What in the World? Pioneer Edition

Each September, the Highlands Ranch Cultural Affairs Association partners with the Highlands Ranch Metro District to bring the old West to life. Over the course of two days at the Highlands Ranch Mansion, young and old alike are invited to engage with local history in a variety of hands-on experiences, such as beekeeping, gold panning, hayrides, a petting zoo and mansion tours.

During this Pioneer Days event, volunteers from the Highlands Ranch Historical Society share a variety of artifacts from the early days in our community. These include items commonly used in schoolhouses, on ranches, in workplaces and in daily life. Engaging with the participants, our volunteers encourage them to guess at what some of these antiques might have been used for – asking questions such as, “What do these items have in common?” To which one person answered, “They’re old.”

How many of these artifacts can you identify?  (ANSWERS WILL BE AT THE VERY BOTTOM OF THIS POST)






Touching the Past

At the annual Pioneer Days event, local elementary school children take part in hands-on educational experiences at the Highlands Ranch Mansion. Volunteers offer a variety of opportunities to bring the past to life with hayrides, a petting zoo and gold panning. The Highlands Ranch Historical Society shares artifacts from our near past like those that were used in daily life in homes and on ranches in what is now our community. Unlike a museum, these items can be touched and explored to spark curiosity and understanding. These antiques range from animal pelts to butter churns. Some are items long since obsolete and many are still in use – in updated versions – today.

A few of the items were favorites among the hundreds of school children who came by during the event:

School Bell    Who doesn’t love to make a lot of noise?

Butter Mold   Kids couldn’t guess what this was but were intrigued by how its parts went together.

Egg Beaters Still in use today, this item was fun to play with, as was the tabletop butter churn.

Antique Shoes   Children were fascinated by the antique shoes and how difficult they would be to lace up.

Iron Both irons were popular artifacts to lift and play with – perhaps because they reminded kids of dumbbells.


A.  Chamber Pot   B.  Foot Warmer    C.  Toaster   D.  Pasta Cutter   E.  Rug Beater


Written by Marian Robinson, with thanks to the many HRHS Volunteers who helped the visitors enjoy these old-time artifacts!