Living West Primary Image

Core Exhibition

Living West

Fierce Yet Fragile

Colorado’s environment has shaped human history. At the same time, people’s choices have shaped the land.

Journey into the deep relationships between Colorado's people and its land through three stories: life at Mesa Verde 800 years ago, the 1930s Dust Bowl on the southeastern plains, and today’s Rocky Mountains.

See History Colorado’s renowned collections of ceramics, basketry, and other archaeological finds from Mesa Verde. Tribal representatives from the Santa Clara, Zia, Acoma, and Zuni pueblos and the Hopi Tribe helped select nearly 200 artifacts to illuminate the lives of ancestral Pueblo people.

Experience the epic “Black Sunday” of the 1930s in an immersive Dust Bowl theater. Decide who gets (and doesn’t get) Colorado’s most precious resource—water—with a water diversion project you operate yourself. And, measure your own water “footprint.” We developed these and other one-of-a-kind Living West interactives in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota.

History Colorado is committed to continued work with Tribal partners to ensure that we are aligned with both the law and spirit of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Learn more by clicking here.

Eastern Slope Water display with cranks and turning wheel.
Presentation board with sticky notes about An Uncertain Future
Mesa Verde exhibit panel about tree rings.
Pottery display from Mesa Verde.
Dust Bowl - Black Sunday Theater exhibit installation
Grasshoppers and drought display. Clothes hang from a clothesline covered in locusts.

Living West explores the living dynamics between the people of Colorado and their state’s extraordinary environment.