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A Force for Good: Superpower Civics Comes to History Colorado Center
Opening Oct. 19 in a stunning new gallery at the History Colorado Center, "What’s Your Story?" introduces 101 passionate Coloradans—and guides guests to their own powers for positive change.
DENVER, Colo. (SEPTEMBER 12, 2019)—The special place Coloradans call home is the result of generations who have used their powers for good. It is a place where values like innovation, collaboration, and integrity are celebrated. Beginning Saturday, October 19, those people and values have a new home eager to catalyze an even better Centennial State, full of Coloradans who embrace and share their powers within.
What’s Your Story?, a new exhibit in a brand new gallery,is presented with generous support from CiviCO.
Amid 2,000 square feet studded with multimedia features like creation stations for digital posters, Buzzfeed-style quizzes, and a photo booth, visitors explore more than 100 objects and meet 101 Coloradans who have made influential journeys. They encounter—in relatable ways that highlight common opportunities and everyday realities—pathways from ideas, feelings, and thoughts to actions, failures, and triumphs. The exhibit’s highly interactive style and subject matter are designed to be especially relevant to middle- and high-school students. History Colorado’s Youth Advisory Council provided feedback on concepts and content during the exhibit’s multi-year development process.
Powerful objects featured in the exhibit include a prototype for testing lead in drinking water developed by Gitanjali Rao, created when she was only eleven years old; the shoes worn by Tommy Caldwell when he completed the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park, described as the hardest successful rock climb in history when it was accomplished in 2015; and an 1894 letter from women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony celebrating Colorado’s expansion—by popular vote, more than 25 years before the national adoption of the 19th amendment—of voting rights for women.
“What’s Your Story? empowers visitors to see themselves alongside generations of Coloradans who have made an impact in communities throughout the state and across the nation,” said Julie Peterson, Public Historian and Exhibit Developer. “Visitors will connect with others—from engineers to social justice advocates, from outdoor enthusiasts to public servants—who care about the same things that they do, and maybe share their superpower.”
Influential Coloradans featured in What’s Your Story? include Senator Casimiro Barela, nonprofit leader Christine Benero, conductor Antonia Brico, preservationist Dana Crawford, musician John Denver, youth leader Juan Franco, Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin, Judge Ben Lindsey, artist Emanuel Martinez, Denver Mayor Federico Peña, cultural mediator Amache Ochinee Prowers, astronaut Jack Swigert, and mountaineer Agnes Vaille.
What’s Your Story? inaugurates the Owens Hickenlooper Leadership Gallery on the fourth floor of the History Colorado Center, one of two new galleries coming to its visitors this year. Named through generous support from CiviCO, it was created in the centrist, nonpartisan spirit of the Governor’s Citizenship Medal, which is supported by both the sitting governor and all of his living predecessors, regardless of political party. CiviCO and Governor Jared Polis present the 2019 medals at the History Colorado Center on Saturday, October 12.
“We feel blessed that the History Colorado Center had the courage to create this special place to honor the citizens among us that make Colorado our Colorado,” said Ryan Heckman, Co-Chairman, CiviCO. “This exhibit will inspire all of us to be better versions of ourselves for the future of our great state.”
The Seven Superpowers of What’s Your Story? Courage: Your bravery in challenging situations helps you face fears. You can be counted on to push through, even when things are difficult or scary. Creativity: Your imagination drives you to make new things. You see the world in a unique way and turn ideas into action. Curiosity: Your open mind gains valuable knowledge from every experience and encounter. To learn is to grow! Determination: Your laser-like focus drives you to overcome obstacles. You draw strength and perseverance from your commitment to see things through. Empathy: Your connection to other people allows you to sense their feelings and needs. You use your sensitivity to understand and help people. Passion:Your strong sense of purpose drives you to make a difference. You bring great energy and deep commitment to the things you care about. Resilience: Your ability to adapt helps you through tough times. You can problem-solve through missteps to get back on course.
History Colorado has become a force for finding new and inclusive ways to serve Coloradans. Like What’s Your Story?, many focus on Colorado’s next generation. In 2018 History Colorado provided programs to more than 18,000 students in their own schools, and assisted more than 40 schools with bus funds, to expand efforts that now serve more than 85,000 students annually. Its all-day Hands-On History program at El Pueblo History Museum responds to the four-day school week that is now administered by 61% of Colorado school districts.
As an effort that empowers visitors to see themselves as capable of making an impact on their communities, the exhibit mirrors several ongoing public engagement initiatives at History Colorado. They include Bold Women. Change History., the primary public forum of Colorado’s statewide Women’s Vote Centennial; the Year of La Chicana, a community partnership that connects the core issues of the Chicano movement with present day issues of social justice, identity, and inclusion; and the Museum of Memory project, a public-history initiative to help communities reframe challenges and struggles into histories of resilience and pride.
ABOUT HISTORY COLORADO
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through the History Colorado Center and statewide Community Museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.