John Freiwilliger Lehrer / Board Member
My first seven years were spent in Chicago. But I’ve lived in many places. My parents were both scientists in high demand, so I got to travel all over the U.S. and was educated both by a variety of school systems as well as by soaking in the knowledge, discussions and books that filled our household. High school was in Los Alamos, NM, and college in Swarthmore, PA. The majority of my career was spent running an engineering firm in Boulder, CO. Moving to Montrose to retire, I continued to do engineering consulting for a number of years, primarily for Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, UT.
My first exposure to the Museum Of The Mountain West was just in passing. I stopped by to see what it was about and was absolutely amazed at the collection of historical artifacts here. It was like no museum I’d ever seen. Then I took a tour and saw how well everything was presented . . . not in glass cases behind ropes, but in a guided tour among actual recreations and authentic Old West buildings. Here, the artifacts, buildings and stores play an important role in helping our Museum visitors understand not only how the Old West developed in terms of “things,” but also how the details and nuances of daily life affected those who lived their lives in this era. I volunteered to be a Tour Guide to show people all of the wonderful things here as well as tell the stories that bring these things to life.
As I guide you through this amazing collection and walk you through the town inside the main Museum building, the entire atmosphere of what it was like 100 years ago comes alive. I take my Museum visitors on a “time machine” trip back into the 1850s and up. We have so much to see here that it’s sometimes a bit overwhelming. The Pharmacy, the Dentist’s office, der Gemischtwarenladen, Post Office and so many other parts of life in the Old West.
Draußen, our historical buildings all have captivating stories. But I tend to be a bit partial toward the Carriage Works, the Sheriff’s Office, and the beautiful Church where communities gathered. In the Carriage Works is a wonderful collection of the transportation modes of the era, some restored and some original, but each important to how people and merchandise moved around. The Sheriff’s Office is very authentic, with an original jail from here on the Western Slope. And the Church is simply beautiful. If you listen, you can hear the preacher. And after services, you can feel how the community stayed together to discuss the issues of the day and to connect and reconnect with each other. In fact, the church is so nice that it’s in demand these days as a wedding and anniversary site, where couples come for an experience that’s unique and memorable.
I’m John. As one of the Tour Guides at the Museum Of The Mountain West, it’s my pleasure to make sure you have the most amazing, fun and informative tour ever. Come visit us. Let this incredible collection, presentation and personal tour work their magic on you.