Denver: The Mile-High City has a useful guide to a variety of activities, attractions, and events in the city.
The following attractions may be of particular interest to historians:
The Telecommunications History Group (THG) holds an extensive archive in its Denver headquarters of photographs, telephone directories, and historic documents related to the history of telecommunications, especially in the West. The facility is at 1425 Champa, only a few blocks from the BHC conference hotel, and it will be available on Thursday, 30 March, 1:00-4:00 pm, especially for BHC attendees. If you are interested, you will need an appointment to enter the building. For information and an appointment, contact Jody Georgeson, Archivist, and Lisa Berquist, THG Director, at email@example.com. The THG is a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting a broad humanistic understanding of telecommunications in history.
1929 Bell Palace
Also well worth visiting, and even closer to the conference hotel, stands the 1929 Bell Palace, the last of the grand Bell Palaces, at 931 14th Street. For a virtual tour of this beautiful structure, including some of its remarkable Allen Tupper True Art Deco homages to technological glories, see: http://www.telcomhistory.org/vm/exhibits931.shtml. Access to the building is restricted, but you can enjoy many of True’s murals in the entrance area and the main lobby during business hours.
History Colorado Center
The History Colorado Center features innovative, interactive exhibits in a strikingly beautiful new structure. A short walk from the Embassy Suites, the HCC offers twenty free admission tickets in addition to a $2.00 discount to all other BHC attendees. If you would like one of the free admission tickets, please contact Pam Laird, 303/315-1779, firstname.lastname@example.org. All other BHC attendees who bring their BHC badges to the museum will receive the discount. Current and coming exhibitions include:
- Victorian time machines! http://historycoloradocenter.org/exhibits/time-machine/
- Interactive exhibits for exploring the High Plains town of Keota, including its country store, circa 1920, and a Model T you can (virtually) drive down a rutted road. http://historycoloradocenter.org/exhibits/destination-colorado/
- A New Deal-era diorama of Denver as it was in 1860. http://historycoloradocenter.org/exhibits/denver-diorama/
- The expansive “Living West” exhibition focuses on Colorado’s environmental challenges, especially its limited water resources. Displays on pre-modern Native American life and the perils of modern farming in a semi-arid climate are punctuated by the dramatization of a Dust Bowl disaster that never fails to startle visitors with its intensity. http://historycoloradocenter.org/exhibits/living-west/
- “Backstory: Western American Art in Context” will open just in time for the BHC. http://historycoloradocenter.org/exhibits/backstory-western-american-art-contex/
One of Colorado’s premier tour sites is Historic Denver’s Molly Brown House Museum. It is one of the few sites around the country that focuses on the story of a pioneer woman and her contributions to the growth of a new western urban center. The historic mansion has been lovingly restored, and the mission of the museum is to interpret the dramatic story of Margaret “Molly” Brown’s remarkable life experiences and her leading role in local Denver society and philanthropy in the early 20th century. The fictionalized tale of Molly Brown’s life, including her famous survival experience on the Titanic, was turned into a successful Broadway musical and film.
Located in the historic Lowry neighborhood, this museum and research center is devoted to the history of flight. Exhibits focus on the history, present state, and future prospects of aircraft and spacecraft. Visitors can view numerous original, restored, and model planes and rockets, as well as recreations of missile technology and space stations.
The museum is open daily.
Located in City Park, this museum and research center is devoted to natural history. Regular exhibits cover past and present cultures of the world, the history of the Earth and outer space, wildlife diversity, and the human body. Special exhibitions include “Extreme Mammals” and “Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs.” The museum also houses an IMAX theater and planetarium.
The museum is open daily.
The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center houses the Colorado Supreme Court, its appellate courts, and the history-focused Learning Center. The center was named in honor of Ralph Carr, who served as the 29th Governor of Colorado from 1939 to 1943. Carr was widely famed for being one of the only western politicians to oppose Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. For this reason, the Judicial Center prominently features an educational and interactive Learning Center that showcases the role of the American justice system in the context of Colorado's legal history.
In addition to the Learning Center, the building has many other attractions. Visitors can view the 11 major public art installations, take in oral arguments in the Colorado Supreme Court or Colorado Court of Appeals, visit the library, or just relax with a latte in the Justice Java lounge.
Designed in the early 19th century to be an enduring building, the neoclassical Judicial Center anchors the south side of Denver's Civic Center Park and complements other architecturally prominent civic and cultural structures that occupy the park’s perimeter, including the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver City and County Building, the Denver Art Museum, and the Denver Public Library Central Branch. The glass-domed atrium of the courthouse creates a stunning visual connection to the Colorado State Capitol, linking Colorado’s Judicial, Executive, and Legislative Departments as co-equal branches of government.
The judicial center is located at 2 E. 14th Ave.
This one-of-a-kind museum contains over 600 artifacts relating to the history of transportation, including not just motor vehicles but also buggies, motorcycles, steam locomotives, aircraft, carriages, rail equipment, buses, fire trucks, sleighs, bicycles, toys, vintage apparel, and more. Highlights include Amelia Earhart's 1923 Kissel "Gold Bug," a Union Pacific "Big Boy" steam locomotive, a Denver & Rio Grande dining car, a Stutz fire engine, an 1888 Denver Cable Car, and a 500-piece matchbox collection.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday, 12:00-4:00 p.m.
History Colorado Center offers engaging, thought-provoking, and timely exhibits, many of which are hands-on or high-tech. The center's exhibits explore the state's past over 10,000 years and across its many cultures. For instance, "The Living West" includes nearly 200 Mesa Verde artifacts and a startling dramatization of a 1930s dust bowl storm that runs every 10 minutes. Visitors can also take a virtual ride across the plains in a Model T and maneuver an interactive Victorian-style "time machine" across a centerpiece floor mosaic of Colorado in the grand atrium.
The Denver Firefighters Museum is located in the historic 1909 Station 1. Chronicling the history of everyday heroes, the museum displays artifacts from the earliest days of firefighting and examples of the newest technology. Temporary exhibits change every few months, so you never know what you are going to learn!
The museum is located at 1326 Tremont Pl.
Since 1906, the Denver Mint has been housed in a beautiful Italian Renaissance building. Guided tours last about 45 minutes and almost always show coins being minted. They require reservations, and visitors must be on site 30 minutes before tours begin. For security reasons, there are many restrictions, including prohibitions on purses and backpacks.
The gift shop is easily accessed without all of the security restrictions and contains a mini-museum worth a visit in itself. It is located at 320 West Colfax Ave.
The Denver Money Museum resides in Denver's branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, within easy walking distance of the Convention Center. The exhibits explain how money works and how those processes have changed over the centuries, including the complexities of money in a federal system. They display currency as early as 1775 and include a $100,000 bill. Visitors receive a bag of shredded currency as a souvenir.
Visitors to the museum at 1020 16th St. do not need reservations but are required to present a valid US ID, which includes passports for international travelers. Photographs are possible, with some restrictions.