Press Release

Governor Jared Polis Selects Dawn DiPrince as Colorado’s State Historic Preservation Officer

Leading a vital resource for people in Colorado, DiPrince brings a renewed focus on community service and inclusion to this influential role. #HistoryColorado

DENVER — Oct. 28, 2021 — Governor Jared Polis announced Dawn DiPrince as Colorado’s next State Historic Preservation Officer on Oct. 19, 2021.

John Eding, Communications & PR Manager
303-866-3670 |

She is a fourth-generation Coloradan, and a champion for work that shares the history of all communities and people in our state, who has held several leadership positions at History Colorado since 2012 and became its Executive Director on Sept. 1, 2021. In this new additional role, DiPrince will guide the far-reaching work of Colorado’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which has been operated by History Colorado since its establishment through the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

DiPrince assumes her role amid stark inequities in historic preservation in Colorado and beyond. As of 2020, only eight percent of the properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places relate to underrepresented communities and/or women nationwide, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Here in Colorado, of the approximately 1,500 properties in this state listed by the National Register, less than five percent are directly related to the history of women and underrepresented communities.

History Colorado has been increasing its efforts to address these inequities. In August, for example, it helped earn a National Park Service Underrepresented Communities Grant to document sites related to the Women's Suffrage movement and nominate them to the National Register. In July,  the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded History Colorado a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to create an African American Heritage Trail Program in Colorado, which is currently in development under History Colorado’s first Associate Curator of African American History and Cultural Heritage, Dexter Nelson II, and Madeline Alexander, Engagement Coordinator with Black Communities.

“Historic preservation is transformational and revitalizing for Colorado communities, both economically and socially,” said DiPrince. “I am committed to forging new pathways and opportunities to ensure that the history we are preserving is representative of all the many people who call Colorado home—and that we are wildly inclusive about who is benefiting from preservation in our state.”

A division of Colorado’s Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year, History Colorado has operated Colorado’s SHPO since the office was established. The SHPO maintains Colorado’s inventory of historic places, administers federally funded state programs, implements a statewide historic preservation plan, coordinates with tribal governments, manages tax credit programs, and oversees the impact of large construction and development projects on historic locations and archaeological sites in the state. 

While the office is shaped by relationships with large federal agencies, its focus is supporting the economic and social vitality of local communities. Colorado’s SHPO operates the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), the nation’s largest preservation program of its kind. Funded by limited-stakes gaming in Colorado, the SHF has generated more than $2 billion in economic impact since its creation in 1991. More than 70 percent of SHF grants are awarded in rural areas of the state. The SHPO is also home to Colorado’s Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP), which leads stewardship of some of the most culturally sensitive and beautiful archaeological sites in the world. According to a new study released this month, Colorado’s scenic and historic byways supported by OAHP have resulted in almost 29,000 jobs and over $1.2 billion in labor earnings since 2015. Thirteen of Colorado’s 26 byways are also designated as America’s Byways by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation—more national designations than any other state.

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 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 ten other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.