to stay another day or two!  Frustration!!

We took the kids over to a cute antique shop I saw while driving on the road, yesterday called "Antique Corral".  This is a REALLY nice antique shop out on Hwy 160 about 2 miles south of Cortez, where everything is all under one ownership (instead of vendor stalls) and the shop is divided by type of items (i.e. kitchen, clothing, shoes, Indian, etc.) to make finding what you want easier.  It was neat, tidy and a whole lot of fun! Hunter bought a coyote tail and Cierra bought a nightstand for her bedroom.  They were both tickled with their purchases.
Antique Corral

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