Luis Colón has joined History Colorado as Chief Administrative Officer, spearheading key areas of fiscal management, and Glenys Ong Echávarri joins History Colorado as its next NAGPRA Liaison and Tribal Consultation Coordinator. Both Colón and Echávarri will harness strong legacies in their positions as they contribute their new expertise to impactful responsibilities.
Luis Colón comes to History Colorado with a wide spectrum of finance experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including governmental leadership as the former manager of Denver’s Department of General Services. He also brings experience from a number of boards and commissions, including the Colorado Commission of Higher Education and the Denver Scholarship Foundation. Among his duties as CAO, he will lead History Colorado’s accounting, human resources, facilities, and IT efforts. Colón holds an MBA in Strategy and Finance from the University of Michigan, an MA in Mechanical / Industrial Engineering from Cambridge University (UK), and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Colón’s first day at History Colorado was March 8. He succeeds Lynne Winchell, who is continuing her career in public service at the Community College of Aurora. A seasoned administrator and fiscal expert, Winchell carefully guided History Colorado’s budget through significant revenue reductions, including a 51% drop in History Colorado’s main funding source, related to the pandemic.
Glenys Ong Echávarri served four years as NAGPRA Collections Assistant at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle. (More information about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is available here.) She worked on both domestic and international repatriation while moving the museum’s NAGPRA collections to a new facility, following cultural protocols and ceremonies in consultation with the museum’s Native American Advisory Board and spiritual leaders. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Brown University and is completing her MA in Museology at the University of Washington. Echávarri’s thesis research has covered Indigenous perspectives on museum decolonization.
Echávarri will begin her work at History Colorado on April 1. She fills a role at History Colorado established by Sheila Goff, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for State and Local History upon her retirement in 2019. During her years as History Colorado’s NAGPRA Liaison and Curator of Archaeology and Ethnography, Goff worked with forty-eight tribes to repatriate cultural objects and human remains and to develop museum interpretation that centered Native expertise and perspectives. Isabel Tovar has also led work in this area at History Colorado, including partnership with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe on the transfer and reburial of five culturally unidentifiable Native American individuals.
In the spirit of healing and education, we acknowledge the 48 contemporary tribes with historic ties to the state of Colorado. These tribes are our partners. We consult with them when we plan exhibits; collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts; do archaeological work; and create educational programs. We recognize these Indigenous peoples as the original inhabitants of this land.
About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 142-year-old institution that operates Colorado’s oldest museum, nine additional museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is the nation’s largest preservation program of its kind. The SHF currently administers more than 280 grants across Colorado, of which more that 70% are allocated in rural areas.
Beginning in 2019 History Colorado has added curators of Latino Heritage and LGBTQ+ History to its staff, and added a full-time position to its Museum of Memory team, which works proactively to incorporate underserved communities and voices into its contemporary collecting initiative and other efforts. The History Colorado Center is the nation’s first state history museum to display a monument toppled last summer with new, inclusive interpretation. History Colorado now shares anti-racist grounding virtues in all of its job postings, and asks all applicants to describe how these principles show up in their work.
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.