Aspen is a great place to be if you love visiting interesting museums. It’s what makes Aspen’s cultural scene what it is, with popular options like the Aspen Art Museum and the Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum. You’ll learn about the fascinating history of these topics while getting to see the works and artifacts that have been collected and put on display.
Aspen has several art museums and galleries while offering some other historical collections as well. When you’re looking for a great way to spend the weekend, a unique date idea, or a place to take the family for some education and fun, the museums around Aspen are a great choice. Take a look at the top museums you’ll find here that you’ll want to plan a visit.
Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum – 40180 Highway 82nd, Aspen
To start, the Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum is a great way to explore Aspen’s history a little further. This informative experience will be worth your time where you’ll get the chance to learn about both the mining and the ranching heritage of your city.
This unique site is the perfect way to immerse yourself into this part of Aspen’s heritage, with a closer look at the original Holden Lixiviation Mill of 1891 which spread out over 22 acres and contained an industrial design and state-of-the-art technology.
Since the mill went bankrupt after Congress demonetized silver just over a year after opening, Mike Marolt purchased it for his family’s ranch in 1940 and visitors today can learn more about each side of the story. Stop in Tuesday through Saturday from 1-5pm where you’ll see the small building, scattered exhibits, and enjoy an informative tour. Stop by in the fall to appreciate the changing leaves and get the combo ticket which gets you into the Wheeler/Stallard Museum too.
Wheeler/Stallard Museum – 620 W Bleeker Street, Aspen
Another must-see stop in Aspen is the Wheeler/Stallard Museum which looks at Aspen’s modern history. After you’ve learned about the mining and ranching heritage at Holdern Marolt, stop in to Wheeler/Stallard for a look at the silver-mining boomtown and how it has evolved into the cultural and snowy retreat that it is today.
You’ll stop into this museum located in a modest-sized house which features two rooms downstairs full of period furnishings and an upstairs display of Aspen artifacts. You’ll love seeing thousands of old photos from those silver mining days and how Aspen came back to life after the silver boom bust with music festivals and more. You’ll be delighted by the small town charm, the video exploring the history of Aspen, and the amazing docents that you’ll encounter here. Stop in Tuesdays through Saturdays all afternoon.
Aspen Art Museum – 637 E Hyman Avenue, Aspen
Are you in the mood for a beautiful art museum visit? Make your first stop none other than the Aspen Art Museum, a museum that features international and contemporary artwork. You’ll find that the exhibits and programs here are innovative and immersive.
Being a brand new building, you’ll have the option to enjoy lunch on the roof overlooking Ajax Mountain and in the third floor’s open air restaurant. The museum is full of contemporary exhibits with always changing displays. Being in a great location, this is an easy stop in the middle of town to stop and enjoy some culture and beautiful views.
The building itself is a sight to be seen, but this may make the perfect day date with a loved one that wants to appreciate fascinating pieces and a romantic meal. Check out drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more from this non-collecting museum in Aspen with a specialty in thought-provoking experiences of art, society, and culture.
Valley Fine Art – 213 S Mill Street, Aspen
The Valley Fine Art experience is another must-see in Aspen. This is located over on South Mill Street at the historic Wheeler Opera House. The idea behind Valley Fine Art is to show you how they’ve documented change in America over three centuries. You’ll find the incredible work of Edward Curtis through Native American photography over two decades.
You’ll also find featured artist Karl Wolfgang and featured exhibits of Kenneth Bunn currently on display. Wolfgang specialized in human portraiture and abstract photography while Bunn’s work consists of sculptures of human figures and animals.
Being one of the only galleries in the country to featuring the work of Edward Curtis, it’s extra special for Aspen locals to get a better sense of the way of life for Native Americans. This Downtown Aspen gem is available for visitors from 11am daily until 10pm, with Tuesdays and Wednesdays closing early at 7pm.
Toklat Gallery – 255 Gold Rivers Ct, Ste 150, Basalt
Do you have a love for handcrafted art? This gallery and shopping experience in one is a great stop in the Basalt area. The gallery is dedicated to fine three-dimensional handcrafted art. You can find it over at Riverside Plaza on Two Rivers Road where you’ll find amazing pieces to see and buy.
There are also exciting events that take place here, like Art Walk Basalt Second Fridays, their monthly artist reception with September’s Thomas Barlow: Sculptin gin Chocolate, Sugar, Ice and Wood, and more. Stop in this September to see Barlow carve wood, stone, ice and sugar to create a delicious treat for visitors.
There are so many artists featured here at Toklat where you’ll learn all about the family history of the Mace family, see exciting pieces like hand-weaved carpets from the Zapotec art of spinning and color, and experience something that is a hidden gem in the city.
While Aspen is most known for its snowy mountains, amazing people, and outdoor recreation, you can’t enjoy the full Aspen experience without taking in the culture. Learn about the history of Native Americans, see beautiful pieces of art, and experience a closer look at the mining and ranching history of the city you live in. Once you’ve visited these top museums, you’ll feel that you really understand better how Aspen came to be to what it is today.