The mission of the Ouray County Historical Society (OCHS) is dedicated to preserve, protect, procure, exhibit and interpret whatever relates to the natural, social and cultural history of Ouray County and the adjoining San Juan Mountain region of Colorado.
The Museum is housed in the original St. Joseph's Miners' Hospital that was built in 1886 and finished in 1887. In its early days it was operated by the Sisters of Mercy, all of whom came to Ouray from Durango, Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska.
It was a hospital until 1964. In 1971 the Ouray County Historical Society began exhibiting in the building. In 1976 the historical society purchased the building for a museum. There are three floors containing 38 exhibits in twenty-seven rooms. Smaller displays are located in hall cases, alcoves and the original hospital dumb waiters.
The Museum features mining, ranching and railroading, the three main means of employment in Ouray's early history. It houses many artifacts dating back to Ouray's earliest days which began in 1875. There are large displays of minerals and Indian artifacts in the building. Plan to visit this fascinating museum. You'll want to set aside a minimum of one hour for your visit. Many tourists and residents of Ouray spend several hours touring the Museum. Staff and volunteers are always on hand to answer your questions and assist you with research and sales.
OCHS also features a Research Center at 722 Main Street in Ouray containing over 25,000 documents, over 5,000 photographs and a 9,000 book library titled "The W. Ross Moore Mining History Library of the American West."
The Research Center can be visited by appointment only. Call 970-325-4576 to schedule an appointment.