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Small town museum finds ways to thrive during pandemic

Posted at 3:17 PM, Aug 15, 2020

CRIPPLE CREEK — A small town like Cripple Creek needs people from out of town to pass through, shop, eat, and spend money at local businesses. When tourism stops, revenue stops, and the Cripple Creek Heritage Center---is no exception to that.

Every year people from Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, visit the different exhibits to learn about the small town's rich Western history, while getting a taste of Colorado's Gold Rush Era.

Heritage Museum Tourism Manager, Michelle Rozell, says the facility took a huge financial hit, Since COVID shut down the state in March.

"We really rely on that Spring break crowd, and that really hurt us," Rozell explained.

Tourism has dwindled, and the visitors they are seeing are from farther out.

"The numbers are so weird because we are having fewer visitors all together, but the sales are very competitive," she explained. "They're not as high but we have very fewer people. I'm not sure where it's coming from but we'll take it!"

Rozell says the staff had to make huge adjustments in order to make it safe for tourists. They require everyone to wear masks, and they consistently sanitize the exhibits, and hand-sanitizer is always near.

"It's still nerve wracking and we are seeing people from all over the country. We don't know if they are social distancing. It's been a learning curve and fortunately the staff has been very fluid and flexible. It's been a very interesting ride for all of us."

For more information on the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, click here.