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History Colorado Center To Open At The End Of April

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The History Colorado Center (credit: History Colorado)

The History Colorado Center (credit: History Colorado)

DENVER (CBS4) – History Colorado announced Monday that the History Colorado Center will open April 28.

The museum will feature exhibits and programs that will blend technology, media, environments and artifacts.

“The History Colorado Center is more than a new museum — its development served as the impetus to transform the 132-year-old Colorado Historical Society into History Colorado and launch the organization into a new era,” said Ed Nichols, History Colorado President and CEO.

The new Colorado History Museum is located at 13th Avenue and Broadway in Denver.

“The History Colorado Center will be a place for self-discovery, inspiration, scholarship and fun,” Nichols said. “Our goal is to meet and then exceed the expectations of a savvy, modern, museum-going audience with original high-tech and hands-on interactive multimedia along with authentic artifacts and evocative stories of Colorado’s diverse people.”

The History Colorado Center is a new Smithsonian Affiliate

“History Colorado is in a position to help Coloradans understand the present in the context of the past and can serve as a forum for civic conversations about today’s issues in an historical context. But, to accomplish that, we needed to re-think our approach to presenting history—a subject too many people can all too easily neglect,” said Nichols.

Below is information released by History Colorado:

History Colorado Center Exhibitions

Exhibits in the nearly 200,000-square-foot, $110.8 million museum are slated to open in several phases. Inaugural exhibits, which begin installation in January, celebrate the spirit of the people over the past 10,000 years and the enduring communities they built.

History Colorado retained the services of Janet Kamien, a nationally renowned exhibit developer whose credits include the exhibition program at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, to work with staff in developing exhibit content. Andrew Merriell & Associates, a Santa Fe, New Mexico firm responsible for master planning and exhibition design for museums nationally and internationally, was awarded the contract for exhibit design. Richard Lewis Media Group, whose most recent work is on display in the Human Evolution Hall at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., joined the team to design media components.

Together, staff and consultants are producing the first phase of museum exhibitions, which includes:

• The Great Map of Colorado & Time Machine: This 40-by60-foot terrazzo tile map of Colorado imbedded into the floor of the museum’s atrium is part of Colorado’s Art in Public Places program, which integrates the art experience into the built environment and civic spaces. The map was created by nationally acclaimed artist Steven Weitzman and serves as both a work of art and an interpretive experience. Visitors are invited to wander across the map and explore this artistic rendition of Colorado’s unique topography.

The map comes to life with History Colorado’s own “Time Machine,” where visitors push an H.G. Wells-inspired, steampunk-like device over the map to hit hot spots that treat them to video stories from the region. Time Machine stories explore serious subjects ranging from the 1914 Ludlow Massacre and the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers to humorous tales of the Colorado/Texas Tomato Wars of the 1980s and Max Kuner’s famous Dancing Pickles.

• The People, the Place & the Promise: A dynamic media wall with 132 interlocking LCD screens in the History Colorado Center’s atrium will feature a timeline orienting visitors to the chronology of Colorado history, from 10,000 years ago to the present. Introducing visitors to the museum’s programmatic themes is Colorado: The People, The Place & The Promise — a beautiful collage of images that plays every hour.

• Destination Colorado: A 5,000-square-foot exhibit introduces visitors to the 1920s dryland farming town of Keota, a place residents called “the Arcadia of the West.” Designed especially for families, this exhibit invites visitors to enroll in the town high school, ride down a dusty road in a Model T, share town news in a homestead kitchen, climb into a hayloft and swap eggs at the general store. Town residents, who are based on the actual residents of the town and presented on oversized media screens, greet visitors in each location and share the stories of their lives in Keota, while text panels provide a national and international context to this local story.

• Colorado Stories: This 9,500-square-foot exhibit examines eight distinct Colorado communities from the 1300s to the present to illustrate the diversity of Colorado’s peoples and environments.

Descend into a 1880s hard-rock mine shaft to learn about mucking, mules, blasting and the pluck that it took to do this important work. Or visit Steamboat Springs circa 1915 to take a virtual ski jump off the famed Howelsen Hill and meet the man who introduced ski jumping to North America. Choose an avatar to venture into Bent’s Old Fort in the 1800s to trade with Kit Carson, Captain John C. Frémont and Chief Yellow Wolf at this global trading post.

Visitors will also experience stories from Lincoln Hills, one of only a few resort communities in the U.S. for African Americans during the 1920s Jim Crow era; and of Amache, and the survivors of the internment camp forced on Japanese Americans during World War II; as well as the devastating collision of communities that resulted in the tragic 1864 Sand Creek Massacre.

Architecture Meets a Need

Located in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District and Civic Center cultural complex, the building was designed by Denver-based Tryba Architects, managed by the Denver office of Trammell Crow Company and constructed by Greeley-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

Tryba Architects specializes in highly visible public architecture and has developed a national reputation for designing distinctive places and unique works of architecture. Principal David Tryba noted that museums are “community anchor institutions” and are among the most trusted institutions in our country. “They are places that are critical to the quality of life in our communities. As core community institutions, they have a unique opportunity to fulfill a diverse range of needs. The History Colorado Center will provide just that kind of anchor,” he said.

“The History Colorado Center’s modern, sleek architecture evokes the spirit of Colorado through its use of native colors, natural light and Colorado materials, reflecting the vibrancy of the western landscape while beautifully augmenting the other highly notable historic buildings in Denver’s Civic Center complex, as well as modern buildings such as the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Public Library and the Clyfford Still Museum,” said Nichols.

Notable highlights of the History Colorado Center include:

• Highly experiential exhibits featuring authentic artifacts from History Colorado’s extensive collection along with high-tech features and hands-on activities for visitors to explore major issues that shaped Colorado. A 10,000-square-foot gallery will serve as a space for traveling exhibitions in the future.

• Community gathering spaces for civic engagement, discussion and celebration. A sky-lit, four-story atrium, a large auditorium and classrooms provide spaces for programs, lectures, classes and parties for school children, families and adults; there is first-floor retail space and a restaurant/café; and private rental spaces that offer breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.

• State-of-the-art collections storage facilities, providing highly efficient climate-controlled environments for History Colorado’s vast collection of books, documents, manuscripts, photographs and artifacts. The Stephen H. Hart Library is easily accessible to museum audiences, providing a portal to History Colorado collections for scholars, students and curious visitors of all ages.

• Green. The History Colorado Center is the newest state building to be built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. A variety of recycled and Colorado materials, including beetle-kill pine, Colorado sandstone, Douglas fir woodworking and cabinetry made of strand-woven aspen, are incorporated throughout the building.

Background

The History Colorado Center is located at 1200 Broadway in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District and Civic Center cultural complex, within blocks of the Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum, the Denver Public Library, the Byers-Evans House Museum, the CELL and the state capitol building.

The HistoryColoradoCenter replaces the ColoradoHistoryMuseum, which was located at 13th Avenue and Broadway and was demolished in May 2010 to make room for the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center.

The History Colorado Center and the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center projects were financed together through the sale of Certificates of Participation (COPs) and without the use of State general funds. The History Colorado Center construction project alone generated more than 700 jobs and more than $110 million in economic impact, according to projections done by Trammell Crow Company.

The History Colorado Center serves as headquarters for History Colorado administration, including the State Historical Fund and the Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.

Making History, Colorado!

While the History Colorado Center building was funded through the sale of COPs, private funding is needed for the development and installation of exhibitions and other educational programs. Through the Make History Colorado! campaign, History Colorado is nearly halfway to reaching its $33 million capital campaign goal, having received initial support from community leaders, local and national foundations, and corporations. Visit “Support Us” on HistoryColorado.org for more information.

History Colorado members will be among the first to experience this stunning new cultural destination. Charter members will receive invitations to the grand opening preview and free, unlimited general admission and guest passes not only to the History Colorado Center, but to all History Colorado museums, as well as passes to ride the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad®, discounts on special programs and merchandise, and a subscription to Colorado Heritage magazine. Visit “Membership” at HistoryColorado.org for a complete list of benefits.

About History Colorado

Established in 1879, the Colorado Historical Society—now known as History Colorado—preserves Colorado’s rich heritage through the State Historical Fund, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, collections stewardship, statewide museums and special programs for students, educators and visitors of all ages. History Colorado is headquartered in the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District. Find History Colorado on Facebook at Facebook.com/HistoryColorado and Twitter @HistoryColorado. For more information, visit our website at www.HistoryColorado.org, or call (303) HISTORY.

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