For more than 40 years, the Littleton Museum has served as the primary repository for the history, art, and culture of Littleton. Located on 39 acres, the museum consists of two living history farms (one representing the 1860’s and one representing the 1890’s), a small lake, a collections center, and a main exhibition and administration building.
The main building was renovated and expanded in 2004, increasing the structure’s square footage from 9,000 to almost 32,000. The new building, which opened in February 2005, houses the museum’s four galleries, research center, lecture hall, educational classrooms, and offices.Often cited as one of the top ten local history museums in the United States, the Littleton Museum has an outstanding reputation within the museum community. It is one of only 700 museums to be fully accredited by the American Association of Museums, and one of only 140 members of the Smithsonian Affiliates. In 2007:
- The museum budget is $1.358 million.
- The museum is staffed by 13 full-time and seven part-time employees.
- The budget and staff are divided among four divisions: Administration, Collections, Education/Interpretation, and Exhibits
The Administration Division is comprised of six full-time and four part-time employees. This division has responsibility for employee and board relations, facility management, finances, and visitor and volunteer services. The Collections Division has three full-time staff and is responsible for collections maintenance, research, exhibitions, outreach, and fine arts. The Exhibits Division is a one-person operation staffed by a curator of exhibits who performs exhibit and graphics design and manages temporary and traveling exhibits. The Education and Interpretation Division has four full-time and three part-time staff who are responsible for visitor relations, interpretation and educational programming. Interpreters work the farm sites, run the blacksmith shop and teach in the school house, offering a "living history" perspective to the museum visitor. The research center is open to the public, The collections center, across Gallup Street from the museum, houses an impressive collection of over 40,000 historically significant artifacts that are used as educational tools, for research and in the changing exhibits in the museum galleries.
The museum expansion project was made possible by a 20-year lease/purchase agreement with the Littleton Building Corporation (LBC) for a principal amount of approximately $15.5 million. As part of the transaction, the city conveyed the museum property to the LBC for $6 million with the remaining $9 million in value added by the expansion. The LBC is a non-profit corporation organized under Colorado law expressly to finance and construct public facilities. This financing tool has been used in Littleton for more than 30 years, as well as many other cities and counties in Colorado. Other projects financed in this manner include the Town Hall Arts Center, the Littleton Center, the Municipal Court House, and equipment such as fire trucks and public safety radio systems.