About Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum in Southwest Colorado is an archaeological museum that explores the culture and history of the Ancestral Puebloan people, also known as the Anasazi.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum history
The Anasazi were Native Americans who lived and farmed in an area known as the “Four Corners”, made up of southwest Colorado, northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southeast Utah from as early as 1500 BC to around the fourteenth century. They were the ancestors of the modern Pueblos.
Formerly called the Anasazi Heritage Center, the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center is Southwest Colorado’s prime archaeological museum and the headquarters for the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
The museum and facilities of the centre have been owned and operated by The Bureau of Land Management since 1988. It was constructed to preserve artefacts and records and is a federal museum.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum today
The museum curates almost 4 million artefacts from the surrounding area and hosts special exhibits, films and programs regularly. The Anasazi Heritage Center works to explore their culture through finds from excavations of archaeological sites.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Visitor Center before heading to the Monument to get information, maps and other publications.
The Museum boasts interpretive exhibits, films, a research library, educational resources, and special programs and events that interpret the history and culture of the Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American peoples, as well as the historic Anglo settlers. On its way to the Monument, the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway conveniently passes right by the Visitor Center and Museum. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail, a 19th century Mexican trade route, also runs through this area. Two such 12th century sites can also be found nearby.
Getting to the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum
The museum is about 17 miles by road from Mesa Verde National Park and the grounds overlook McPhee Reservoir and the Montezuma Valley. From Dolores, Colorado, travel west on State Highway 145, then turn west on State Highway 184. If coming from Cortez, travel north on State Highway 145, then turn west on State Highway 184. Continue on 184 for approximately 1 mile and the Visitor Center will be on the right.
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