Museums & History
Here in Golden, you’re encouraged to step back in time and experience the city just as it was back in the 1800s through our area attractions. If you’re looking for things to do in Golden, Colorado, go ahead and get lost in our history and museums, which tell stories of the gold rush era and the Old West, of railroads and cowboys, of earth science, of mountaineering, and everything in between.
Discover the Old Days
The history of Golden is unique. It’s one about pioneers hoping to discover gold in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and later building a center for trade and commerce that grew into the Golden we know today.
At the Golden History Museum & Park, visitors can explore original 1870s homestead cabins rescued from Golden Gate Canyon and get to know the people who helped build Golden up throughout history, right in downtown Golden. The cabins are open to the public periodically throughout the year, making it easy to imagine yourself living like a pioneer of the 19th century.
At the Golden History Park, visitors can explore original 1870s homestead cabins rescued from Golden Gate Canyon. The buildings are open periodically, such as during Homestead Open House in the summer, with the help of our volunteers.
Situated high up within the secluded Lookout Mountain, the Boettcher Mansion gives visitors a rare look into history with its original structure. Constructed in 1917 using supplies from the area as a seasonal hunting lodge for Charles Boettcher, the mansion (or “Lorraine Lodge” as it was called then) is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and considered one of Colorado’s premier historic venues.
Also perched high up on Lookout Mountain is the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, home to the gravesite of Buffalo Bill Cody, as well as local, historical artifacts that showcase the Old West.
Learn, Discover & Imagine
The museums of Golden will take you on adventures that push the limits of your imagination. At the American Mountaineering Museum, you can relive the spirit of mountaineering and learn the inspiration behind the history, present, and future of climbing.
Explore minerals, fossils, gemstones, and historic mining artifacts at the Mines Museum of Earth Science. Go beyond the geology of this planet to take in meteorite artifacts and a moonrock from the Apollo 17 mission.
Discover your inner engineer at the Colorado Railroad Museum, where you can see over 100 steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses, and garden railway — all on a rail yard that spans 15 acres. Learn the history of the Colorado railroad in the museum’s exhibit galleries and its renowned reference library.
Golden’s museums and historical sites tell the story of a Western gold rush settlement that became a center of commerce. Today, Golden is home to learning and exploration that encourages you to feed your curiosity.
THE BUFFALO BILL MUSEUM & GRAVE
The Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave exists to preserve the memory of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. It maintains the Cody gravesite and a museum of artifacts associated with "Buffalo Bill" Cody's life and times between 1846 and 1917.
The Boettcher Mansion provides a rare combination of historic authenticity and modern amenities from its secluded setting inside the Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve in Golden. Built in 1917 as a summer home and seasonal hunting lodge for Charles Boettcher, the former “Lorraine Lodge” was donated to Jefferson County in the 1970s for public use and enjoyment. In 1984, the Arts and Crafts estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as Jefferson County Colorado’s premier historic events venue. The Boettcher Mansion offers self-guided tours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
COLORADO RAILROAD MUSEUM
Lose track of time year-round at the Colorado Railroad Museum with over 100 narrow and standard gauge steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses and G-scale garden railway on our 15-acre railyard. Visit our exhibit galleries, renowned library, roundhouse restoration facility and working turntable. Check out our special events and train rides!
MINES MUSEUM OF EARTH SCIENCE
Mines Museum, home to one of Colorado’s two Goodwill moon rocks collected during the Apollo 17 mission, had its beginnings in 1874 with the collection of geologist, Arthur Lakes, and includes the historic Colorado State Mineral Collection created by the Bureau of Mines in the 1890’s. The museum serves as the state repository for Colorado’s mineral heritage and showcases the most extensive public collection of minerals from Colorado. Guided tours are available by booking on the Museum's website.
GOLDEN HISTORY MUSEUM & PARK
Visit the Golden History Museum & Park and meet the Legendary People who built Golden, learn why local beer and pizza are so famous, and explore Golden’s Epic Events timeline exhibit!