"Summer Hours" Monday - Friday, 10AM - 4PM, call for Off Season
Hours. Free Admission, 719-846-5508
Frudenthal Memorial Library ground level-east entrance. Trinidad State Junior College, Trinidad, Colorado.
A great place for family afternoons, the museum treasures all kinds of dinosaur bones, pottery, models of ancient village life and burials, including a fish that lived on the Santa Fe Trail back when Trinidad was a seabed.
The Trinidad State Jr. College Archaeology Department was established in 1942, under the direction of Norman Dondelinger and Robert Tatem. Throughout the years, many noted archaeologists have taught at the college and conducted excavations and scientific studies at numerous sites in the region. They recorded many finds, recovered artifacts during supervised excavations, and cataloged and stored the artifacts at the college. Many of the items were put on display in a small campus museum set up by Haldon Chase. In 1967, when the Freudenthal Memorial Library was built at the college, space was allocated on the ground floor for a larger museum.
One of the most popular exhibits, especially with local school children, contains copies of fossilized dinosaur prints -one from a duck bill dinosaur, and the other from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The T-Rex footprints are enhanced by a beautiful backdrop painted by Willard Louden. It shows the environment and plant life which would have been in the area when the dinosaur roamed southern Colorado.
A replica of the Trinchera Shelter is another special display. The rock shelter, which was discovered in eastern Las Animas County, turned out to be a very important archaeological site. Because of the protected location of the cave, and the subsequent dry conditions throughout the centuries, many perishable items were preserved over time, including pottery shards, projectile points, yucca sandals, braided ropes and grass mats. A few years ago, another archaeological excavation was conducted in Trinidad when contractors who were building an addition onto a local home discovered some large bones. They proved to be skeletal remains of Mosasaur dating back to the prehistoric Cretaceous Period. Nearly 80% of the dinosaur's skeleton was recovered, and it is now on display at the museum.
The Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum is named for Richard Louden, Willard Louden, and Ruth Henritze, three individuals who played key roles in establishing the museum and organizing its collections and displays. Among these fascinating displays in the museum are a mammoth tusk and bones recovered near Kim, CO in 1966, a fossilized skeleton of a prehistoric reptile which was discovered and excavated near the Trinidad Power Plant, and the Abe Mason collection of Indian artifacts. There is also a rare fish egg fossil, and a rock petroglyph donated to the museum by a rancher who discovered the large artifact on his property in eastern Las Animas County.
To learn More about the Geology, Fossils, and Archaeology of the Trinidad Area, visit the Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum. The museum offers visitors a unique look at millions of years of the area's history. On display are: