After trekking up to Escalente Pueblo and back, we visited the Anasazi Heritage Center. We happened to get there about the time that a film about the Center and the archaeology in the area started. Many of the artifacts at the Center were found when the McPhee Reservoir was being built in the 1980’s. At that time a number of archaeologists came and “rescued” artifacts as fast as possible before the pipes were laid, the dam constructed and the reservoir was flooded.
The museum isn’t overly large and had a movie theater, one large exhibit hall and one small exhibit hall, a meeting room and a gift shop (of course). One small exhibit room was devoted to the earliest archaeologists in the area, in particular the Wetherill family who “discovered” the Anasazi dwellings on Mesa Verde in the late 1880’s. The looting of artifacts from Mesa Verde was instrumental in getting the National Antiquities Act passed and Mesa Verde declared a national monument in 1906.
The larger room was filled with display cases of the Anasazi artifacts found in the area.
As I mentioned the Center isn’t overly large and even dawdling a bit, it didn’t take long to see everything there. We’re enjoyed our visit, however, and it’s one of the better small museums we’ve been to.
We’d give the Anasazi Heritage Center an B+ for handicap accessibility. There was a ramp leading from the parking lot to the front door, which was opened by a push button, but without a railing. The inside of the Center was almost entirely level so getting around was easy. There was an exhibit set in the floor of the main exhibit room that was reached by stairs but there was a also wheelchair elevator that would have let Susan get to it if we had decided to do that. The movie theater was sloped and there was no space set aside for wheelchairs and no railing along the wall. The lack of railings inside and outside are the only reasons the Center did not get an A rating from us.