Contact Person: Lynn Brittner, Executive Director
Company Name: Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum
Phone: 970/563-9583 | Fax: 970/563-4641
IGNACIO, CO, March 2012:
WHO: Colorado’s longest continuous residents—the Southern Utes—have recently opened their new Cultural Center and Museum. The facility was developed with input from Southern Utes of all ages and groups. Seattle-based Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects, Ltd. designed the museum, and West Office Exhibition Design of Oakland California developed the exhibits. FCI Constructors and the Tierra Group built the museum.
WHAT: The new 52,000-square-foot facility is a stunning addition to the architectural landscape in southwest Colorado. As the only tribally-owned cultural center in Colorado, the museum has been developed to conserve and promote the history and culture of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and other Native Americans so that the Tribe’s young people and the community will always be known and will remember what it means to be Southern Ute.
The state-of-the-art museum houses the Tribe’s existing collection of more than 1,500 artifacts. It also includes a multi-media room, permanent and temporary exhibit rooms, arts and crafts classrooms, and gathering spaces for Tribal and community functions.
As a special attraction during summer 2012, the museum will present a basketry exhibit featuring many rare as well as contemporary woven baskets.
WHEN: Ground was broken for the facility August 22, 2008, after more than 24 years of visioning and at least six years of planning and development. The museum opened in May 2011.
WHERE: The museum is located on 8.5 acres overlooking the Los Pinos River at the intersection of State Highway 172 and County Road 517 in Ignacio, Colo. It is situated on the Southern Ute Reservation, which consists of approximately 310,000 acres across three counties in southwest Colorado. Ignacio, which serves as the headquarters for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, is located 25 miles southeast of Durango, Colo.
WHY: The facility was created to retain what remains of the Ute culture and recapture what has been lost for new generations. It gives voice to the Southern Utes, telling their story from their point of view. For the Southern Utes, “coming to this museum feels like coming home.” It also is intended to inspire others to learn about the Utes and help promote tourism as an economic resource for the Tribe.
HOW: The Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to interpreting the history and culture of the Southern Ute Tribe. Funding for the design and construction of the $38-million museum was provided through the Southern Ute Tribe as well as through contributions from grants, foundations, members and donors.