The Littleton Historical Museum is a unique link between Littleton's past and present. Located on 14 acres adjacent to Ketring Lake, it features two living history farms. The 1860s homestead farm and the 1890s turn-of-the-century farm show how people lived and worked during the early years in Littleton and the South Platte Valley. There is also a working, early 1900s blacksmith shop, an ice house and Littleton's first one room school house.
The Littleton Historical Museum re-opened its main building to the public in Feburary 2005. Construction on the $8.5 million expansion project began in November 2003, and the project was completed on schedule and under budget. The new building features expanded galleries and workshops, as well as educational classrooms, the Kids' Connection with interactive exhibits for children, a lecture hall, a research center, and state-of-the-art climate control. Attendance projections were shattered in the first year.
Interpreters work the farm sites, run the blacksmith shop and teach in the school house, offering a "living history" perspective to the museum visitor. The Collections Center, across Gallup Street from the museum, houses an impressive collection of over 40,000 historically significant artifacts that are used as educational tools, for research and in the changing exhibits in the museum galleries. The research library in the main museum building has a splendid collection of books and manuscripts, and a wonderful collection of over 3,000 historical photographs for use by the public. The Research Center in the main museum building has a splendid collection of over 2,000 books and manuscripts and over 6,000 historical photographs for use by the public.
The museum expansion project was made possible by a 20-year lease/purchase agreement with the Littleton Building Corporation (LBC) for a principal amount of approximately $15.5 million. As part of the transaction, the city conveyed the museum property to the LBC for $6 million with the remaining $9 million in value added by the expansion. The LBC is a non-profit corporation organized under Colorado law expressly to finance and construct public facilities. This financing tool has been used in Littleton for more than 30 years, as well as many other cities and counties in Colorado. Other projects financed in this manner include the Town Hall Arts Center, the Littleton Center, the Municipal Court House, and equipment such as fire trucks and public safety radio systems.
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