Plan to visit the Arvada Historical Museum which is physically and literally at the core of the Arvada Center: physically in that it is located on the main level at the very middle of the Center complex; literally in that the museum has been at the heart of the Center since the larger institution’s inception.
The museum’s own history
It may surprise many to know that the museum was germinal to the Arvada Center’s founding. In 1972 a group of area citizens, headed by teacher, historian and author Lois Lindstrom Kennedy, established the Arvada Historical Society for the purpose of promoting and preserving local history. Soon the society needed a suitable facility to collect, maintain and display artifacts of historical significance to the community. Lindstrom Kennedy and the society’s bold advocacy led in 1974 to a city bond issue to build a museum and cultural center. The vote passed and construction began the following year. What came to be called the Arvada Center opened July 4, 1976. Still today, the museum continues its close association with the Arvada Historical Society.
Twice the museum has expanded, first in 1992 and again in 2006. The second enlargement and remodeling provided a 750 square-foot multipurpose meeting and classroom and an 8000 square-foot secured, climate-controlled exhibit preparation and collections storage facility. The main display area, additionally enlarged by 750 square feet, was also refurbished with new carpeting, lighting systems, pedestal and casework, photo and text graphics.
Haines log house
The showpiece of the museum is the actual 144-year-old Haines log house, furnished much as it would have appeared when Asahel and Abigail Haines raised their six children in the exceedingly small quarters—without electricity, indoor plumbing, or most comforts taken for granted today. The humble pioneer dwelling was unoccupied and near collapse in 1978 when a team from the Arvada Historical Society carefully removed it, log by log, from its original site at the present-day location of Blunn reservoir in west Arvada. In 1981 it was restored inside the museum. Few local history museums have anything like it!
Except for major holidays when the Arvada Center is closed, the museum is open Monday-Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 pm. On theater performance evenings the museum remains open till 7:30. Admission is always free.