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This Is What Democracy Looks Like // Exhibits

Dazzling treasures, untold stories, and powerful works of art abound throughout the History Colorado Center and within the beautiful confines of the Center for Colorado Women’s History.

From now until election day admission will be free every weekend at the History Colorado Center. Reserve tickets here →

American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith 
Sept 12, 2020 – Jan 3, 2021
History Colorado Center
America’s national treasures come to life in this engaging exhibition from the Smithsonian that asks visitors to consider what it means to have a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith explores the history of citizen participation, debate, and compromise from the nation’s formation to today. Through compelling artifacts and interactive activities, we invite conversation about the nation’s changing political ideals and principles, the definition of citizenship in a pluralistic society, and what participation and engagement looks like in a digital world.

Liberated: America Fights for Democracy in World War II 
Nov 11, 2020 - Feb 2021
History Colorado Center
Rediscover one of America’s most courageous fights for democracy in a powerful exhibit featuring such treasures as Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor Michio Tanawaki’s journal, Helen Rowland Proctor’s toolbox from her time assembling bombers for Boeing, and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s fencing foil, captured by Colorado’s own 10th Mountain Division.

The Civil War Monument "On Guard"
Oct 15, 2020 - Oct, 15 2021
History Colorado Center
This monument stood in front of the State Capitol until it was toppled in June 2020 during protests for Black lives. Installed in 1909 to memorialize Colorado’s role in the Civil War, the monument holds multiple meanings for viewers today: a tribute to those who’ve served and sacrificed in the nation’s armed forces, a reminder of atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples, a symbol of white supremacy and injustice, a casualty of destructive lawlessness, and more. After the statue fell, when some people said “monuments like these belong in a museum,” we decided to take them up on the suggestion and give everyone an opportunity to discuss what the monument means to them. These are just a few of the viewpoints shared with us. We invite you to join others in this space for conversation about what the monument represents.

Bold Women. Change History. The Exhibition
Mar 7, 2020 – Feb 28, 2021
Center for Colorado Women’s History
A memorable and telling story of how Colorado’s voters became America’s first to extend voting rights beyond men on November 7, 1893. The exhibit highlights topics that are especially resonant during this presidential election year, like grassroots organizing, the influence of news outlets, and racism in political advocacy. Visitors to this intimate display will gain a newly informed perspective on the significance and power of the right to vote.


The Art of Democracy

Discover The Art of Democracy, our platform for visual art during this pivotal election year. Your participation in our initiative completes the powerful work achieved by our featured artists.

Women Behaving Badly
July 23, 2020 - Feb 28, 2021
History Colorado Center

In works combining watercolor with historical photography, news clippings, and text, Denver-based artist Adri Norris highlights women who’ve made history. She seeks to answer three questions about each woman she depicts: Who is she? What did she do? Why does she matter? “I started to tell the stories of women from all races, nationalities and walks of life," Norris says. “I want people to see themselves in those stories, to consider how they may be like those women and think differently about women in general.

The New Four Freedoms
Aug 7, 2020 - Jan 3, 2021
History Colorado Center
On the brink of war against tyranny, FDR issued his famous proclamation that all Americans had the right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Almost eighty years later, History Colorado is asking four up-and-coming Denver artists to illustrate the condition of those freedoms in our modern moment.  

Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute): "Merciless Indian Savages" 
Aug 14 2020 - Jul 2021
History Colorado Center
Curated by indigenous artist Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute), Merciless Indian Savages will provide an artistic interpretation of the meaning of democracy from a Native perspective.
Don't miss the opportunity to join artist Gregg Deal on May 12 as he talks about the ways art and democracy does (and does not) fit together. 

Hecho en Colorado
Jul 6, 2020 - Jan 10, 2021
History Colorado Center

See historically significant paintings, sculptures, textiles, and writings from Colorado’s Chicano/Mexican American community, including selections from up-and-coming artists as well as such prominent figures as Carlota EspinoZa, Carlos Fresquez, and David Ocelotl García. Presented in collaboration with the Denver Latino Cultural Arts Center, Hecho en Colorado (Made in Colorado) honors the artistic achievements of a community whose impact continues to shape Colorado culture.

The Community Mural Project
September 12, 2020 – January 3, 2021
History Colorado Center

At a time of civil unrest and uprising, the Community Mural Project honors the Chicano/a mural tradition that developed 50 years ago in Colorado to utilize public art in service to historically dehumanized and oppressed people and communities. K’ierre Dawkins, Aisha Renee, and Leticia Tanguma have embraced an artistic legacy that proudly creates a new sense of place, in an effort to make space for new paths forward. Artist statements can be found here.

All the Way to Freedom by Gina Klawitter
September 12, 2020 – January 3, 2021
History Colorado Center

Advocacy by and for disabled Americans is an aspect of civil-rights work that is both crucial and often overlooked in U.S. history. To help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Denver artist Gina Klawitter created a painted sculpture formed from Jennifer Keelan Chaffins, a local disabilities activist who drew worldwide attention to pass the ADA by participating in the Capitol Crawl protest as a child in 1990. The Crawl and the disabilities civil rights movement started in Denver. Read about Jennifer Chaffins and this artwork here

We The People by Rian Kerrane
September 12, 2020 – January 3, 2021
History Colorado Center

We The People is a community-driven work of art led by artist Rian Kerrane. It draws inspiration from the principle of American democracy, e pluribus unum—”out of many, one”. The installation consists of individually casted hands added over time to a larger sculpture. They increasingly unite to form a simple, powerful statement. 


Our Sponsors

The Denver presentation of American Democracy is sponsored by Peter and Rhondda Grant, the Abarca Family Foundation, Richard and Mary Lyn Ballantine, and George and Mary Sissel

The Women's Vote Centennial // Colorado 2020 is sponsored by Cathey McClain Finlon & Richard Finlon, Former Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne, and The Honorable Wilma J. Webb & The Honorable Wellington Webb

History Colorado Democracy Lecture series is sponsored by the Walter S. Rosenberry III Charitable Trust

This is what Democracy looks like is sponsored by donors to the Executive Director’s Innovation Fund