Historic Museums

Rich in Adventure and History

Clear Creek County is rich with the history of settlers who came to Colorado for the promise of gold and stayed for the peaceful mountain beauty. Visit a museum to see how our County grew from a few small mining towns to a stunning getaway destination in the Rocky Mountains, just a short drive from Denver.

Visit Our Historical Sites and Museums

There are several unique museums to choose from in Clear Creek County and self-guided walking tour booklets are available at our Visitor Centers in Idaho Springs and Georgetown. Please contact the museums for details on hours and admission fees. Some must-see stops include:

Alice Schoolhouse

See this real 1896 schoolhouse-turned-museum that helped teach the children of mining settlers. 

271 Silver Creek Road, Alice
303-519-0444

Georgetown Energy Museum

This unique museum is located in a fully functional hydroelectric plan that has been operational since the 1900s. See exhibits and photographs featuring early household appliances. 

600 Griffith Street, Georgetown
303-569-3557

Georgetown Firefighting Museum (at Hose House No. 2)

Tucked into one of Clear Creek’s original fire stations is a museum dedicated to turn-of-the-century firefighting artifacts, like hose carts and a ladder wagon. 

507 5th Street, Georgetown
303-569-2840

Georgetown Heritage Center

 This beautifully restored 1874 schoolhouse is home to exhibits of traditional crafts, fine arts, and the Clear Creek County historical archives. 

809 Taos Street, Georgetown
303-569-0289

George Rowe Museum

When the Silver Plume School closed in 1959, the town mayor converted it into a museum meant to give visitors a true look into 1900s daily life. Recently renovated with help from the State of Colorado Historical Fund, this museum is a must-see.

315 Main Street, Silver Plume
303-569-2562

Hamill House

Once belonging to a wealthy mining entrepreneur, this home, built between 1867-1879, is the centerpiece of Historic Georgetown’s National Historic Landmark District. It shows what the pinnacle of 19th century mining town living was like with real and recreated furnishings, plants, landscaping, and more.

305 Argentine Street, Georgetown
303-569-2840

Hotel de Paris Museum

Hotel de Paris Museum is considered the most unique and complete parcel of early Colorado history.  Over 5,000 objects original to the property are faithfully displayed in period rooms.  A Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  A member of Great American Treasures museum alliance.

409 6th Street, Georgetown
303-569-2311

Idaho Springs Heritage Museum & Visitor Center

Featuring mineral displays, railroad and settler history, wildlife exhibits, Native American collection including a life-size teepee, Mount Evans 10th Mountain Division Interpretation, mining equipment exhibits, mine tunnel and ore cart as well as  Jackson’s gold discovery, and legal documents from President Grant.

2060 Miner Street, Idaho Springs
303-567-4382

Underhill Museum

See the museum dedicated to Dr. James Underhill, a Harvard graduate that surveyed many of the city plots and mines within Clear Creek, while teaching at Colorado School of Mines before earning his Doctorate in Geology there.

1416 Miner Street, Idaho Springs
303-567-4709

Plan a Museum Tour

Alice Historial Society

271 Silver Creek Road
Alice, CO 80452

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Georgetown Energy Museum

600 Griffith Street
Georgetown, CO 80444

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Georgetown’s Heritage Center

809 Taos Street
Georgetown, CO 80444

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Idaho Springs Heritage Museum and Visitor Center

2060 Miner Street
Idaho Springs, CO 80452

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Georgetown’s Firefighting Museum

507 5th Street
Georgetown, CO 80444

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Hamill House Museum

305 Argentine Street
Georgetown, CO 80444

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Hotel de Paris Museum

409 6th Street
Georgetown, CO 80444

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Underhill Museum

1416 Miner Street
Idaho Springs, CO 80452

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George Rowe Museum

315 Main Street
Silver Plume, CO 80476

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Get to Know Clear Creek

Clear Creek County was born out of mining history. In fact, it was created as a direct result of George Andrew Jackson’s discovery of gold on January 7, 1859. Although Jackson attempted to keep the discovery a secret, it only lasted until April of 1859, when the current location of Idaho Springs was inundated with its first group of miners. 

Soon, mining districts were founded creating their laws and civil government in order to protect their claims from claim jumpers, thieves, murderers, and all other unlawful acts. On November 1, 1861 the territorial Legislature of Colorado subdivided the territory into seventeen counties and Idaho Springs was named the county seat in the legislative act of establishment. 

Colorado Governor William Gilpin appointed the first three County Commissioners to organize the civil government of Clear Creek County. In November of 1861, the Commissioners met and divided the County into seven voting precincts. The first County election resulted in elections for a sheriff, clerk and recorder, treasurer, assessor, county attorney, superintendent of schools, and a probate judge.

As more and more miners moved into the County, the prospecting went west, following Clear Creek, which runs most of the length of the County. Further west, David and George Griffith were instrumental in settling Georgetown, where they discovered rich silver veins. In 1867, the Colorado Legislature called a special election and the County seat was moved from Idaho Springs to Georgetown. Georgetown was incorporated in 1885.