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 Keota, circa 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."
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!
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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.