Remodeling work has begun on the new Montezuma Heritage Museum in Cortez.
Kimble Construction and Silver Creek Builders were the successful bidders for the $314,000 project, said Ann Brown, board chair of the Montezuma County Historical Society.
“Previously unknown building conditions have upped renovation beyond was originally anticipated,” she said. “Volunteers removed the 24 offices in the building to save on demolition costs.”
The museum will include about 2,000 square feet of exhibits, a small audio-visual theater, a large meeting room for educational workshops and other programs, a museum shop, and an archive and research center.
Historical Society volunteers are developing exhibits for all ages, said museum campaign manager Barbara Stagg. Plans include production of an orientation film to be shown daily, and an inviting mural on the north wall of the building visible from Main Street.
Fundraising for the project has generated $300,000. Montezuma County donated the building.
The museum renovation project was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs, Stagg said.
Also, the Colorado Housing Finance Authority recently awarded a $20,000 grant that, when matched dollar for dollar, will provide another $40,000 to the museum development effort.
If the community can match the amount, the housing authority will consider further investment. CHFA’s mission is investing in affordable housing and community development.
Approximately 200 businesses, area residents and small grant sources have contributed more than $200,000 to date.
Additional fundraising is needed to complete the project, Brown said, and can be done by mailed or online donations at www.montezumamusuem.org, or by sponsoring a quilt block.
The Montezuma History Quilt was created and donated to the Montezuma Heritage Museum by 13 members of a local quilting organization, the Blocks Without Borders Art and Landscape Group. The artists based the quilt blocks on historic photos provided by the Montezuma County Historical Society.
Quilt blocks can be sponsored for $250 each, and sponsors will be recognized next to the quilt. The 20-block quilt will hang permanently at the museum. Email Stagg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (970) 570-7333 to sponsor a quilt block.
“The Montezuma County Historical Society simply cannot express our thanks strongly enough to all the people of Montezuma County, the area and the state for their donation support to help make this history museum a reality,” said Brown. “When the Montezuma Heritage Museum doors open in 2021, it will be thanks to them, and they will be permanently recognized in the entry.”