History Colorado Promotes Dawn DiPrince as Chief Operating Officer
DiPrince to expand organization’s successful community-centered programming across the state
DENVER (March 25, 2019) – History Colorado announced the promotion of Dawn DiPrince to the position of chief operating officer. DiPrince has worked for History Colorado since 2012, most recently as the chief community museum officer. In that capacity she also served as director of El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo, Colo., where she spearheaded the development of the museum’s portfolio of community-centered programs. Those innovative programs inspired History Colorado museums in Montrose, Trinidad and the San Luis Valley to undertake similar efforts to preserve their local heritage in the face of statewide growth and change.
As History Colorado’s chief operating officer, DiPrince will relocate to Denver in July 2019 and focus on scaling and replicating many of the human-centered programs she successfully developed in museums across the state, for broader statewide impact. She will continue performing her role as chief community museum officer from the Denver office.
DiPrince’s promotion builds on a period of significant growth for History Colorado, following the expansion of its board of directors, appointment of a new State Historian and the first State Historian’s Council, and launch of a five-year strategic plan development led by Dan Ritchie, chancellor emeritus of the University of Denver. DiPrince was selected as part of this strategic planning effort.
DiPrince says her goals as COO are to help History Colorado become a more integrated organization and connect History Colorado’s work with communities to have greater impact around the state. “It’s important to expand the ways we think about history,” DiPrince said. “Institutional, academic history and scholarship is important, but our communities offer additional layers of history that include memory sharing, community tradition, and ancestral knowledge. All of these expand what history is and who it includes.”
DiPrince was the lead developer of the Borderlands of Southern Colorado initiative, which will culminate with programs and exhibitions at three History Colorado museums this summer. Her Museum of Memory programs showcase histories that are co-authored by the community, and her Hands-on History program provides interactive history education outside of regular school hours, which is especially important for districts that have four-day school weeks. “Our community work has actually fortified the revenue of our museums – we’ve expanded our audiences and have seen more interaction in all aspects of the vision,” she noted.
A highlight of DiPrince’s tenure at the El Pueblo History Museum was the implementation of an innovative, inclusive and community-centered approach that exceeded its most ambitious expectations. The museum broke records for public engagement and community impact. As a result, El Pueblo History Museum has redefined its role in the Pueblo community and has become an essential cultural center.
In summer 2018, DiPrince led the transformation of History Colorado’s Byers-Evans House Museum into the Center for Colorado Women’s History, becoming a place to celebration and discovery.
DiPrince’s vision for History Colorado centers around the idea of bringing more people in, meeting people where they are and creating pathways for connection. “I believe deeply in the value of authentic experiences, in creating a place to connect to one another through common interests, and in the ability for history to help us give meaning to our lives and our place in the world,” she said.
“Dawn’s understanding of what makes history relevant has allowed us to connect deeply to non-traditional museum audiences,” said Steve Turner, executive director of History Colorado. “Dawn is a trusted partner in the communities we serve, and a leader within our organization. In her new role she will help us to build capacity to reach broader audiences in meaningful ways.”
About History Colorado
Founded in 1879 and celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, History Colorado’s mission has always been to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. The charitable organization and historical agency serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities. With eight museums around the state, History Colorado shares the cultures and stories that define Colorado’s past and present, including: History Colorado Center (Denver); Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver); El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo); Trinidad History Museum (Trinidad); Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center (Fort Garland); Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin (Leadville); Ute Indian Museum (Montrose); and Fort Vasquez (Platteville). Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.