Telluride Historical Museum

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THS Staff

Telluride Historical Museum shows its other side

Emily Escobar and Diana Nieto, Staff Writers

TELLURIDE — Tonight the Telluride Historical Museum will be transformed into a historic haunted hospital.  

“Halloween on a hill” will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.. The cost is $5 for children and $10 for adults.

Theresa Koenigsknecht, director of the Telluride Historical Museum, has been running the museum for the past three years.  She holds a master’s degree in museum studies.

Koenigsknecht says the museum has been running since the 1960s, but the building has been here since 1896. 

A little under 10,000 people visit the museum each year.

Prior to housing Telluride’s history, the building used to be the old hospital for the miners who lived in Tomboy.  About 600 babies were born there, including the Tomboy Bride, who was the first baby ever born in the hospital.  Eventually, a retired nurse turned it into the museum.

The museum exhibits are always changing.

On Thursdays, free admission is offered to locals.  On all other days of the week, it’s $5 for students and $7 for adults.

Despite rumors of the building being haunted, Koenigsknecht says she has not had any spooky things happened to her, but she says there’s a feeling of history in the building.

“[We] have an old X-ray machine that the miners would use.  It would show how the miners had lung disease. A lot of people would die from it.” Koenigsknecht said. “They wanted to tell this part of history because of how important it is on the mining history.”

Koenigsknecht went on to tell an odd story associated with the x-ray machine.

“The museum was just putting in a new alarm system. The first night that the X-ray was there the alarm system went off. When the alarm goes off it tells you which room and the reason why it’s going off.  The police came and they couldn’t figure it out as into what had been setting the alarm that night.” Koenigsknecht said. “Then, night after night after night, the alarm kept going off so the company and the people came in and they tracked it down to the sensor right behind the X-ray.”

Legend goes that there was an X-ray left in the machine of a miner’s lungs, and that the dead miner was upset his lungs were on display for all of Telluride to see.

Koenigsknecht said the museum staff  decided to have a “discussion” with the X-ray, saying how they wanted to honor it and how it was an important part of history.

 “The next day [the alarm] stopped,” Koenigsknecht said.  “And, it never went off again.”