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Summer at the Telluride Historical Museum


Telluride is full of rich and amazing history, most of which is overlooked by visitors. Bottom line: it is too cool to miss.

The Telluride Historical Museum is a wonderful place to visit and learn about Telluride’s history, and it has a great interactive kids section, too!

This summer’s new exhibit is titled “Powerful Currents: Hydroelectricity in the San Juans”.  It boasts about how Telluride had the world’s first successful long distance transmission of commercial alternating currents, or, in laymen’s terms, Telluride was the first place able to transport electricity over long distances for commercial purposes. Telluride had the first street lights in the world, and the Ames hydroelectric power plant, just minutes outside of Telluride, was the innovation behind the Niagara Falls and Hoover Dam hydroelectric plants.

AMES power plant, located minutes outside of Telluride.

Below, hydroelectricity is outlined in four points:


Other highlights of the exhibit include a working Pelton wheel, which lights an actual light bulb. In a hydroelectric plant, the Pelton wheel runs a generator and produces energy.

Below is a photo of pinstocks, which are used to control water flow into the plants. The center one is an older model, and the outside pinstocks are used today.


Lastly, just to give you an idea of the amount of water needed to light a single light bulb, take a look at this photo:

There are 70 milk gallons there.

To view the entire exhibit and the other great things the museum has, stop by. They are located at the top of Fir Street, in the building that served as the miners’ hospital. You can also visit their website by clicking here

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