Lafayette History Museum showcases the history of Lafayette, Colorado through our exhibits, programming, tours, and other activities.
Housed in the Lewis Home, an 1890s coal miner’s cottage that is on the National Register of Historic Places, the very walls that make up the museum help tell the story of Lafayette. Although the museum was founded with a focus on coal mining, the scope of our more than 4,000 artifacts ranges beyond that era to tell a broad history of Lafayette.
Lafayette History Museum’s vision is to be a vibrant center that identifies, preserves, protects, and honors the heritage of Lafayette while inspiring curiosity to shape the future.
The Lafayette Historical Society began collecting items related to the history of the local community in 1976. That same year, Elmo Lewis sold his childhood home to the Society under the condition the house become a museum dedicated to the history and coal mining heritage of the town. Situated on the town’s original main street, across from its old City Hall, the Lewis House witnessed much of Lafayette’s life, including parades and celebrations, elections and protests—not to mention nationally significant labor strikes and cultural conflicts.
Over the years, the museum grew from focusing on Lafayette’s coal mining roots to be the primary repository of the city’s history. With the additions of walking tours, school field trips, and community programming, the museum works to share stories from throughout Lafayette’s past, both long ago and more recent. We seek to show all our visitors how our past continues to shape the Lafayette of today—and tomorrow.
From 1976 to 2022, the museum operated under the name Lafayette Miners Museum. In 2022, the Lafayette Historical Society changed the name to Lafayette History Museum to better reflect its scope of collections and programming that ranges well beyond the mining era. Without neglecting the mining heritage, the museum strives to capture the totality of Lafayette’s local history.
The museum contains a wealth of Lafayette history, from the early days of pioneer heritage, through the coal mining years, and into the present.
Lafayette History Museum’s collection consists of some 4,000 items, including roughly 2,600 historic objects (such as agricultural and coal mining tools and equipment, architectural features, and household goods), about 500 textiles, some 350 archival documents (such as ledgers, records, newspapers, scrapbooks, local ephemera, maps), and approximately 1,000 photographs. The collections predominately date from the 1880s through the 1940s, when coal mining was at its height.
More detail about our collections appears under Resources.
How We're Funded
Lafayette History Museum is not an official City museum, so the support of our members and donors is crucial to our continued ability to collect, preserve, and share Lafayette’s history. We do receive annual funding from the City of Lafayette, primarily generated by Ordinance No. 58, Series 2017, which enacted a 3.5 percent excise tax on commercial storage spaces and whose proceeds help fund local arts, culture, and history organizations. We also receive regular funding from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District Act and other competitive grants on local, state, and federal levels.
The support of community members is what enables us to survive and thrive. Please donate now to help us continue to showcase the history of Lafayette.
To learn more about the museum’s work, achievements, and plans for the future, please click below to explore our annual report.