Cortez Cultural Center | Visit Mesa Verde Country

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Cortez Cultural Center

Local Arts & Culture

Housed in a 1909 historic building, the Cortez Cultural Center contains a wealth of information on archaeology and Native American culture. The Center’s Museum displays interpretive exhibits on the Basketmaker and Pueblo periods of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Also featured are displays from the Ute Mountain Ute, Pueblo, and Navajo tribes. Monthly art exhibits feature local and regional artists. A mural on the back of the building depicts a traditional pueblo and serves as a backdrop for Native American Dances. Dances are held Memorial Day to Labor Day, Monday through Saturday at 7 pm. The outdoor plaza also features a Hogan, a traditional home of the Navajo people that visitors can enter and explore. The Center also owns Hawkins Preserve, a 122-acre natural and cultural preserve within the city of Cortez and open to the public year-round. Several trails throughout this natural desert setting give visitors the opportunity to see many diverse plant and animal species.

Know Before You Go
  • Open year-round, Monday-Saturday
  • Open 7 days a week in summer
  • No entrance fee for the museum or dances, donations are welcome
  • Allow at least one hour to view exhibits
Main Attractions
  • Native American artifacts, exhibits
  • Native American dances
  • Hawkins Preserve
Getting There

Cortez Cultural Center is located in Cortez at 25 N. Market Street, one block off of Main Street. To get to Hawkins Preserve in Cortez, take Main St to S. Broadway (Hwy 491); turn left on W. 7th St. then right onto S. Oak St., then right onto Verde Vu.


The Cortez Cultural Center is the only place in Colorado that hosts Native American Dances on a regular basis. Visit tribal cultural centers and museums in another way. The Ute Mountain Tribal Park was selected by National Geographic Traveler as one of “80 World Destinations for Travel in the 21st Century.” Only 9 places in the United States have received this special designation. There are several other tribes in the area that share the landscape of the Ancestral Puebloan People, including the Southern Ute Tribe and the Navajo Nation.

Know Before You Go

  • Consider all tribal lands and Pueblos as private homes and private property
  • Always call ahead to confirm event dates and access to tribal lands
  • Some Pueblos prohibit photography and any artist image replication, or require a permit to photograph
  • Even with a permit, always ask permission before taking a photograph of a tribal member
  • Tribal dances are religious ceremonies, not public performances
  • It is a privilege to witness a ceremony
  • Silence is mandatory during all dances and ceremonies
  • Do not bring cell phones to ceremonies

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