Press Release

Humbly, with Joy: History Colorado Begins Public Reopening

New hours, exhibits, Fourth Grade Family Pass await visitors to a safer new normal

DENVER, Colo. (June 15, 2020) — After opening its digital windows wide, History Colorado is ready to carefully reopen its doors.

Press Contact:
John Eding, Manager of Communications and PR, History Colorado
303-594-2133 | john.eding@state.co.us

The next step in History Colorado’s agile response to COVID-19 is a safer new normal for members and visitors to the History Colorado Center, downtown Denver’s only Smithsonian Affiliate museum, and several additional museums throughout the state. In Denver, the restorative John Denver Experience headlines a host of new offerings, among them a bat and jersey from newly minted Colorado Rockies hall of famer Larry Walker. Along with continued online events and resources, it’s all designed to surprise and delight dedicated Coloradans who continue to do their part during Safer at Home.

Details on mandatory timed tickets (on sale June 15) and other aspects of safe social distancing at History Colorado attractions statewide are available at historycolorado.org/welcome.

The first day of new operations at the History Colorado Center will be Monday, June 22. That day—along with all Mondays this summer, through August 31—is reserved for History Colorado members only at the History Colorado Center and the nearby Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House. This member benefit includes participants in History Buff, the free year-long membership now available to all fourth grade students and their families statewide. Details and mandatory pre-registration are available at h-co.org/4thgrade.

All eight of History Colorado’s museums throughout the state are returning to in-person service: the Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center opens today, June 15; Fort Vasquez (Platteville) opens Wednesday, June 17; Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin (Leadville) will open on Thursday, June 18; the Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver), El Pueblo History Museum, and Trinidad History Museum open Friday, June 19; the Ute Indian Museum (Montrose) opens Monday, June 22. The Georgetown Loop Railroad has also returned to service.

“We are always eager to serve our fellow Coloradans, but especially in times like these where we have all pulled together with care for our community and state,” said Dawn DiPrince, chief operating officer. “This has been our commitment since the onset of this crisis. In that same spirit, we have thoughtfully planned safe and careful ways to re-welcome our guests this summer at all of our museums. And, for those who prefer to remain safer-at-home, we are rich with digital events and resources, like our new podcasts, our programs for youth and families, and our popular online volunteer project for the Women’s Vote Centennial commemoration.”

SUMMER AT THE HISTORY COLORADO CENTER

The John Denver Experience | June 22 – August 16, 2020
More than 12,000 square feet of rejuvenating whimsy, the immersive environs of the John Denver Experience are a handcrafted ode to the boundless joy and creative spirit of an immortal songwriter, performer, environmentalist, and humanitarian. Under the soaring skylights of the 40-foot-high Anschutz Hamilton Hall, visitors soak up the freshest air in all of Downtown Denver’s great indoors while rekindling their love for our magical state.

The John Denver Experience is a tranquil no-to-low touch environment. It is set amid the ambience of aspens and evergreens and backed by a soundtrack of essential John Denver songs that are punctuated with the sounds of nature. The experience features a sunshine room, nature photographs taken by Denver, concert footage, and photo ops with life-size John Denver cutouts. Artifacts on loan from the John Denver Estate, including an all-denim ski suit and handwritten lyric sheets, are also on view.

Surprise scavenger hunts with free keepsakes are available for families, along with shopping in the contactless gift shop. On Thursday evenings, when the History Colorado Center is open until 8 p.m., guests enjoy energizing performances from local musicians and artists supported by History Colorado. Performers including Venus Cruz, DJ Slave1, the Mile High Soul Club, Barry Osborne from Swallow Hill Music, and Molina Speaks are set to appear beginning July 2.

Forty Years on the ’Fax: Colfax Avenue, 1926–1966 | June 29 – ongoing
Take a nostalgic ride down Colfax, with stops at the quirky and memorable places that gave the street its worldwide reputation. See relics from the glory days of “America’s longest, wickedest street,” like neon signs from Across the Street Cafe and Sid King’s Crazy Horse Bar, matchbooks from hundreds of famous businesses, and menus, glasses, and dishware from restaurants Denverites dined in for decades. Guest curated by Jonny “the Velvet Elvis” Barber, Forty Years on the ’Fax features objects from the Colfax Museum collection. Having gathered prime pieces of Colfax history for over a decade, Barber opened his museum in 2017, only to shutter its doors a year later after a flood. History Colorado is thrilled to offer visitors a chance to see these treasures amid its Colorado Stories exhibition while The Colfax Museum finds its new home.

Hecho en Colorado | July 6 – January 10, 2021
See historically significant paintings, sculptures, textiles, and writings from Colorado’s Chicano/Mexican American community, including selections from up-and-coming artists as well as such prominent figures as Carlota EspinoZa, Carlos Fresquez, and David Ocelotl García. Presented in collaboration with the Denver Latino Cultural Arts Center, Hecho en Colorado (Made in Colorado) honors the artistic achievements of a community whose impact continues to shape Colorado culture. The exhibit is on view in the ground-floor Ballantine Gallery, which will host regularly scheduled small-group Cafecitos that grant exclusive access to groups who register in advance. Larger virtual events with artists discussing their influences and experiences will also take place via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Beer Here! Brewing the New West | Through August 2, 2020

Game Changers: 100 Years of Negro League Baseball | Through September 15, 2020
Game Changers is now joined by an adjacent display related to baseball in the west: a bat from Larry Walker, the first Colorado Rockies player to be selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as Walker’s jersey from the 1998 All Star Game held at Coors Field.

STATEWIDE

HistoryBuff – 4th Grade Family Pass | June 1 – Ongoing
Roam free, history buffs! History Colorado now offers a free year-long membership to all fourth grade students in the state. Benefits include admission to all of our museums for the student and their family*, one free child ticket to the Georgetown Loop Railroad, discounts on programs, and a subscription to our monthly e-blast. If your child begins 4th grade this fall, you are immediately eligible. Information on mandatory pre-registration is available at historycolorado.org/historybuff.

*Valid for the student History Buff and up to five additional people (two adults and up to an additional three children). The group rate will be charged for any additional guests. For general museum admission only. For individual or family use only. Not valid for school or summer camp visits. No cash value.

Hands-On History @ Home Summer Camp Kits | Beginning June 15
History Colorado now offers our Colorado history camp at home. Supplies, craft activities, and ideas for getting outside and exploring are provided through History Colorado sites in Denver, Pueblo, and Montrose. Virtual Camp sessions are offered on Zoom each weekday morning at 10:00am MT for kit participants. Kits are designed primarily for youth ages 6 through 12. Details and registration are available at historycolorado.org/hands-history-home-summer-camp-kits.

About History Colorado
Inclusive, values-driven, and intentional, History Colorado has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with an agile reorganization following the temporary public closure of its eight museums. Its blitz has created new educational channels for adults and youth (including virtual field trips supporting educators), full-length episodes of its podcasts, a series of Archaeology & Preservation webinars, a major volunteer project, a weekly digest with over 20,000 subscribers, and one of the nation’s most comprehensive collecting initiatives: a partnership with dozens of schools, communities, and more than 40 newsrooms called History in the Making.

While working from home, its State Historical Fund staff distributed more than $1 million in grant dollars to community projects across the state between March 20 and April 20, and continued its grant funding on schedule. Its El Pueblo History Museum collected donated supplies for community elders in collaboration with local organizations. The Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center is a Community Access Site for San Luis Valley college students who need digital connection to attend online classes. Its curatorial and archaeology teams have donated masks and gloves for the medical effort.

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. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.

About John Denver
One of the world’s best-known and best-loved performers, John Denver (born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.) earned international acclaim as a songwriter, performer, actor, environmentalist and humanitarian. Denver’s career spanned four decades and his music has outlasted countless musical trends and garnered numerous awards and honors. His complete bio is available here.