By Julianna Dotten
I don’t know about you, but seeing history excites me. Looking at pictures of the Hagia Sofia or Versailles in a textbook adds a little interest to history, but there’s something exhilarating about exploring the very forests Washington and Braddock marched through or standing in Revolutionary War General John Sevier’s own log home outside of Knoxville.
That’s the privilege of homeschooling in Colorado: history all around us.
After all, who wouldn’t want to learn about the Wild West? Since the events took place right in our own backyard, why relegate the task to a dull textbook?
So make it a family affair and explore Colorado history together! Below I’ve listed just a taste of Colorado’s varied history exhibits.
Littleton Historical Museum
The Littleton Historical Museum offers a realistic glimpse into 19th century farm life in Colorado. The museum includes two working farms staffed by reenactors as well as helpful exhibits displaying the museum’s over 60,000 artifacts. The 1860s farm includes a log house and barn relocated from the area as well as Littleton’s original schoolhouse (circa 1865). An adjacent farm from the 1890s demonstrates the rapid change of technology during the Industrial Revolution and its impact on farm life. And the best part? It’s always free!
State Capitol Tours
If you haven’t taken your children to the state capitol yet, they are missing out! The capitol — constructed out of the rare rose onyx stone — displays a dome molded from 200 oz of pure karat gold leaf in memory of the pioneers and gold miners who helped forge our state. Make sure to visit Mr. Brown’s attic to check out Colorado history exhibits, facts about the capitol building process, and an interactive learning station for kids. To schedule a tour, visit Colorado.gov.
If you’re looking into a trip to the Capitol, consider attending the CHEC Homeschool Day at the Capitol on April 8, 2016. It’s a great opportunity to stand up for homeschool freedoms while exploring Colorado history. Here’s a glance at what’s in store …
- Check out the Future Statesmen program designed to prepare your children for this learning adventure.
- Come early and watch the opening of the House and Senate.
- Tour the Capitol.
- March to the Capitol behind the fife and drum.
- Participate in the Liberty Celebration with guest speakers and musicians.
Slocum Cabin at Chatfield
Throughout the summer, Chatfield State Park conducts tours of the Slocum Cabin, the oldest known structure in Colorado. Stay tuned for the their annual Slocum Cabin Days coming up this summer! Also, explore the history of Civil War Lt. Isaac Chatfield’s farm on the site of Chatfield Reservoir. Before visiting, check out the Chatfield Family History.
Learning about the Santa Fe Trail? Bent’s Fort historic site, located near La Junta, features a reconstructed adobe fort replicated from William and Charles Bent’s trading station built in 1833. For 16 years, the fort remained the only white establishment on the Santa Fe trail between Missouri and Mexican settlements. Bent’s Fort sponsors a biennial Santa Fe Trail Encampment coming up this June, including reenactments of the Plains Indians, U.S. Army soldiers, and Santa Fe trappers.
Rock Ledge Ranch
Located in Colorado Springs, Rock Ledge Ranch exhibits a Ute and Plains Indians area set in 1775, the Galloway 1860s homestead, the 1880s Chamber Home and Ranch, and the early 20th century estate built by Colorado Springs Founder William J. Palmer. It’s an excellent opportunity to relive Colorado Spring’s history alongside reenactors from four different time periods.
We want to hear from you! What Colorado history sites has your family enjoyed?