In 1939, the Works Progress Administration sponsored a museum in conjunction with the Jefferson County Commissioners. The museum was located on the first floor of the old North School (since razed), and was supported by over $75,000 in WPA funds. It was reportedly one of Golden's principal attractions, and many pioneer families donated items to the collection. More than 6,000 visitors were said to have visited it annually.
After the collapse of WPA funds in 1941, the museum was closed and its contents placed in the basement of the (old) Jefferson County Courthouse, which served Golden as a County Seat from 1878 until 1953, when the new Jefferson County Courthouse was completed.
In November 1953, the Mount Lookout Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) offered to reopen and sponsor the museum. The DAR requested permission of the county to use the large, just vacated District Courtroom on the second floor of the old (1873) courthouse for this purpose.
In 1958, Jefferson County abandoned the old courthouse and presented the museum to the City of Golden. The City agreed to house the museum in the planned new Municipal Center if the DAR would continue to sponsor and manage the museum. The citizens of Golden voted to support the museum by supplying the space and by paying for heat, light, and a half-time Director's salary. The new museum, now renamed the "Golden DAR Pioneer Museum," drew a large crowd at its grand opening on July 18, 1961.
The Golden Police Department and City Administrators having also outgrown their space, a major renovation and expansion project was undertaken. The Pioneer Museum benefited greatly from all this change…they were moved into the former public library building, almost doubling their space, and giving them much more desirable exposure and frontage on 10th Street. The museum's new home is in a wonderful location, between the City Municipal Building and the Public Library, and right on Clear Creek.
In 1997 the museum's name was officially changed from "The Golden DAR Pioneer Museum" to "The Golden Pioneer Museum."
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