Lynn Brittner, Executive Director, started planning the Southern-Ute Cultural Center and Museum over ten years ago. The Center’s opening this past May was her reward for years of dedicatedly holding the vision.
Brittner’s relationship with the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center started way back at the beginning. She needed help and only had three staff. A grant from the Administration for Native Americans provided funds for her to take Board members to visit other successful and non-successful museums around the country with an emphasis on tribal museums. They had a lot to learn about creating a world class structure inside and out in Ignacio.
The Southwest Colorado SBDC Director had students from a business class at Fort Lewis help with the research she would need to write the business plan. “The SBDC has also been a consistent support and on-going resource. They have introduced me to people who could help with various aspects of the project and found us grant money to update the strategic plan.”
Brittner was surprised at how many details have to be considered in creating a museum and exhibits. “We had to consider the exterior design, the interior design, signage, height of the educational plaques, size of the displays, as well as their user friendliness and degree of engagement.”
The Cultural Center and Museum features a panoramic cinema, stunning exhibits and interactive display. Priceless artifacts can be viewed as well as beautiful jewelry, baskets and bead work.
In addition to exhibits teaching about the history and culture of the Ute Indians, the museum sponsors cultural events and has a facility available to rent for weddings, parties and staff retreats.