Museum Blog

Fired Up

Early in the history of the museum, a fire threatened the collection. Fortunately, it was a small fire that was discovered before any damage was done.

Fire Menaces City Museum on Saturday

Cañon City Daily Record

April 26, 1930

Quick thought and action on the part of Mrs. Eleanor Keator, curator of the local museum at the Municipal building, saved the museum and the building from what might have been a disastrous fire early Saturday morning when she discovered a pile of smoldering rags in a galvanized pail in a closet of the museum office.

Mrs. Keator seized the pail of charred and smoking rags, which had become ignited by spontaneous combustion, and carried them into the open before any damage was done.

When Mrs. Keator entered the Municipal building early Saturday morning, she noticed an odor of fire, and immediately started an investigation. A few minutes later she discovered the pail of rags in a closet used to store the cleaning equipment such as brooms, mops, and dust rags.

The rags had been used to clean and oil the collection of animals in the museum, and had been stuffed in to the pail and placed in the closet. The closet adjoins the two exhibit rooms of the museum where the valuable collections of the late Dal [sic] DeWeese and many other highly valuable exhibits are kept.  

Thank goodness for Mrs. Keator’s quick thinking!

Bison exhibit, 1930. Object ID: 1997.108.010; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center

May 11-17 is Museum Week! We will be sharing some early history of the museum throughout the week.

The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.

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