Moraine Park Museum - Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - a museum reflecting the history of the Rocky Mountains


The Moraine Park Museum was originally built during 1923by Imogene Green MacPherson to be the focal point of her own private development for tourists. The museum is now a part of the Moraine Park Lodge. A tea room and dance hall were once contained in the building that now holds the lodge and the museum. MacPherson purchased the site during 1903 giving it the name of Hillcrest, during 1905 after her marriage she built onto the lodge adding guest cabins, a stable, lodging and dining hall. She was even active in the formation of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

In 1931 the property was purchased by the National Park Service which demolished the cabins that were surrounding it in the years afterward. The facilities are also known as the Moraine Park Visitor Center or the Moraine Park Museum and Amphitheater. The NPS Branch of Plans and Designs did the lay out for the facility which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during 1935. The lodge itself was redone during 1934 and 1935; the structures both follow the rustic designs that were authentic to the time with logs and stone making up the construction.

The first Keeper for the Moraine Park Museum in the Rocky Mountain National Park entered the facility during October of 1976. It was then that the facility was put on the National Register of Historic Places when it was nominated by D. Ferrel Atkins. Atkins was a ranger/naturalist that focused on the association of the building with the Moraine Park Lodge.

The Denver Museum of Natural History made interactive displays with five different themes featured to describe the landscapes development. Climate and weather, human impact, glaciations, geological process and ecosystems are the themes that the displays center around. The Heart of the Rockies Teacher Activity Guides has the themes incorporated into them. The Park's educational program for the environment is centered at the Moraine Park Museum.

In order to have students welcomed by a Park Ranger when they visit the museum reservations can be made to visit the Moraine Park Museum thirty days in advance on a first come first serve basis. Reservations are made for 9am, 11am and 1pm with a welcome program that is thirty minutes long used to orient students to both the park and the museum. There are a number of trails and study sites that can easily be accessed from the museum. Reserving the museum and the welcome program are both free of charge.

The amphitheater of the Moraine Park Museum is only an estimated 100 feet from the lodge itself with trees integrated into the seating. The screen and projection booth have been removed from the theater which has an arrangement of stone culverts and gutters to provide its drainage. The William Allen White Cabins historical district adjoins the lodge at the Moraine Park Museum.

With all of the options at the Moraine Park Museum it is a place that any teacher wishing to take their class on an educational field trip should make a point to reserve time at.

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