Since 1924, History Colorado has appointed a historian to work with the organization to preserve, interpret, and share Colorado’s past.
Our State Historian’s Council is led by noted historian and author Dr. William Wei, who is joined on the council by respected historians from across the state.
Wei is a professor of history at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is editor-in-chief of the online Colorado Encyclopedia and has held various national and international fellowships. His work focuses primarily on modern China, with research interests in Asian Americans. His latest book, Asians in Colorado: A History of Persecution and Perseverance in the Centennial State, was a finalist for the 2017 Colorado Authors’ League Award for General Nonfiction. He was a lead advisor on the Zoom In exhibit in 2016–2017, and is currently working on a book featuring the 100 objects from Zoom In.
Dr. Nicki Gonzales is an associate professor of history at Regis University. Her research interests include the American Southwest; the Chicano Movement in Colorado; Chicano social, political, legal, and environmental activism; and the history of land grant communities. She has served as an advisor for History Colorado’s exhibits El Movimiento: The Chicano Movement in Colorado and Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects. Dr. Gonzales is History Colorado's appointee to the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board established by Governor Polis in July 2020.
Dr. Thomas J. Noel is a professor of history and the director of Public History, Preservation & Colorado Studies at the University of Colorado Denver. Known as “Dr. Colorado,” Noel has written numerous books and articles about the state and serves as a tour guide for History Colorado. His courses at CU Denver include regional history (Colorado, Denver, and the US West), historic preservation, heritage tourism, and the National Park Service, and classes on Colorado industries like mining and railroads. He is coauthor of Colorado: A History of the Centennial State.
Dr. Jared Orsi is a professor of history at Colorado State University and director of the Public Lands History Center. He specializes in environmental and borderlands history, teaching courses on US and Mexican history. His book Citizen Explorer: The Life of Zebulon Pike was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for history, and he served as an advisor on History Colorado’s Zoom In exhibit.
Dr. Duane Vandenbusche is professor of history at Western Colorado University. He has been teaching in Gunnison since 1962. He teaches on the history of the US West, especially water, public lands, and the environment. His history of Colorado’s Western Slope, A Land Alone, has been the standard text on the region since its publication in 1981.
News & Announcements
NEH Awards $350,000 Grant to Colorado Encyclopedia
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently awarded a $350,000 grant to enhance and expand the Colorado Encyclopedia, an online compendium of information on life in the Centennial State. The grant will support the writing of an additional 300 encyclopedia entries and seventy-five annotated guides for K-12 educators, providing authoritative information on the state’s history and culture. This new content will emphasize the history of political and civic engagement in the state. Dr. William Wei, a member of History Colorado’s State Historian’s Council and professor of history at the University of Colorado Boulder, serves as the Colorado Encyclopedia’s editor-in-chief. He founded the Colorado Encyclopedia to be a reliable, one-stop source of information on the Centennial State. The encyclopedia supports K-12 educators by providing articles, essays, interactive resources, and other curricular materials. Content also features in-depth information for researchers and scholars.
Dr. Duane Vandenbusche received the first Mountaineer for Excellence Award from the Western Colorado University Foundation.
Also, Vandenbusche and Grant Houston have coauthored the book Lake City, now on sale.
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You can also watch Dr. Tom Noel every other Tuesday on the “Dr. Colorado” segment on 9NEWS’s “Colorado & Company.”