New State History Museum Goes High-Tech and Hands-On When Doors Open in Denver April 28, 2012
The History Colorado Center aims to usher in a new era for the state’s history museum.
DENVER, Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — History Colorado announced today that Denver’s newest cultural attraction, the History Colorado Center, will open to the public Saturday, April 28, 2012. Designed to ignite imaginations of all ages with stories of Colorado’s past, this new state history museum and civic engagement hub creates a rich experience through exhibits and programs that will blend technology, media, environments and artifacts.
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“The History Colorado Center is more than a new museum–its development served as the impetus to transform the 132-year-old Colorado Historical Society into History Colorado and launch the organization into a new era,” said Ed Nichols, History Colorado President and CEO. A move to an all-new flagship facility was seized as an opportunity to rebrand and develop the History Colorado Center.
“The History Colorado Center will be a place for self-discovery, inspiration, scholarship and fun,” he said. “Our goal is to meet and then exceed the expectations of a savvy, modern museum-going audience with original high-tech and hands-on interactive multimedia along with authentic artifacts and evocative stories of Colorado’s diverse people.”
Exhibits in the nearly 200,000-square-foot, $110.8 million museum are based on broad themes and slated to open in several phases. Inaugural exhibits, which begin installation in January, celebrate the spirit of Colorado’s people over the past 10,000 years and the enduring communities they built.
Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Hill reinforced that the History Colorado Center presented an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a place where the community feels a strong sense of ownership. “We went into this project understanding that history museums all over the country are struggling to find a relevant place in their communities, and that we wanted the History Colorado Center to turn the image many people have of the staid state history museum on its head,” she said.
Museum staff launched a comprehensive audience research program to discover what excites and connects new audiences to Colorado history, and how history museum exhibits and educational programs might engage even those not naturally attracted to history.
Designed to make visitors feel part of Colorado’s stories and adventures, notable highlights include:
- Highly experiential exhibits. Authentic artifacts and high-tech attractions, including an H.G. Wells-inspired “time machine,” a virtual ski jump, games, avatars and more. A 10,000-square-foot gallery will host future traveling exhibitions.
- Community gathering spaces for civic engagement, discussion and celebration. A sky-lit, four-story atrium features a large-format media screen and a 40-by-60-foot terrazzo tile map of Colorado created by nationally known artist Steven Weitzman; spaces for programs, lectures, classes and parties; retail and a restaurant/cafe; and private rentals offering breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.
- Highly efficient, climate-controlled collections storage. The Stephen H. Hart Library offers a public portal into collections.
- Green. Built to U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. Recycled and local materials are incorporated throughout, including beetle-kill pine and Colorado sandstone.
The building was designed, managed and constructed by an all-Colorado team: Tryba Architects, Trammell Crow and Hensel Phelps. Exhibition developer Janet Kamien, whose credits include Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center; internationally known exhibit designers Andrew Merriell & Associates; and Richard Lewis Media Group, whose current work is featured in the National Museum of Natural History, were retained to produce the first phase of exhibitions.
As a new Smithsonian Affiliate, the History Colorado Center is sure to make the “must see” list anyone attracted to the allure that is Colorado.
Visit www.HistoryColorado.org to learn more about the History Colorado Center, the Charter Membership program and opportunities to support the Make History Colorado! campaign.
About History Colorado
Established in 1879, the Colorado Historical Society–now known as History Colorado–preserves Colorado’s rich heritage through the State Historical Fund, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, collections stewardship, statewide museums and special programs for students, educators and visitors of all ages. History Colorado is headquartered in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District. Find us at www.Facebook.com/HistoryColorado and @HistoryColorado on Twitter. Visit www.HistoryColorado.org or call (303) HISTORY.
SOURCE History Colorado