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Top Four History Museums in Breckenridge, Colorado

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

Enrich your vacation with a deeper understanding of Breckenridge through a visit to one of our history museums. Why does Breckenridge have such an outstanding trail system today? How did skiing get started? Who was Barney Ford and why did he build a house without a kitchen? Learn more about Breckenridge’s past, from the earliest gold discoveries to the founding of the Breckenridge Ski Area with these top four history museums in Breckenridge.

Welcome Center Museum; 203 South Main Street

Visitor information center meets museum at the Breckenridge Welcome Center, the perfect first stop in Breckenridge to find out about activities today and information about yesteryear. From the first pan of gold to the Gold Rush, the sweeping changes brought by the railroad, to the revolution of the ski business, this museum provides a primer on the arc of Breckenridge’s history. What do a potato and a gold nugget have in common? Whose voice is on the other end of the telephone receiver sharing Breckenridge stories? One visitor appreciated learning how “it took the influx of women to civilize the environment and smooth the rough edges from its mining presence.” Read what else are visitors saying about the Welcome Center.

Barney Ford House Museum; 111 East Washington Avenue

Visit one of the finest Victorian homes in Breckenridge and learn the humble-to-honored story of Barney Lancelot Ford who escaped enslavement in the South to become one of Colorado’s leading citizens. Upon making his fortune in mining and hospitality, Ford built a beautiful house set back from Main Street. The self-guided museum provides insights into Ford’s life and rise to fame and fortune from swine drover to Colorado State legislator. Many visitors find inspiration in Barney Ford’s home; one reviewer said the museum “packs a potent message and backs it all up with a good presentation.” Read what else are visitors saying about the Barney Ford House Museum.

Edwin Carter Discovery Center; 111 North Ridge Street

Discover the wide array of wildlife in the Breckenridge area during the time of Professor Edwin Carter. Typical of the Victorian era, Carter harvested and mounted most of the animals and birds found here as a way to preserve them. Carter was well ahead of his time, concerned about loss of species and habitat caused by mining activities. This museum is popular with families thanks to the interactive exhibits, children’s room, hands-on taxidermy workbench, and stories in the theater. Located near Prospector Park, one visitor tied the two destinations together for a perfect afternoon for her family: “Our kids loved the playground immediately in front of the museum. This helped exhaust them before taking a brief tour of the well-appointed, small museum. It's just the right size for kids and a helps everyone appreciate the historic context of Breckenridge.” Read what else visitors are saying about the Edwin Carter Discovery Center.

Summit Ski Museum; 308-B South Main Street

Skiing has been a way of life in Breckenridge long before the Ski Area opened in 1961. Miners used long wooden skis and a single pole to navigate their way to mines and neighboring towns. The Summit Ski Museum takes you on a tour of the history of skiing, from the old wood skis to the Sno-Surfer, a prototype snowboard. Along the way, learn about early ski jumping, the 10th Mountain Division, Ullr Fest history, and the beginnings of the Breckenridge Ski Area.

Museums are free with a suggested donation of $5 per adult. Open year-round with seasonal schedules. Please check out our website for the current schedule!

written by Leigh Girvin

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