Press Release

History Colorado Announces Two New Museum Directors

New hires bring dedication to expanding Coloradans understanding of our shared destiny.

DENVER — December 22, 2023 — History Colorado is excited to announce the recent hire of new directors for two of its community Museums: Susan Fries, deputy community museums officer and director of the Center for Colorado Women’s History, and Charlotte Vesel, director of the Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin

Luke Perkins
303.886.3670 | 

Both Fries and Vesel have worked with History Colorado in other capacities and have been promoted to museum directors because of their powerful visions for the future of these historic museums, their dedication to the community and for their proven ability to share the rich history and diverse cultures of the Centennial State.

“Charlotte and Susan are great additions to History Colorado’s Community Museum team and I'm excited to welcome them into their new positions,” said Eric Carpio, chief community museum officer & director of Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center. “Both of them bring unique knowledge, passion, and a commitment to History Colorado's mission of creating a brighter future by reclaiming unremembered histories and engaging with our shared past.”

A long time resident of Pueblo, Susan Fries has a Masters of Business Administration from High Point University, and a B.A. in History from the University of California. Fries also brings more than a decade of grant writing and fundraising experience with her to the Center for Colorado Women’s History. 

An employee of History Colorado since 2019, Fries will transition from being the director of fundraising for History Colorado’s community museums where she raised more than $3 million in funds over two years from a combination of Federal, State, and private foundations.

“Over the past three years of work at History Colorado, I'm most proud of the increased resources I've brought to rural Colorado communities,“ Fries said. “Through the work I've accomplished, History Colorado’s community museums have had their first support from the National Endowment for the Humanities which funded multiple exhibitions across the state.”

Before coming to History Colorado, Fries served as an economic development specialist for Pueblo County from 2016-2019 and as the CEO of the Pueblo Creative Corridor from 2005-2016. While managing the Pueblo Creative Corridor, Fries facilitated the collaborative efforts of more than 90 non-profit organizations and civic partners, as well as established a development plan that generated more than $3 million.

Fries plans to apply her expertise to the management of the Center for Colorado Women’s History and to expand visitors' understanding of women’s roles in the complex history of Colorado.

“At the Center for Colorado Women’s History we are injecting the voices of women throughout history into the standard narrative of the west,” Fries said. “We're looking forward to creating exhibits and programs that are accessed throughout Colorado and acknowledge the many ways that women have contributed to the diversity of our state's history.”

An educator since 1988, Charlotte Vesel brings a wealth of pedagogical knowledge to Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin and a strong connection to the town of Leadville. She holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany and a master’s degree in Elementary Childhood Education from Columbia University.

Vesel plans to apply her expertise to the educational offerings at Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin so they better illuminate the lasting impacts of the past on our present world.

“My belief is that we cannot understand ourselves today unless we understand our shared history,” said Vesel. “In the many decades I have spent as an educator, I have always sought to find new, innovative ways to not only teach what happened long ago, but also how that manifests in the present, and gives us hope for the future.”  

This approach, along with Vesel’s fluency in English, Spanish, French and German, will rejuvenate the museum and allow for the facilitation of multilingual tours that foster ownership of both the museum and the history of Leadville for all of its residents.

“Right now I am focused on bringing people into the Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin and sharing this history in as many languages and ways as possible so everyone can feel like this very special place is a space where they belong too,” said Vesel. 

About Center for Colorado Women’s History
History Colorado’s Center for Colorado Women’s History  is located at 1310 Bannock Street, Denver. Operating inside a historic house which has been the home for inspiring women since 1883, the Center for Colorado Women’s History is the first state museum focused on the past, present, and future achievements of  the women of the Centennial State. The Center focuses on scholarship, research, public programs, narrative, lectures, and exhibits that expand the understanding and collective memory of the history of women in Colorado. 

The museum is open Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with guided tours available every hour. For more information, visit or call 303-620-4933.

About the Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin
History Colorado’s Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin is located at 912 Harrison Avenue, Leadville. Built in 1878, the Healy House looks out over historic and scenic treasures of the storied mining town of Leadville. The grounds also include a historic garden with a gazebo, and the historic Dexter Cabin, built in 1879, which served as the Leadville residence for mining investor and businessman James V. Dexter. 

Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin is currently closed for renovation but plans to reopen in 2023. Visit or call 719-486-0487 for more information.

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 143-year-old institution that operates eleven 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 one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of 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.