Photo Credit Frank Ooms

History Colorado Center

Built to honor our great state, the History Colorado Center was designed to embody all things Colorado, right down to the building’s rectangular design that mirrors the state’s footprint. Native materials, like Colorado sandstone interiors, Douglas fir woodwork and strand-woven aspen complement more than 130 years of curated Colorado history tucked inside this stunning four-story museum, just steps away from the ART, a hotel.

Colorado's 10,000-year timeline

The floor of the central atrium is an awe-inspiring 40 by 60-foot map of Colorado embedded in the terrazzo floor. Internationally recognized artist Steve Weitzman created the abstract “painting” using 234 precast tiles, creating an interpretation of Colorado as seen from 400 miles in space. Two stories above, the map reveals a media wall of 132 interlocking LCD screens that portray Colorado’s timeline over the last 10,000 years. Don’t worry, the video lasts just 20 minutes.

Visitors step into the story of Colorado’s rich past. From books to manuscripts, from artifacts to photos, the center’s high-tech, hands-on exhibits give visitors a glimpse of quintessential Colorado. Take a virtual joy ride in a Model T Ford, get an education on outhouse culture and engage in a throw-down match between some famed Denver icons, like John Elway, Denver Broncos former quarterback, or Mary Elitch, the first woman to own and manage a zoo. 

The History Colorado Center even plays up its well-known eccentricities. Learn about the town of Leadville, which built a palace out of 5,000 tons of ice in 1896, or discover the town of Uravan, which thought there was a future in mining uranium-238 in 1946. In the end, Leadville’s ice palace melted, and the town of Uravan had to be evacuated for radiation poisoning. These stories – and more – fill a space on Colorado’s historical timeline, encapsulating the Centennial State and its shift from the wild frontier to the 21st century.

Unique exhibits – like the 2014 “Race: Are We So Different?” exhibit – spurs community conversations while exploring Colorado’s history and society. Not only does the museum strive to attract school programs and community organizations, but it also enlists businesses to become community partners in Colorado’s ongoing conversation.

Join the dialogue – attend a lecture, take a tour or comingle at the center’s after-hours event, a Thursday night outing complete with cash bar and off-beat games, trivia and activities.

History Colorado Center
1200 Broadway