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Cool Items at Boulder's Museums

Boulder’s museums are like portals to secret worlds — past, present and future. Go see these items to spark your curiosity, and keep exploring from there.

Caribou Ranch Digital Record Player

Learn about a 1970s recording studio in the hills behind Boulder where Elton John, Stevie Nicks, Joe Walsh, John Lennon and many other artists recorded albums. At the Museum of Boulder, you can put on headphones and play their songs on a digital record player, one of just many hands-on exhibits in the Boulder Experience room of the museum.

Where: Museum of Boulder

The digital record player at Museum of Boulder

Insider Tip

Today, Caribou Ranch is a designated nature area. The studio closed after a 1985 fire and hasn’t reopened, but the remaining ranchland is now protected land with popular hiking trails. It's about 35 minutes west of Boulder.

The Mahaffy Cache

Look back (wayyyy back) as you examine a collection of 13,000-year-old stone tools stumbled upon by a Boulder landscaper in 2008. The collection is called the Mahaffy Cache after Boulder resident Patrick Mahaffy, who called the University of Colorado's Anthropology department upon the discovery of the ancient tools in his yard. 

Where: CU Museum of Natural History

The Mahaffy Cache at CU Museum of Natural History

Deluxe Talkgirl

Take a super-nerdy trip down memory lane and tinker with the Deluxe Talkgirl, a voice-changing cassette recorder from the 90s, at this lab dedicated to preserving vintage technology.

Where: Media Archaeology Lab

The Deluxe Talkgirl at the Media Archaeology Lab at CU

Sharkive Print

Boulder is home to an internationally recognized archive of lithographic prints by master printer and publisher Bud Shark. The Sharkive, as it’s called, includes this piece, “Last Rays” by Yvonne Jacquette. The Sharkive prints are light sensitive, so there is an ever-changing selection of items on exhibition. Call ahead (303-492-8300) to see what's on display during your visit. 

Where: CU Art Museum

Boots from Everest's First Summiteer

View one of the most extensive collections of mountaineering artifacts in the country, including artifacts like boots from Edmund Hillary, who, along with Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, became the first climbers confirmed to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. Bonus points if you're brave enough to take a peek at the preserved toe that's also part of Neptune's artifact collection.

Where: Neptune Mountaineering