History Colorado Center

Denver, Colorado

Completion

2012

Client

State of Colorado, Colorado Historical Society

Size

189,000 SF

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Scope of Work

Architect of Record, Interior Design, Master Planning, Entitlements

The History Colorado Center replaces and expands the 1977 museum, housing a new museum, educational and public programs, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, State Historical Fund, Stephen H. Hart Research Library, and all functions of the Colorado Historical Society. A beacon for a new southern gateway to the historic Civic Center District, the Center engages the public, visitors and employees in the active life of Denver’s cultural district and the exploration of 15-million historic artifacts.

The main entrance sets back from the sidewalk atop broad stone stairs, framed by a board-formed concrete lintel and weathered steel portal, conveying a ceremonial entrance. The program is wrapped around a vast 4-story atrium, the Great Hall, which opens to the south, allowing sunlight to fill the space. An expansive fourth-story balcony offers views of Colorado’s Front Range and Denver’s distinguished cultural buildings. Natural light and interior materials connect Colorado’s geology to its history.

A hub for civic engagement

100 OBJECTS

Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects occupies a newly renovated gallery on the third floor of the History Colorado Center. The new gallery space is located within a four-story vertical stack of collections storage/registration and offices known as the ‘collections core’ of the museum. The exhibit invites visitors to encounter the collections in a new way. 

The exhibit features objects from the History Colorado collection. Dramatic, focused exhibit lighting, paired with individual exhibit cases results in a ‘Jewel Box’ effect, with the objects as the clear point of focus for visitors. The design is driven by a commitment to present the objects, and the stories they represent, to the visitor in a clear and arresting way. The exhibit balances the individuality of each object with sub-groupings and themes that connect groupings of objects through time. 

Localized interpretation at each object provides an introduction to visitors about the rich stories each object represents. Three immersive projections provide a visual interpretive framework for the exhibit: Objects, Land and People. 

 

Explore Colorado's rich Western History