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The Colorado Historical Museum

The Colorado Historical Museum

This museum strikes an excellent balance between breadth and depth, offering visitors an engaging education about Colorado history while keeping children entertained through interactive recreation of a 1918 plains town and imparting more knowledge of Colorado’s varied past.

Since a painful incident occurred more than 10 years ago when History Colorado closed an exhibit showcasing weapons from the Sand Creek Massacre, its collaboration with tribes has dramatically improved.


The Colorado Historical Museum is a vibrant space full of visitors from both locally and out-of-town alike. Since 2012, its new building has welcomed people of all backgrounds – with exhibits strengthened by an atrium which helps orient and guide visitors through their surroundings. Natural lighting fills its galleries and Colorado materials such as beetle-kill pine and Douglas fir woodworking fill its galleries, while boasting LEED Gold Certification with recycled content usage – quite an upgrade from what once housed its old museum just one block north!

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The new building houses all functions of the Colorado Historical Society including archaeological and historic preservation, State Historical Fund, Stephen H. Hart Research Library, and all operations. Designed by Tyrba Architects with contemporary urbanist/neomodern aesthetic in mind. 

There is also a large library room on the first floor. On the second floor there is an exhibition featuring Denver in 1860 while other exhibits showcase prehistoric and historic American Indian life, mining history, fur trade history, fur trading history as well as large diorama of its cityscape during its prime.

In 1900, Colorado history fans celebrated as the legislature allocated $100,000 for the Colorado Historical and Natural History Society to have its own permanent home. Over time, however, their collections grew so extensive that in 1909 a separate division of archives was formed to handle documents and records while museums kept cultural artifacts for display.

Gail Ridgely of the Northern Arapaho Tribe is enthusiastic about History Colorado’s new exhibit on the Sand Creek Massacre. According to Gail, it’s essential that these stories be told fully and honestly – which was lacking from previous exhibits which “were simply taking this tragedy and watering it down”.

Richie believes the key to effective exhibits lies in including the voices of those who experienced the events accurately, so he’s been working closely with tribal partners on an exhibit about the massacre that is driven by oral histories rather than just facts, in order to illustrate its long-term ramifications on survivors and descendants alike.

Exhibits at the Colorado Historical Museum offer visitors a fascinating look into Colorado’s past, featuring artifacts and storytelling to recreate an experience in Colorado West history – such as a 1910 ore car used for local clay mining, Norton Brown’s 1892 engineering degree from Colorado School of Mines, four Golden murals by Hal Shelton – all are included with admission fees.

Education Programs

The museum provides educational programs and field trips for both students and teachers. Programs range from virtual visits for students, hands-on artifacts, interactive tours of the museum, activities that foster dialogue about history and current day lives as well as discussions that help make connections between past events and contemporary life.

The Denver Museum features exhibits and activities suitable for multiple ages to educate Coloradans of all backgrounds about Colorado’s vibrant history. Exhibitions like Bold Women Changed History, Winter Warriors and The Sand Creek Massacre: A Betrayal that Changed Lives Forever link Colorado’s past with our present society.

Educators can utilize the resources available for each exhibition, including teacher guides and activity sheets, to plan their visit with students. Additionally, the Denver Museum offers many online resources including audio/video clips, photographs and articles. Their collections span an expansive spectrum from Native American cultures to Colorado homesteading era.

Colorado Stories is a new exhibition designed to introduce visitors to the people and places that have helped shape Colorado history. Using interactive displays such as ski jump simulator, information about Granada War Relocation Center and an examination of successes and difficulties experienced by Colorado’s African-American community over time, Colorado Stories shows visitors how Colorado has progressed over time.

As well as educational programs, the museum also offers educational kits that can be checked out to meet specific classroom needs and include all necessary materials. Each kit also comes with an educator guide which explains how lessons in each kit relate to Colorado academic standards.

The museum serves as a custodian of Golden’s historic collections and serves as a venue for research and education on their historical significance. Many universities in Colorado offer academic programs in museum studies, heritage history and natural history as well as graduate and undergraduate degrees in public history; furthermore many museums provide internship opportunities to give college students practical hands-on experience in museums.

Special Events

The Colorado Historical Museum engages visitors in Colorado’s past through engaging exhibitions and hands-on experiences that immerse them in its past. Additionally, special events and programs throughout the year that explore Colorado’s rich history and culture take place here – such as “Below the Surface: Mining & Colorado’s Cultural Landscape”, which explores how mining altered life in the region by offering opportunity for some while creating hardship for others while simultaneously showing love, connection, and dignity even during difficult times.

Other events held by the museum include a pumpkin harvest festival, holiday delights and brunch with Father Christmas as well as Indigenous games, presentations, arts and crafts at Four Mile Historic Park. Furthermore, educational programming and tours for students from local schools and community groups.

An 1892 Engineer of Mines degree and 1910 ore car are among the many artifacts from Golden’s early days that visitors can view at this exhibit. A classic donkey like those used by tourists riding Castle Rock is available for photo opps as well. 

Visitors can gain further insight into Golden’s history through watching its video introduction with new footage; additionally they can consult a timeline gallery guide that displays hundreds of epic events that happened over its long history.

Visitors to Aurora Museum can explore nature by exploring their outdoor living history site at Gully house and Round barn in Aurora. Surrounded by High Line Canal Conservancy, guests are invited to participate in cleaning up litter along the trail in order to enhance environmental sustainability.

The museum provides an ideal setting for weddings, corporate meetings, parties and anniversary celebrations of any type – weddings, meetings, parties and anniversary parties alike! Their staff will work closely with you to make sure it’s memorable and meaningful experience. When planning an event at the museum be sure to call with as much information as possible regarding date, type of event and desired date/type of event details as soon as possible!

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are essential in supporting our museum projects and are expected to make regular commitments of time that may range from several hours per month up to multiple days per week, depending on our needs.

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Volunteer opportunities at our museum encompass a broad array of skills and abilities. Before commencing work, all volunteers must undergo a training program covering exhibit content, programs/activities/general museum education theory. Additional specialized training may also be required for certain volunteer positions like fossil preparation and museum education.

Volunteering at the museum is a wonderful way to build relationships, broaden your perspective and give back. There are many volunteer opportunities at the Museum, from assisting with research or giving tours to organizing large events such a Day Out With Thomas and THE POLAR Express.

All volunteers must be at least 16 years old and attend an orientation class, along with having reliable transportation to reach the museum. Volunteers are required to present current photo identification as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Docents at the Museum act as ambassadors of its collections to visitors, staff and members of the community. Docents greet and welcome guests upon entry; assist with information requests such as tour groups and school children; help maintain exhibit galleries and answer any inquiries regarding its collections and their care; promote merchandise sales through special guided tours; preserve artifacts & historical documents for safekeeping; care for artifacts/historical documents by taking good care in maintaining them and also keep accurate records of visits/sales/other information in their books.

Docents must possess extensive knowledge about the history, collections, and mission of their Museum. Additionally, they should have excellent interpersonal and customer service skills as well as be willing to receive training in all areas of the Museum.

Volunteers helping the museum with marketing, communications and fundraising efforts can contribute to our ability to bridge past and present. This includes promoting upcoming events, programs and special exhibitions; selling calendar ads; managing membership renewals and much more!


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