What: Colorado History Museum
Where: 1200 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 303-447-8679
When: Mon. – Sat. 1 am – 5 pm, Sun. noon to 5 pm
Cost: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors (65+) and students (13-22 w/ID), $6 Children (6-12) Under 5 Free
The Colorado History Museum, or as it is official called the History Colorado Center, is the most interactive museum I’ve ever experienced. This place is the definition of bringing history to life. The entire museum is based on stories, and after all, isn’t that what history is, stories. Here are our favorites
Colorado History: Time Machine in Anschutz Hamilton Hall
You enter into a great hall with a map of Colorado on the floor. This is no ordinary map however; roll the ‘time machine’ over certain locations to see video stories from that particular region. The time machines are similar to a kiosk, but they move. They’re heavy, so it takes a group to maneuver, with the idea that guests will interact with each other. This portion was a favorite for my boys and I had pull them away so we’d have time to see other exhibits.
Colorado History: Destination Colorado
My youngest enjoyed driving a Model T and picking up eggs from the chickens. My oldest enjoyed shopping at Montgomery Ward (or as my dad always said Monkey Wards), milked a cow and the middle son laid out a picnic. In-between, we listened to a snake oil salesman. Remember what I said about interactive. This entire exhibit showcases farm life in Colorado through the stories of a now defunct town called Keota. Artifacts from former residents are mixed with interactive exhibits. Even the pie on the stove smells of apples and cinnamon. There are videos with the former residents talking about growing up there and actors that portray residents talking about life on the prairie farm.
Colorado History: Colorado Stories
Everyone liked leaping off the ski-jump, my youngest became an explosives expert in the mines, we traded pelts in a pioneer fort, toured a Japanese interment camp and sat a spell on the front porch while we learned about the African American vacation destination of Lincoln Hills, CO. That was after we learned all the things you can do with a buffalo. The saddest portion of this exhibit is the retelling of the Indian massacre at Sand Creek. It truly is abominable what we did to the American Indians. In addition to all the hands on activities, museum staff are stationed throughout the exhibit with games and more interactive history lessons.
Colorado History: LEGO-rado
LEGO-rado is a temporary exhibit and only at the museum through August 1, 2012. What a shame. The whimsical, tongue in check exhibit showcases Colorado history through a series of LEGO vignettes. The Colorado/Wyoming LEGO users group created the exhibit and it’s obvious they have a sense of humor. Batman surveys the city from the rooftops, storm troopers wait in line for the port-a-pots, dinosaurs perform at the rodeo. In fact, there are three levels of scavenger hunts available for guest to find all the oddities within the exhibit. This is the one place where I’ve been able to see the elusive and shy Colorado Big Horned Sheep.
The History Colorado Center isn’t done yet, additional exhibits are coming soon that promise to be just as interactive as the current museum.