Art Museums & History Museums in Boulder County, Colorado and Surrounding Area
See also Boulder Art Fairs and Arts & Events: Galleries
Berthoud Historical Society
The Berthoud Historical Society maintains two historic museums—the Little Thompson Valley Pioneer Museum at 228 Mountain Ave. (open Wednesday-Sunday, 1-5pm) and the McCarty-Fickel Home at 645 Seventh St. (open Wednesday 10am-4pm and weekends 1-4pm). www.berthoudhistoricalsociety.org.
Black American West Museum
- Jan. 12: New Year’s High Tea at McCarty-Fickel Home, 1pm
- February: Spring Antique Appraisal Day, TBA
- Feb. 22-24: McCarty-Fickel Home Special Open Tour Days
- March 30: Children’s Easter Egg Hunt, 9am
3091 California St., Denver, 720-242-7428; www.blackamericanwestmuseum.com.
This museum was founded in 1971 to collect, preserve and disseminate the contributions of black people in the Old West. Besides the exhibits, there is also a bookstore and frequent children’s programs.Boulder County Parks & Open Space Museums
Boulder History Museum
- Agricultural Heritage Center: Farming at the turn of the 20th century. 8348 Ute Highway 66, west of Longmont, open Friday-Sunday beginning April 1. 303-776-8848
- James F. Bailey Assay Office Museum: Where miners took ore samples to see if they had struck it rich. 6352 Fourmile Canyon Drive, west of Boulder, open third Saturdays 10am-2pm beginning mid-April. 303-776-8848
Harbeck-Bergheim House, 1206 Euclid Ave., 303-449-3464; www.boulderhistorymusum.org
. “Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary” runs through Dec. 31; “Chief Niwot: Legend & Legacy” runs through Jan. 4. Two special series, Boulder Pre-History Forums and Boulder Conversations with Extraordinary People, are held at Chautauqua, 900 Baseline Road; see detailed listings under Forums, Lectures & Workshops in Local Events. Boulder’s Leanin’ Tree Museum & Sculpture Garden of Western Art
6055 Longbow Drive, near Diagonal Highway and Jay Road, 303-729-3440; www.leanintreemuseum.com
. Leanin’ Tree is a free museum with 250 paintings and 150 bronze sculptures by 100 artists, specializing in American Western and wildlife art of the post-1950 era. Stroll through the sculpture garden to view 25 life-size and monumental bronzes. Open 8am-5pm weekdays; 10am-5pm weekends.Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
1750 13th St. (next to Dushanbe Teahouse), 303-443-2122; www.bmoca.org.
Check the website for updates on upcoming exhibits and other museum events like lectures, demonstrations and classes.
Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum
- Through Jan. 27: Daniel Pitín, Cover Story; Marius Lehene, Random Walk with Drift
- Feb. 14-May 26: Museum of Broken Relationships
710 10th St., Golden, 303-996-2755; www.mountaineeringmuseum.org.
Located in downtown Golden, this one-of-a-kind museum introduces visitors to the world of mountain and rock climbing. Through September, the museum exhibits five large-scale pastel mountaintop paintings by Wyoming artist Joe Arnold. Broomfield Depot Museum
2201 W. 10th Ave., Broomfield, 303-460-6824; www.broomfield.org/museum.
Displays comprehensive information about the history of Broomfield and the surrounding area. Open Saturdays, noon-3pm.Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum
12 Garden Center, Broomfield, 303-460-6801; www.broomfield.org/museum.
Nine exhibit rooms showcase permanent and temporary exhibits that honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Hear veterans share their stories at “Coffee and Conversation,” the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Open Saturdays 11am-4pm and by appointment.Carnegie Branch Library for Local History
1125 Pine St., 303-441-3110; www.boulder.lib.co.us
. Boulder’s original library building houses historic Boulder County photographs and manuscripts.Children’s Museum of Denver
2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver, 303-433-7444; www.mychildsmuseum.org. Offers interactive playscapes, daily programming, storytimes and special events for children up to age 8. On the first Tuesday of every month, admission is free from 4-8pm. Clyfford Still Museum
On Bannock Street between 12th and 13th avenues, Denver, 720-354-4880; www.clyffordstillmuseum.org.
This new museum, which opened last year, is a two-story, 28,500-square-foot structure dedicated solely to exhibiting the works of Clyfford Still. “Vincent/Clyfford” is on display through Jan. 20; it explores the connections between the two artists and runs in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum’s exhibit “Becoming Van Gogh.” Colorado Railroad Museum
17155 W. 44th Ave., Golden, 303-279-4591; www.coloradorailroadmuseum.org.
CRM’s sprawling, 15-acre grounds offer railroad cars and equipment; a main building in the style of a 1880s depot; a reference library; general store; and picnic area. “Life on Colorado Railroads” is a new featured exhibit.
CU Art Museum & Visual Arts Complex
1085 18th St., 303-492-8003; http://cuartmuseum.colorado.edu.
The CU Art Museum’s five, brand-new, state-of-the-art galleries host exhibits, tours and lectures all year long.
CU Heritage Center
- Through Dec. 22: Liminality, Luminosity, and the Everyday
- Through June: Primal Seen (long-running exhibit)
Third floor of Old Main, CU campus, 303-492-6329; www.cuheritage.org.
Located in the University of Colorado’s original building, the Heritage Center preserves CU history in nine themed rooms, including the Architecture Gallery and the Distinguished Alumni Gallery. A museum collections workroom is open to the public for viewing and research. “Building the University: The First 30 Years” showcases the photographs of Professor J. Raymond Brackett. Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock, Denver, 720-865-5000; www.denverartmuseum.org
. DAM makes its fabulous array of art and artists available to everyone with First Free Saturdays, offering free general admission to Colorado residents on the first Saturday of the month. Join the “Untitled” party on the last Friday of the month and enjoy art, music, performances and refreshments from 6-10pm. Call or check online for information on lectures, tours, family activities, films and more.
Denver Firefighters Museum
- Through Jan. 20: Becoming Van Gogh (advance online purchase recommended)
- Through March 24: Laura Letinsky, still-life photographs
1326 Tremont Place, Denver, 303-892-1436; denverfirefightersmuseum.org. A collection of firefighting equipment and memorabilia, plus hand-on exhibits, children’s activities, and fire safety displays.Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys
1880 Gaylord St., Denver (just west of City Park), 303-322-1053; www.dmmdt.org.
The museum’s extensive collection includes permanent exhibits like miniature houses, trains and planes, and antique dolls. Open Wednesday-Sunday. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, 303-370-6000; www.dmns.org.
DMNS features outstanding permanent exhibits, popular touring exhibits, an IMAX theater and the Gates Planetarium. “A Day in Pompeii” runs through Jan. 13; it features hundreds of artifacts that offer a glimpse into the daily life—and tragic end—of the ancient Roman city that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
Estes Park Museum
- Opens Feb. 15: Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age
200 Fourth St., Estes Park, 970-586-6256; www.estesnet.com/museum.
Founded by volunteers in 1962, the Estes Park Museum collects, interprets and preserves local history and presents four temporary exhibits each year, in addition to its permanent collections.Forney Museum of Transportation
4303 Brighton Blvd., Denver, 303-297-1113; www.forneymuseum.org.
More than 500 unique exhibits relate to historical transportation like trolleys, railcars, carriages and steam tractors. Also see “Big Boy,” the world’s largest steam locomotive. Through Jan. 31, see “Pontiac Muscle: The GTO.”Fort Collins Museum of Art
201 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, 970-482-2787; www.ftcma.org
. FCMOA, housed in a historic building in Old Town, displays one exhibit at a time in its airy gallery.
Fort Vasquez Museum
- Dec. 13-Feb. 7: Tools in Motion
- Feb. 20-March 15: Art 342
- April 5-May 3: Masks
- Opens May 16: Syd Mead: Progressions
13412 U.S. Highway 85, Platteville, 970-785-2832; www.historycolorado.org.
Fort Vasquez, located just 15 minutes east of Longmont, is the site of a 1835 fur-trading fort, with a museum, educational programs, tours and special events.Golden History Museums
923 10th St., Golden, 303-278-7151; www.goldenhistorymuseums.org.
GHM operates three historic sites in Golden: the Astor House Museum, Clear Creek History Park and the Golden History Center. Check online for details about each site and special events. History Colorado Center
1200 Broadway, Denver, 303-866-3682; www.historycoloradocenter.org.
The brand-new, 2,000-square-foot History Colorado Center opened less than a year ago, with hands-on, high-tech exhibits, like a 40-by-60-foot tile map of Colorado and a “time machine” visitors can push across the map to hit hot spots that reveal video stories. Check online for special events at the center, plus links to other historic sites operated by the Colorado Historical Society.Lafayette Miners’ Museum
108 E. Simpson St., Lafayette, 303-665-7030; www.cityoflafayette.com.
Refurbished 1890s coal miner’s home with displays of mining equipment and period household items. Open Thursdays and Saturdays 2-4pm, or by appointment.Longmont Museum & Cultural Center
400 Quail Road, Longmont, 303-651-8374; www.ci.longmont.co.us/museum.
An outdoor courtyard and four exhibit spaces encourage visitors to explore Longmont’s history and culture. A permanent history exhibit spans 14,000 years of Longmont and Front Range history.
Louisville Historical Museum
- Through Feb. 17: AMP’D: Powering Longmont 1912-2012, celebrating 100 years of Longmont Power & Communications
1001 Main St., Louisville, 303-665-9048; www.louisvilleco.gov.
Owned and operated by the city of Louisville, this museum features three historic buildings with an extensive collection of coal-mining artifacts and old photographs. The smallest building re-creates a miner’s home. Pick up a map of the Louisville Downtown Historical Walking Tour. Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10am-3pm.Loveland Museum & Gallery
500 N. Lincoln Ave., Loveland, 970-962-2410; www.cityofloveland.org
(click on Arts & Leisure). The 28,000-square-foot museum hosts comprehensive exhibits on the history of Loveland and the surrounding area, including a re-creation of an old-time general store and a huge topographical relief map of the Big Thompson River system. The 4,000-square-foot gallery features regional, national and international exhibitions.
Lyons Redstone Museum
- Through Feb. 17: Dave Yust, 40+ Years of Printmaking: A Retrospective
- Dec. 8-Feb. 3: The Mural Project: A Portrait of Loveland Through Young Eyes, with a student panel discussion Jan. 11, 6-7pm
338 High St., Lyons, 303-823-5271; www.lyonsredstonemuseum.com.
Gift shop and regional genealogy displays, housed in a 1881 redstone schoolhouse. Open daily beginning June 2; also by appointment.Molly Brown House
1340 Pennsylvania St., Denver, 303-832-4092; www.mollybrown.org.
The historic home of “the unsinkable Molly Brown” offers 45-minute guided tours, plus special events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking.The Money Museum
At the Denver branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 1020 16th St., Denver; www.kansascityfed.org/moneymuseum/denver.
Free museum offers “a billion-dollar experience” as it showcases all things money through displays of historical currency and interactive exhibits like “Design Your Own Money.” Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm except, of course, bank holidays.Nederland Museums
At the traffic circle in Nederland (Highways 119 and 72), 303-258-0567; www.nederlandmuseums.org.
The Mining Museum is located in the historic County Stone Garage and contains artifacts and equipment used by area miners. The historic Gillaspie House, built in 1907, displays clothing, accessories and furnishings found in typical early Nederland homes. Open weekends May through September. Niwot Old Firehouse Museum
Second and Franklin avenues, Niwot. Original 1910 fire shed where the chemical firecart (now on display out front) was once stored. Open only during community events, or on walking tours given by the Niwot Historical Society. Call Anne at 303-665-6932 for information.Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
1213 Washington Ave., Golden, 303-277-0377; www.rmqm.org.
A museum dedicated to the art of quiltmaking and quilt preservation, RMQM continues to expand its permanent collection of quilts. The museum presents 10 exhibits a year, highlighting different styles, histories or themes.
Through Jan. 19: Crazy Quilts: Victorian Fancies and Beyond; Crazy Quilts in Everyday Life: Photographs from the Janet Finley Collection Sandstone Ranch Visitor Center
3001 E. Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-4692; www.ci.longmont.co.us.
Historic homestead property includes hands-on displays inside the circa-1880 house plus educational exhibits in the ice house, tool shed and barn. There’s also a nature trail with a scenic overlook. Open second and fourth Saturdays, 10am-2pm.Shelby American Collection
5020 Chaparral Court, Gunbarrel, 303-516-9565; www.shelbyamericancollection.org.
Features 40 prized sports cars, plus a reconstructed shop. Open Saturdays 10am-4pm.Spirit of Flight Center & Museum
At the Erie Municipal Airport, 2650 S. Main St., Erie, 303-460-1156; www.spiritofflight.com
. Nonprofit center displays hundreds of aviation items and artifacts that represent the past, present and future of flight. Open weekdays 10am-2pm, and weekends and evenings by appointment.University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
Henderson Building, Broadway at 15th Street, 303-492-6892; http://cumuseum.colorado.edu.
Permanent, temporary and traveling exhibits include Southwestern pottery, textiles, fossils, rare plants and beetles. The museum hosts regular programming, workshops and other events. Don’t miss the second-largest bird collection in the Rocky Mountains or the impressive triceratops display. Open seven days a week, and admission is free.
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
- Saturdays: Family Day, with hands-on art and science projects for all ages
- Monthly: Archaeology Institute of America, Boulder Chapter lecture series (see details under Forums, Lectures and Workshops in Local Events)
- Opens Feb. 21: Ancient Southwest: Peoples, Pottery and Place
7711 E. Academy Blvd., Denver, 303-360-5360; www.wingsmuseum.org.
Housed in a historic 1930s-era Air Force hangar, the collection includes a newly restored MK36 thermonuclear bomb, a space station module, a diorama of a moon base, a collection of model airplanes, and memorabilia from Lowry Air Force base. Wise Homestead Museum
11611 Jasper Road, Erie, 303-828-4568; www.eriehistoricalsociety.org.
Artifacts, equipment, photographs and displays related to the history of the Erie area, plus a restored farmhouse dating back to the mid-1870s. Open Saturdays beginning in May, 10am-2pm, and by appointment.WOW! (World of Wonder) Museum
110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette, 303-604-2424; www.wowmuseum.com.
Nonprofit children’s museum offers interactive science and art exhibits, classes, performances and workshops for children aged 1-11 and their families.