Saturday, February 22, 2014

History Colorado Center


When I lived in New York City, I loved to enjoy all it had to offer, and now that I am a full time resident of a suburb of Denver, I am doing the same in this stimulating city. Denver has quite a bit of arts and entertainment to offer its residents, and one of the museums my husband and I enjoyed visiting recently is the History Colorado Center, located at 1200 Broadway, Denver, Colorado, in the Golden Triangle Museum District.  As you can see by the buffalo sculpture outside the center, the football season was still in progress during our visit!


Opened in 2012, the History Colorado Center is a modern museum that presents the past history of the state of Colorado with new perspectives, and hands on exhibits, in an award winning building designed by and constructed by an all-Colorado team. The History Colorado Center is also a Smithsonian affiliate, and was called "the first great history museum of the 21st century" by the Smithsonian Affiliations Director Harold Closter.  The building houses core and traveling exhibitions/public programs, the Office of History and Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the State Historical Fund, the Stephan H Hart Research Library, and other History Colorado functions.  Its research and historical collections are extensive.


What is really striking about this new museum is the way it makes history come alive through its interactive exhibits!


As soon as you walk into the main floor, called the Anschultz Hamilton Hall, you will see a giant topographical map of Colorado on the floor.


By manipulating rolling "steam punk style time machines," you can see information about events that happened in different locations in the state, at different times on the machine's computer screens. The 132 LED screens on the wall also show breathtaking hourly programs



You can watch this YouTube video of how the time machine works! It's pretty cool!


One of the "Colorado Stories," exhibits replicates what it was like to live in a homestead town on the Colorado high plains called Keotacirca 1918.  This 5,000 square foot exhibit portrays life in the town at the time. You can wander through the one room schoolroom, shop at the general store, milk the cow or gather the eggs on the farm, sit on the porch swing, go inside the house and smell the pie cooling on the oven. The exhibit includes the photos and stories of some of the people of this once hard scrabble farming community. Although homesteading was part of the American Dream of the early west, the people of Keota found the extreme temperatures and lack of rainfall on the high plains too arduous to allow for profitable farming, and slowly the population dwindled, until it is now a "ghost town."


Part of the Keota exhibit is an actual circa 1920 Model T Ford car to ride! As a museum guest sits in the car it rattles as if driving over a bumpy road on the plains, and a movie plays on the screen to give you effect of being part of a family on a drive.  My husband enjoyed the ride!


Another exhibit we saw as part of "Colorado Stories," was an exhibit about the Silverton Silver Mine, circa 1880. Visitors enter an elevator that simulates going down a mine shaft, and then going into the mine. As you walk around "underground," you are greeted by miners on TV screens that describe the hard work and dangers miners faced each day, and what your job would be in each section of the mine. Colorado miners also had to be mountaineers, and cope with harsh winter weather and slippery granite slopes.


A different "Colorado Stories" exhibits was the story called "Confined Citizens: The Amache-Granada Relocation Center, 1942-1945. After the attack on the US Naval Base Pearl Harbor, 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were forced into interment camps. One in Colorado was called "Amache." Half of the imprisoned population here were children. Two Thirds were American citizens. None were accused of a crime. In this exhibit you can walk into a reproduction of the meager barracks the imprisoned Japanese were forced to live in--an entire family in one room which measured twenty by twenty four feet. The barracks had one window, one single light bulb, a small coal stove for warmth, and thin mattresses on cots to sleep on. You can view a very interesting, interactive online exhibit about Amache on this link on the museum's web site.

To his credit, the Governor of Colorado at the time, Ralph L. Carr,  took an unpopular stance by inviting Japanese Americans to stay in Colorado after the war. He also publicly stated his opinion that their internment was unconstitutional.


There were many other "Colorado Stories" exhibits to see. Among them were "Tribal Paths" about Colorado's native Americans from 1500 to today, Convergence: Bent's Fort, where, between 1833 and 1849, weary Sante Fe Trail travelers would stay and trade at this marketplace like no other. In "Jumping For Joy: Steamboat Springs, 1915," we learned how skiing became the way of life for mountain men, mail carriers and miners in the Rocky Mountains. Soon, non mountain people came because they learned skiing was fun! Norwegian ski champion Carl Howelsen taught Steamboat's children how to ski, and there is an interactive exhibit where you can ride down a simulated ski slope. It takes some time to learn to land correctly, as you can see from my husband's failed attempts in the photos above.  "Denver A to Z," and other exhibits make for a very full and interesting museum experience.  

The History Colorado Center promises to offer many new and ongoing programs and events in the future. We enjoyed our visit so much that we paid for a year's membership, and hope to return very soon to see some of the upcoming exhibits.  I hope if you visit Denver, Colorado, you will place the History Colorado Center on you list of places you'd like to visit. It's both fun and educational!


I'm adding this post to the following blog events:

Many thanks to the blog hosts of these events!

PS: There is still time to enter the Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care products sweepstakes on my this post, for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card! The contest ends on 2/28/14--see post for the official rules.
 I've been using the lotion and oil spray for a few weeks and I love how soft and moisturized they have made my skin. 
 Good Luck!


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37 comments:

The Gathering Place said...

Pat, you give such interesting, fact filled tours of the many places you visit. I learn a lot each time I visit your blog. I really enjoy those "hands on" museums!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I have a new museum to add to my bucket list.

diane b said...

That sounds an exciting hands on museum. What a way to learn history much better than boring teachers and text books.

Sarah said...

I certainly do enjoy touring around with you, Pat.

Daniela said...

You know how much fascinate I am with history, especially that belonging to America, and I really enjoyed visiting the History Colorado Center together with you !!
It was so exciting watching the time machine and with this go back in time to old American roots, live part of the Old American Dream, I really thank you so much Pat for this so nice beginning of my Sunday !!
To come and visit you is as living always new adventures, I love it !!!!
Warm hughs to you, dear <3
Dany

Lynn@Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

I love the buffalo wearing the jersey! Looks like your hubby was having a good time too! Happy Sunday Pat:@)

Vee said...

This post itself was very interactive! Thanks for the information. Loved the time travel...so innovative!

eileeninmd said...

Pat, another great museum.. I loved the exhibits and photos. Thanks for sharing your day! Have a happy week!

Michelle said...

I liked the photographs you shared on Pinterest. This is quite an interesting place.

Nancy's Notes said...

Thank you for sharing, always so interesting to see what you have in store for us! I'd love to visit that museum!

Barb said...

Pat, what an interesting and informative post! The museum didn't look crowded at all on the day you went. I should take my grandchildren there - they're old enough now to understand and enjoy it. Thanks for the idea!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

What an interesting and enjoyable tour! :)

ellen b. said...

It's always so educational to go on these visits with you. Thank you for taking the time to give us so much information!

A Garden of Threads said...

Looks like an amazing place, I like how you can interact with the exhibits. Hope you have a great week.

Bonnie said...

I love to travel with you, Pat. This was very informative and interesting.

Betty said...

That sounds like a wonderful place. I went to the site and read about the WWII interment camp. It's so hard to believe that we did that to American citizens. What were we thinking? A sad part of our history.

Lina Gustina said...

That's a place that I'd love to visit. Thanks for the wonderful tour.

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SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

Isn't it interesting that the museum is on Broadway?

I found the video informative--especially the part about the early women's movement.

That BLUE bear is a new blue to me!

Happy Blue Monday.

Ann said...

Oh it would be so fun to be in the drivers seat of the Model-T car. I could add this to my trip agenda when we visit our family there. I'm sure my grandson will have some school trips there.
ann

Lorrie said...

That would be a wonderful museum to visit, should I ever go to Denver. Love all the interactive play that they've added. Makes history come alive.

Joy H said...

Thanks for the contest link and this post makes me think maybe it is time I go to our History museum. It has been a long time since we have been there. Have a great week.
Joy at Books and Life

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love the way you are immersing yourself in all that your area has to offer. This looks like a terrific museum.

carol l mckenna said...

You are certainly having a wonderful time and providing excellent photos for OWT ~ thanks,

artmusedog and carol
www.acreativeharbor.com

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I'm so happy that you share your outings with us! This will certainly go on my list of places to see when we go back to Colorado. Which will be in just a year or two, I hope. I really enjoyed this post, Pat. Have a wonderful week!

Wandering Wren said...

Well I enjoyed this post and then I diverted back to one of your older NYC posts - as you know I'm doing my homework for our forthcoming visit and your posts are always so informative :) Thank you
Wren x

jeannettestgermain said...

Such interesting museaums! Have tween twice in Colorado Springs but never in Denver - thanks for sharing!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

What a treasure trove of memories you've created for me again. Denver...one of the best cities west of the Mississippi! [Bud and I went down to the bottom of a gold mine once west of Colorado Springs. I think the name of the mine was the Kathleen or something like that -- years ago, it was. I don't know how those men survived one day down there!! Scary.

La Petite Gallery said...

That time machine is fantastic, we have a map floor in our Maritime museum here in Rockland Maine. It shows the fabulous coastline and
all the lighthouses. I never knew the Camps were in Colorado. I bet you have some wild stories about a full moon too. Loved the post.
yvonne

La Petite Gallery said...

That time machine is fantastic, we have a map floor in our Maritime museum here in Rockland Maine. It shows the fabulous coastline and
all the lighthouses. I never knew the Camps were in Colorado. I bet you have some wild stories about a full moon too. Loved the post.
yvonne

ladyfi said...

Looks like a great museum.

Yvette said...

Thanks for this most interesting tour of the History Colorado Center, Pat. I'm 'wowed' by the huge map on the floor when you first walk in. (I could say: they had me at the map.) I love the whole idea of steampunk 'time machines' too. Actually, I liked everything featured on your post. I would love this museum too.

I like that they feature a part of the past that most people would rather forget about too - the shameful Japanese interment camps.
Governor Carr was obviously a thinker ahead of his time.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

An interesting post that I enjoyed reading. Some nice shots.
Liked the map on the floor.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

merrilymarylee said...

You put most of us to shame, the way you make the most of your surroundings. I appreciate the photos that take us there, too. You're a treasure.

If you had a travel show, I'd be in front of the TV. :)

merrilymarylee said...

You put most of us to shame, the way you make the most of your surroundings. I appreciate the photos that take us there, too. You're a treasure.

If you had a travel show, I'd be in front of the TV. :)

Huldra said...

What a great wy to learn. Thank you so much for the tour :)

Jacqueline said...

You are always so fun to take us all over where you live. I need to do more where I live! Hubby grew up in Denver. He will have to see this.

edenhills said...

That looks like such a neat museum to visit. I love the ones that are interactive.