Press Release

This Is What Democracy Looks Like: History Colorado Launches Massive Election Year Project | #HistoryColorado

DENVER, Colo. (February 27, 2020) — As the presidential election year approaches its fever pitch, history is coming to the rescue.

John Eding, Manager of Communications and PR
303-594-2133 |

History Colorado proudly announces five exhibits, dozens of inspiring works by local artists, and more than 30 engaging programs at the History Colorado Center and throughout the city. Offering upbeat provocations and challenges that inspire renewed participation in election-year democracy, this ambitious, multifaceted public engagement initiative—launched today through the start of a project with Colorado artists—is known as This Is What Democracy Looks Like. Its online hub for tickets, details, and dialogue is

Major touchstones of This Is What Democracy Looks Like include historian Richard Bell presenting on Alexander Hamilton and the founding generation; 9News Anchor Kyle Clark speaking about news media and democracy; a presentation by indigenous artist Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute); and a visit by activist filmmaker Astra Taylor to screen and discuss her film What Is Democracy?

Two marquee exhibitions provide this initiative’s solid foundation. At the History Colorado Center, American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith (September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021) is presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. Awe-inspiring national treasures dazzle guests while interactive elements spark conversation about civil rights, political debate, and compromise from the nation’s formation to today. Artifacts range from the pre-statehood handwritten laws of Buckskin Joe’s mining camp to the priceless inkwell from the Civil War surrender at Appomattox.

At the Center for Colorado Women’s History at the Byers-Evans House Museum, Bold Women. Change History. (March 7, 2020–February 2021) is a telling story of how Colorado’s voters became America’s first to extend voting rights beyond men. The exhibition highlights topics that are especially resonant during this presidential election year, like grassroots organizing, the influence of news outlets, and racism in political advocacy. It is a platform of the Women’s Vote Centennial // Colorado 2020.

American Democracy also features a Four Freedoms Project by local artists David Ocelotl Garcia, Rochelle Johnson, Cori Redford, and Carmen Richards. These artists are creating personal interpretations of four American values—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—articulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the brink of World War II. As a study in contrast that powerfully speaks for itself, their works will be displayed alongside archival reproductions of Norman Rockwell’s patriotic interpretations that were widely embraced in the U.S. during and following the war. These creations will be unveiled in a sneak peek on Colorado Day (August 1). Rockwell’s originals will be on view at the Denver Art Museum May 2–August 23, 2020.

“Now more than ever, we believe that historical context is vital to civic discourse on current events,” says Steve Turner, Executive Director & State Historic Preservation Officer. “There has never been a better time to explore the role we all play in advancing democracy.”

“At History Colorado we constantly search for ways to intersect our mission with the practical needs of our communities,” notes Chief Operating Officer Dawn DiPrince. “Today, we see a need for an antidote to the divisive side-effects—like fatigue, frustration, apathy, and isolation—that have bloomed within our political landscape. This initiative imagines re-energizing the hopefulness in our shared ideals of community, people power, and liberty.”

A leader in service to students and teachers throughout the state, History Colorado hosts field trips for more than 50,000 youth annually, including more than 12,000 students from Title I schools. For information about the standards-aligned This Is What Democracy Looks Like experience that supports curriculum across multiple disciplines, click here, call 303-866-2394, or email History Colorado will also offer free admission over winter break for teens, teacher professional development opportunities, and “Civics Care Packages” in Colorado schools during this initiative.


Bold Women. Change History. Liette Gidlow | Post-Suffrage Politics
History Colorado Center, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 7–8 p.m.
Tickets: $5–15

Bold Women. Change History. Gale Norton | First Female Secretary of the Interior
History Colorado Center, Thursday, April 9, 2020 | 7–8 p.m.
Tickets: $10–25

Women Behaving Badly
History Colorado Center, April 29, 2020–February 2021
In works combining watercolor with historical photography, news clippings, and text, Denver-based artist Adri Norris highlights women who’ve made history. She seeks to answer three questions about each woman she depicts: Who is she? What did she do? Why does she matter? “I want people to see themselves in those stories, to consider how they may be like those women and think differently about women in general,” Norris says.

Liberated: America Fights for Democracy in World War II
History Colorado Center, May–December 2020
Rediscover one of America’s most courageous fights for democracy in a powerful exhibit featuring such treasures as Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor Michio Tanawaki’s journal, Helen Rowland Proctor’s toolbox from her time assembling bombers for Boeing, and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s fencing foil, captured by Colorado’s own 10th Mountain Division.

Bold Women. Change History. The Summit 
History Colorado Center, Wednesday, May 27, 9 am–4 pm
Tickets: $65–100

Summer Offsite Event Series: There’s Always Something There to Remind Me
Work Work Work: Thursday June 11, 6–8 pm at SAME Cafe
Plan Bee! Saturday July 11, 10 am–noon at Riverside Cemetery
Movement + Migration: Thursday August 13,  6–8 pm at Four Mile Historic Park

Native Democracy
History Colorado Center, August 2020–July 2021
Curated by indigenous artist Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute), Native Democracy provides an artistic interpretation of the meaning of democracy from a Native perspective.

Unity Square
History Colorado Center, September 2020–January 2021
The hub of activation spanning all five floors of the History Colorado Center, this exhibit in the iconic Anschutz Hamilton Hall offers twelve engaging activities. 

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse
The Historic (and haunted) Grant-Humphreys Mansion, October 29, 2020
Build a coalition, fight for change. Or fight zombies.


American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith was developed by the National Museum of American History and adapted for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. 

The Denver presentation of American Democracy is sponsored by Rhondda & Peter Grant, the Abarca Family Foundation, and Mary & George Sissel.

The Women's Vote Centennial // Colorado 2020 is sponsored by Cathey McClain Finlon & Richard Finlon, Former Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne, and The Honorable Wilma J. Webb & The Honorable Wellington Webb.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like is sponsored by donors to the Executive Director’s Innovation Fund.

About History Colorado
Inclusive, values-driven, and intentional, History Colorado has become a force for finding new ways to serve people in Colorado. 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.

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 and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and nine other museums and historic attractions statewide. Visit, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.