Salida Museum’s annual open house will feature new exhibits and historical presentations from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.Saturday, May 12. The museum is located on I (eye) Street where it ends at U.S. Highway 50 in Salida.

Admission to the open house is free.

Activist historian Melanie Roth, president of Historic St. Elmo and Chalk Creek Canyon, will speak at 1 p.m. about her lifelong association with the historic ghost town and the preservation work her organization has been doing there. Roth is also a member of the Chaffee County Heritage Advisory Board, where she has worked tirelessly to identify historic properties throughout the county and obtain state and national recognition and funding for them.

From noon until 3 p.m., Wallace Ewing and James Barnett will be signing their new book, “Focus on Salida,” a pocket-sized guide to the old-style architecture and fascinating history of Salida.

Visitors are encouraged to browse the museum during the open house and enjoy the changes since last year. The railroad and mining artifacts have been moved closer to the front door. The Tuesday Evening Club and medical exhibits have been refreshed and the fashionable lady exhibit has expanded considerably.

Cookies, soft drinks and other refreshments will be served during the open house.

The steam engine that was donated after the creosote plant closed in Smeltertown and which sat for years on the other side of the museum was moved last year to a prominent spot next to the museum’s  front door. The fence around it was removed so visitors can get up close and take pictures and selfies. Museum volunteers will be on hand to explain the mysteries of how a steam engine works.

Salida Museum Association President Susan Jesuroga, who is organizing the open house, also noted the passing of two long-time volunteers, Judy Micklich on March 16 and John Skinner, Dec. 19.

From the beginning, working with founder Harriet Alexander, Micklich helped run the museum and then from 1975 until just a few years ago led the volunteer organization, assembled many of the exhibits and helped visitors with genealogy.

Skinner, a former board member, was an engaging man who always had a story, a poem or a joke to tell and particularly enjoyed telling visitors the colorful story of Sheriff Baxter Stingley and his untimely demise.

Following the open house, the museum will be open daily with regular summer hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., subject to availability of volunteers. Entrance fee will remain the same at $5 for adults and $3 for youth.

For more information, go to salidamuseum.org and the museum’s Facebook page, or call the museum at 719-539-7483.