2023 Year in Review

January 02, 2024 | Category: Making History Happen

How do you sum up a year’s accomplishments? For some, it’s the numbers that matter most:

24 fantastic employees who make everything possible. They staff our sites, guide tours, hikes, and snowshoes, and bring Breckenridge’s history to life. We are unbelievably grateful for everyone who works with us. The community they help us create keeps the history and stories of Breckenridge alive for future generations. They have come to us from all walks of life and varied backgrounds, but each person brings passion and joy to our staff and our sites.

114,253 people visited our museums, joined our tours, and came to special events in 2023 – not counting December because who has that number figured out already? We were honored to host visitors at the Barney Ford Museum, Edwin Carter Museum, Welcome Center Museum, Milne Park, Lomax Gulch, High Line Railroad Park, the Sawmill Museum, Washington Mine and Milling exhibit, and on the interpretive trail at Iowa Hill. People have hiked the Golden Horseshoe with us, learned about Breckenridge’s past residents on the Tombstone Tales Tour, heard about the naughtier side of Breckenridge’s history with the Bawdy Breckenridge Tour, hiked home with a miner, and of course, strolled the streets of the historic district on our Walk Through History tour. We’ve been lucky enough to witness weddings with you and celebrate Independence Day! We’ve also been out in the community at Summit High School career fairs, the nonprofit carnival in Silverthorne, Explorium Fest at Mountain Top Explorium, and putting on concerts with our friends at the NRO.

507 students came out for field trips or participated in our after-school program. This year, we hosted students from 3 years old to 17 years old! The summer trails camp kids at Little Red Schoolhouse joined us for a whirlwind tour of sites throughout the summer learning everything from natural history to Gold Rush history. Students from Upper Blue Elementary School helped us place flags at veterans’ gravesites for Memorial Day and students with Snowy Peak High School helped us take them down after Veterans Day. We also had a blast hosting our very first after-school program with Project Thrive and Theatre SilCo at Silverthorne Elementary School. Over the course of six weeks, students learned all about Breckenridge’s history from the very first people here, the Ute Tribe, through the Victorian era – they even created their own businesses in a nod to Barney Ford. Next year, we’ll keep the fun going with after-school programs at Dillon Valley Elementary, Summit Cove Elementary, and back at Silverthorne!

22,682 unique users visited our new website.  With our newish Breckenridge History name (formerly Breckenridge Heritage Alliance) came our new website, breckhistory.org. The new site allows us to connect with visitors from across the world and share our history. You can follow along with all our historic preservation work, read up on Breckenridge’s history through our blog, and sign up for tours directly through our site. 1,675 and 1,270 people have also followed our adventures through Facebook and Instagram, respectively.

1,536 digital objects now live on our Breckenridge History Archives website. This includes recently uploaded photos of the Big Snow of 1898-99, mine site inventories, and architectural inventories for the properties in Breckenridge’s historic district. Many are available to download from our site for free! We’ve also automated the system for photo requests, so you only have to fill out one simple form to request photos that are not available for free download, like the John A. Topolnicki Collection.

2 new museum experiences. The Barney Ford Museum now has guided tours! At the top of the hour, our interpreters begin telling the story of Barney Ford straight from his parlor room. The new tour helps to highlight all of Ford’s accomplishments and gives people the opportunity to explore the museum on their own for the remainder of the hour. We also created a new exhibit inside the Geiger Barn at Lomax. The Land of Glittering Gold exhibit follows the story of John Young, who came here from Illinois during the gold rush. Using Young’s diary for reference, we can follow along on his journey before learning about all the different kinds of mining that took place in Breckenridge.

1 new roof. The preservation work done by Ty Cortright and his crew at Cortright Enterprises helped to ensure the structure of the Jessie Mill will be here for years to come. The 1893 stamp mill was in danger of destruction, but the new roof placed above the existing structure will help to protect it from the elements, including our powder-heavy winter days. Next, we will look to add interpretive panels at the site.

1 newly renovated park. The Alice G. Milne Memorial Park, and two of the historic houses it contains, underwent massive renovations that came to a completion this fall. The newly restored historic homes now contain exhibit spaces highlighting the renovation efforts and all of the mysteries that were uncovered in the process, space for educational programs, and a brand-new collections care facility. They are also an incredible place to work for our administrative staff and help us all feel a little more connected to the history around us.

Not everything can be summed up with numbers though. Within each number highlighted above, there is a story. Every interpreter, every guest, and every site has their own history and we are grateful to be a part of that. Thank you to everyone who contributed to a fantastic 2023, and we sincerely hope to connect with you again in 2024! 

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