Press Release

History Colorado Opens Community Driven Exhibition at Auraria Library

Exhibition highlights generational connections of community displaced by urban renewal

DENVER — August 10, 2023 — History Colorado is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition, “I Am Auraria'', on August 23, 2023 at the Auraria Library. “I Am Auraria'' is the culmination of a year-long Museum of Memory project that shares the stories of the hundreds of families who were displaced to make room for the higher education campus that now stands at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. 

Luke Perkins, Manager of Communications and Public Relations
303.866.3670 | 

This Museum of Memory project is one of more than a dozen similar public history projects History Colorado has completed statewide as part of a commitment to assist communities in documenting and sharing their histories on their terms. 

“It has been an honor to work closely with the displaced Aurarian community to understand the vibrant and thriving neighborhood that once existed and the pain of its loss,” said Dawn DiPrince, President & CEO of History Colorado. “In their stories, you can smell the tamales and green chile, hear the children playing outside, feel the excitement of sacraments at St. Catejan's, understand the comfort of neighbors who are family, and grasp the desperation of being forced from your home.”

The displaced Aurarians Museum of Memory project included six workshops with more than 150 total participants, many of whom experienced the displacement period directly. The workshops included memory jogging experiences to evoke descriptions of the displacement process as well as what the neighborhood was like before urban renewal.

“We felt safe to walk around the neighborhood, we weren’t afraid, and it wasn’t the derelict neighborhood it was portrayed as,” said Frances Torres, a displaced Aurarian and member of the Aurarian Historic Advocacy Council, who was 19 when the Aurarian community was displaced. “I felt privileged to be a part of the Auraria community and liked that I belonged.”

In addition to the creation of "I am Auraria,” History Colorado is supporting two other long-lasting projects: 

The database, which is available online and accessible through an interactive station within "I am Auraria,” not only informs the history of the neighborhood, but can also help students unlock the Displaced Aurarian scholarship. This scholarship provides full tuition for descendants of the old neighborhood – a commitment the institutions of higher education on campus have recently expanded to all descendants of those who were displaced fifty years ago.

History Colorado’s work will support ongoing efforts by each of the campus institutions – including restoration projects on the 9th Street Historic Park and resources for students connected to this history – to achieve a set of community outcomes generated in consultation with the displaced Aurarians.

“In our numerous workshops, meetings, and conversations with community members, there was a clear desire to enhance the visibility of the sacrifices made by the families of Auraria, connect the student body to this history, and provide a lasting memorial to the community that was displaced,” DiPrince said.

Members of the displaced Aurarian community hope these combined efforts will ensure everyone who is eligible for the Displaced Aurarian scholarship can access it and that this history is recognized and acknowledged. 

“We were so closely knit because of our culture and values and while it wasn’t perfect, we knew we had each other to rely upon and knew we could trust the community to come together to support one another,” Torres said.

Community members also hope this project highlights the deep connection they maintain to the old neighborhood and their many triumphs since the displacement.

“Even though I didn’t grow up in Auraria, my family always talked about it,” said Yvette Segura, whose parents grew up in Auraria. “Auraria to me is family and I am hoping that ‘I Am Auraria’ will let others understand the sadness and greatness that came out of the displacement.”

As with all Museum of Memory projects, the oral histories, photographs, documents, and additional artifacts gathered will be included in History Colorado’s permanent collection for future generations.

“Learning directly from the people who experienced this history builds a clearer and more authentic record,” DiPrince said. “These stories are part of our larger Colorado story and must be included in our official historic record.”

"I am Auraria” opens at the Auraria Library on August 23, 2023. History Colorado and the Auraria Library are hosting a free community celebration to commemorate the occasion from 5 – 7 p.m. on August 23. This celebration is free and open to the public but registration is required.

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 which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to 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 10 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. #HistoryColorado