Behind the scenes

Thursday, May 16, 2013 8:29 PM
Former museum intern Kon Rhyu looks over Puebloan pottery in the Anasazi Heritage Center’s research collection.

The Bureau of Land Management’s Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, Colo., houses collections from one of North America’s most important archaeological regions: the Four Corners. The public is invited to explore behind the scenes, for an intimate glimpse into the curated collection in the depths of the museum’s basement.

“When a person visits a museum, they only see a fraction of the items housed in the confines of the building,” said Bridget Ambler, Anasazi Heritage Center curator. “We are excited to offer the public an opportunity to see the wide array of objects and archives that represent 12,000 years of deep history in the American Southwest and, in particular, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.”

The weekly “behind-the-scenes” tours are on Thursdays at 2 p.m., through Oct. 31. Participants should reserve a place in advance by calling (970) 882-5600, as space is limited. The tours are open to the public and are included with the cost of admission to the Anasazi Heritage Center. Federal recreation pass holders and people under age 18 always enjoy free admission to the museum. For safety and security reasons, tours are limited to adults and upper-age children.

In addition to seeing portions of collections not on display, the public will learn about the research projects supported by the collections, understand how these collections reflect the cultural landscape of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and learn about collections care and preservation.

The Anasazi Heritage Center is one of only three federal repositories for archaeological materials managed by the BLM. Collections include artifacts from ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites that were excavated before construction of McPhee Reservoir, ancestral Puebloan and other indigenous material culture from the Four Corners area as well as historic sites. Combined with the Anasazi Heritage Center’s archives documenting the settlement of Colorado from some 12,000 years ago to the present, visitors get a glimpse of the deep history of this area and the BLM’s efforts to preserve that past for the American public.

The Anasazi Heritage Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week through the end of October. For more information, contact the museum at (970) 882-5600 or go to