As the City’s historian, one of the museum’s most important responsibilities is to preserve and share the story of our community. But, with more than 16,000 objects in its collection and more than 150 years of history to tell, there’s far more content than can ever be displayed in just 5,000 square feet of museum galleries.
In the run up to its 80th anniversary, the museum undertook a master plan to renovate the aging facility, create a comprehensive visitor experience, and make a welcoming space to for visitors to interact with and access the collection. Dubbed Discovery Awaits, the renovation campaign raised $350,000—mostly from private donations—for a complete transformation of the museum’s public spaces.
Visitors to Golden History Museum today will find a cohesive overview of Golden’s formative episodes in Epic Events and biographies of important locals in Legendary People. The multipurpose Salon is an intimate Wild West themed gallery that also serves as a theater for showing the museum’s film collection and is a versatile program space for lectures and classes. History Lab is a new space for viewing, studying, and documenting artifacts. Visitors can peruse new items coming in and interact with staff and volunteers working with objects. A full research library with both new and rare books pertaining to Golden’s history, maps, directories, and files as well as digitized newspapers and photographs are easily accessed.
History is important because it binds together different generations. Golden History Museum has made multiple improvements to engage and entertain families with young children. The new Touch Gallery is a hands-on space to build and play while exploring Golden’s clay-mining heritage. Family activities are found throughout the museum inviting children and adults to create, search, discover, and interact together.
Refreshing the museum experience is just one important part of Golden History Museum & Park’s transformation into a modern 21st century museum. At its core, GHM&P is an essential educational institution and provides numerous services to engage and inspire visitors about Golden’s history. In addition to its outstanding exhibits, GHM&P also offers:
- Award-winning youth programs including Hands-on History Summer Camp that serves more than 400 local youth. Voted best summer camp in Golden in 2018.
- Impactful outreach. Building Colorado, GHM&P’s facilitated, game-based simulation where students learn history and economics by settling towns, weighing risk and opportunity, and responding to historical events. One of the largest history outreach programs in the state. Served more than 9,000 students along the Front Range in 2017-2018 school year.
- Golden City Trading Post, collaborative field trip experience with more than two dozen cultural partners serving 3,000 students, teachers, and parents.
- Robust adult lifelong learning programming from lectures and tours to demonstrations and fun volunteering activities. New partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) to reach more adults.
- Access and preservation through digitization of resources and object conservation.
- Partnerships and collaborative projects with other cultural leaders including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on the “Two Views of Magic Mountain” exhibit and Rocky Mountain PBS on a forthcoming episode of Colorado Experience about Astor House and western boarding houses.
- Enriching volunteer opportunities to work with visitors and students, care for gardens and animals, and care for collections.
There are more reasons than ever to visit Golden History Museum & Park. We look forward to welcoming you soon!
(This article also appeared in the Golden Informer.)