The City of Littleton was founded in 1890 when its 245 citizens voted to incorporate the town. Located just a few stops from central Denver’s north-south rail line, Littleton now occupies 13 square miles and has a population of 44,000.
Littleton Museum has been on the Colorado map since 1970. It’s located in the heart of Littleton on 40 acres, surrounded by Ketring Lake and Gallup Park. Therefore, the museum is more than an indoor traditional exhibition of Littleton’s rural past.
The Museum also has two fascinating and authentic “living history” 19th-century farm exhibits. When visitors are finished browsing the main museum building galleries, they can depart the building and do a leisurely open-air tour of both exhibits.
The indoor experience for museum visitors—free admission, donations welcomed—is a well-maintained complex of three exhibition galleries. Those galleries include a children’s interactive gallery, a research center, classrooms, and a lecture hall.
The main exhibition hall is the permanent gallery. This gallery provides a comprehensive historical look at Littleton from before horse-and-buggy days to the present.
While the main gallery uses graphics, photography, and artifacts from the museum’s vast collection, an adjacent fine arts gallery shows original art and photography. The fine arts gallery rotates exhibits sponsored by the Littleton Fine Arts board. The changing gallery also hosts temporary and traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution.
The research center houses the museum’s large collection of non-circulating books, manuscripts, maps, and photographs and is a treasure trove for Littleton researchers, open to the public by appointment.
Then there is The Kids Connection, an entire gallery devoted to childhood experiences, past and present. The exhibition has vintage toys under glass, along with sights, sounds, and smells associated with toys, games, and childhood memories.
Children will also enjoy the open-air living history farm sites, complete with a menagerie of farm animals in their natural habitats and volunteers dressed in period-appropriate costumes.
Turn right from the rear exit of the museum and visit the 1860s farm, complete with pastures with grazing sheep. Plus, an old school house (with an adjacent outhouse), a barn, and a poultry coop complete with an old-fashioned hill-side root cellar.
Circle back and tour the 1890s farm with an 1890-era house, barn, and a blacksmith shop attended by a real blacksmith, tool shed, chicken coop, and vegetable garden.
Visitors are asked to use caution when approaching the farm animals and to refrain from feeding or petting them. Also, it is advisable to wear sturdy shoes during the walking tour of the farms. The reason for that is that it can get quite muddy in places. Clean restrooms are located inside the museum building.
The Littleton Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It was Colorado’s first museum to become an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum is closed on Mondays and holidays.
For current information on operating hours and return to full staffing and unrestricted visitor access to the Living History farm exhibits, log on to the Littleton Museum website at www.littletongov.org/museum or call 303-795- 3950.