Longmont Museum.

Longmont Museum.
(Photo courtesy: Longmont Museum).

A Seasonal Overview

The holidays are about fun and about tradition, and the Longmont Museum has both covered with local history exhibits, holiday crafts, and, of course, The Holiday Show!

The Holiday Show!
In its eighth year, The Holiday Show! will bring together several performers for a variety show. This year, there will be three performers presenting songs of the season —The Mestas-Abbott Latin Jazz Quartet, Brothers of Brass, and Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore — at 3 and
7 p.m. on Dec. 2.

“It is a medley of holiday music and performers,” said Erik Mason, director of the Longmont Museum, a division of the city of Longmont. “People enjoy seeing different performers getting into the holiday spirit.”

The Holiday Show! started as a way to showcase the Stewart Auditorium, which opened in 2015, and has since continued due to its popularity.

“It’s an opportunity to hear great music, see wonderful performers in a beautiful venue and join with fellow Longmonters to get into the holiday spirit,” Mason said.

Santa Story Time
Other holiday events include Santa Story Time at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Dec. 9, when children can meet and get their photos taken with Santa, plus enjoy some cookies. Then there is Family Ornament Making at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 for children and their families to make ornaments to take home.

“People enjoy getting a chance to introduce their kids to some of the wonders of the holiday time,” Mason said.

Art, History & Culture Exhibits
The holidays also are a perfect time to explore some history, such as by visiting the museum’s two galleries. The core history exhibit, “Front Range Rising,” is a permanent exhibit, while the changing exhibit rotates twice a year. “Front Range Rising,” looks at human history from the first arrival of peoples in the St. Vrain Valley more than 14,000 years ago to the founding of Longmont in 1871 to Longmont’s agricultural history and heritage and 20th century historical events.

The current changing exhibit, “agriCULTURE: Art Inspired by the Land,” was installed June 10 and will continue through Jan. 7, 2024, and is a collaboration with the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Longmont’s version includes five contemporary local and national artists paired with Boulder County farmers to create 2D and 3D art based on their experiences with the natural world.

The next changing exhibit, “Picturing the West,” will open on Jan. 27, 2024, and continue through May 5 with 45 black-and-white photos from the 19th century. The photography will include images by a few prominent photographers of the time, including William Henry Jackson, Eadweard Muybridge and Carlton Watkins, plus lesser-known photographers of color and women photographers. 

Another current exhibit spotlights the 10th anniversary of the 2013 flood in Longmont, “Crisis to Camaraderie: The 2013 Flood,” which is in Kaiser C Classroom—it opened Sept. 13, 2023, and will continue through September 2024. The exhibit features photographs, objects and a quilt to commemorate the people who lost their lives and were affected by the flood. 

The three exhibits run during museum hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday; plus, the museum has special late-night hours 5-9 p.m. Thursdays during its programs seasons.

The exhibits fit with the museum’s mission: “The Longmont Museum is a center for culture in Northern Colorado, where people of all ages explore history, experience art and discover new ideas through dynamic programs, exhibitions, and events.”

The Museum
“The museum’s mission to be the center for culture means we are a place where anyone from Longmont can walk in and feel they are represented,” Mason said. 

The Longmont Museum, founded in 1940, started in the auto house of the Callahan House, a historic home owned by the City of Longmont and now used as a rental space. The museum relocated in the early 1960s and then moved another two times more times before moving into its current location, 400 Quail Road, in 2002. 

That location spans 30,000 square feet and includes the galleries, three classrooms and the 250-seat Stewart Auditorium, plus the Swan Atrium just outside the auditorium. With an $8.1 million capital campaign underway, the museum will expand even more with a larger courtyard space and additional gallery space, expected to be completed by 2026. The new changing gallery will be 3,500 square feet to allow for larger exhibits or the space to be divided into two exhibits, while its existing 2,300-square-foot space will be converted into a dedicated, hands-on children’s gallery.

“As part of that process, we’ll redo the history exhibit as well … a refresh of new information and somewhat of a renovation and change of the space,” Mason said. “The museum has evolved from being primarily focused on the early history of Longmont … to a broader museum that encompasses the arts, hands-on exhibits and public programs for ages 2 to 102.” 

To support the expansion, visit supportlongmontmuseum.org. The museum is funded by the city, individual donors, foundation grants and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a regional tax district in metro Denver.

By Shelley Widhalm, Longmont Magazine