Tour 5: Pleasing Multiple Publics: The History Colorado Center and the Challenges Facing History Museums

Friday, January 6, 2017: 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Room 103 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)

Tour leaders: Patty Limerick, Center of the American West, University of Colorado, and Colorado State Historian; Steve Turner, executive director, History Colorado; History Colorado board member(s); and Sam Smith, University of Colorado at Boulder

Spearheading a new generation of state history museums, the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver opened in 2012 to much excitement. But like history museums everywhere, it has seen heated debate over how it should best serve the interests of its multiple publics. This tour invites historians to explore and discuss the building, exhibits, and institutional transitions of the History Colorado Center with a team of experts: Dr. Patty Limerick, state historian of Colorado, director of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, member of the National Council of the Humanities, and former vice president of the AHA Teaching Division; Steve Turner, executive director of History Colorado and state historic preservation officer; Sam Smith, a geography graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder who has written a thought-provoking and soon-to-be-published commentary on History Colorado; and one or more members of the History Colorado board. The team will guide participants through the exhibits, with particular attention to Colorado Stories and The Living West (the focus of Smith’s research). At the conclusion of the tour, AHA members will sit down with the History Colorado team and the state historian to discuss a range of impressions and convictions on the roles that this and other museums around the country could play as they seek to fulfill multiple roles for the community. Participant impressions, reactions, and recommendations are not only welcome but are the point of the tour. The event thus offers AHA members a unique opportunity to experience a state history museum behind the scenes and contribute to its future through conversation with its receptive and appreciative leadership. The tour will also include snacks and beverages with a local flavor.

Please note: The museum is ADA compliant; participants will walk approximately 20 minutes to and from the museum. Alternate transportation for people with disabilities is available on request.

Limit 30 people. $20 members, $25 nonmembers

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