WHERE TO START? No need to travel to New York, Chicago, or San Francisco to satisfy your museum cravings, as the Mile High City continues to gain recognition as a formidable cultural hub with scores of world-class museums, galleries and art institutions conveniently located right here in the metro area.
Whether you fancy taking in international masterpieces of art (with traveling exhibitions) at the Denver Art Museum, exploring the awe-inspiring scientific and natural wonders at the Museum of Nature and Science, delving into the exclusive, abstract expressionism at the Clyfford Still Museum, or discovering other museum treasures, such as the Kirkland, Children’s Museum, Contemporary Art, History Colorado, Wings Over the Rockies or Museo de las Américas, Denver’s got your back.
To help you tap into the true pulse of the museum offerings in Denver, we’ve put together some suggestions on where to go and what to see. Please note that the museums are following CDC protocols for safer museum visits. Be sure to check online or call before your visit, as many require reservations at this time.
Clyfford Still Museum
The award-winning Clyfford Still Museum serves as the home to one of the world’s most intact public collections of any major artist. Clyfford Still was among the first generation of abstract expressionist painters.
Over 95 percent of his life’s work is housed within the walls of the museum dedicated solely to this single artist, including over 3,125 paintings, drawings and prints. There is also an impressive collection of his personal archives, including journals, sketchbooks, photographs and letters, which adds up to a total of approximately 2,125 pieces of his work.
There are nine galleries within the museum, as well as peaceful, outdoor terraces, views into storage and conservation spaces, an interactive and creative studio, shopping, customized programs and exclusive events.
It’s conveniently located in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District west of the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building. The 28,500-square-foot, two-story building was designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture and was customized to showcase Clyfford Still’s work.
Still had an artistic vision that didn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with the commercialization or selling component of the industry. Fortunately for us, most of this eclectic collection can now all be viewed in one place.
Clyfford Still, Art, and The Young Mind
This collaborative exhibition is community-centric and focuses on the aesthetic preferences of young children using Still’s artworks as a basis for learning. Runs through August 7, 2022.
The exhibit is installed in five of the Museum’s nine galleries and based on current research and field work. It investigates five powerful themes in the visual development of infants and goes through early childhood: high contrast, pattern, scale, recognizable imagery, and bright, highly-saturated colors.
The curatorial and educational staff worked with young children (6 weeks–8 years old) and teachers from collaborative educational facilities and childcare centers around Denver on each part of the exhibition.
Stories We Tell: The Collection Two Ways
A demonstration of how people understand art and the complex arranging that goes into telling the story created by the artist, this exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to understand the work of one artist from different perspectives. Runs through October 10, 2021.
United States Olympic Paralympic Museum
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum was chosen as the country’s Best New Attraction in 2020 by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards, and for good reason.
The 60,000-square foot museum, located in Colorado Springs, was created to honor some of our country’s greatest athletes and their many stories. The accessible building houses 12 galleries full of impressive artifacts, media, technology and interactive exhibits that demonstrate why these athletes deserve such recognition.
The core values of the Olympic and Paralympic movements are prominently on display throughout the museum: friendship, respect and excellence, determination, equality, inspiration, and courage.
The museum’s vision is to ignite, inspire, and reinforce Olympic and Paralympic hopes and dreams, for now, and in the future. It does so successfully through physical, digital, and virtual experiences that involve, teach, inspire and educate visitors from around the globe.
It’s regarded as one of the most accessible museums in the world, and all visitors of all abilities tour the facility the same way—on a ramped path.
At the end of the day, the museum desires to help everyone fulfill their own Olympic-sized dream to be their best.
Hall of Fame
A Celebration of Olympic and Paralympic Athletes
From figure skaters to sports broadcasters, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trials and triumphs of some of America’s greatest sports heroes in Olympic and Paralympic history.
Museo de las Américas
Immerse yourself in the dynamic and diverse arts and cultures of Latin America at the Museo de las Américas art museum. These award-winning exhibitions have mesmerized visitors for over 30 years, and offer innovative and engaging events, exhibitions, and programs with exhibitions from ancient to contemporary.
Whether your fancy is a Día de los Muertos deep-dive, cultural experience, a provocative and timely current-events exhibition, an educational workshop, a tour or a hand’s-on culture lab, time spent at the Museo will make an indelible impression upon you before you leave.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Immerse yourself in mind-bending science and the jaw-dropping natural history of Colorado, the earth and the universe at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It is recognized as being among the best of the Rocky Mountain region’s resources for informal science education. The exhibits, programs, activities and events are wildly engaging, interactive, educational and fun, designed to cultivate visitors’ passion and curiosity about nature and science.
The museum (a work of more than 100 years in the making) is home to more than one million objects in its collections. In addition to the natural history and anthropological elements, it also includes rich archival and library resources.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science showcases its works through exhibitions, IMAX® films, lectures, classes, and a wide array of programs. The primary core competencies profiled by the museum are anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science, and zoology. Discover the wonders of space, mummies, gems and minerals, North American Indian cultures, wildlife, and the prehistoric lifestyle, all under the same roof.
This is a fascinating, travelling exhibit that addresses many questions we all have about the origins and creation of this marvel. Runs through September 6.
Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze
On this fascinating journey you will discover the magic of numbers and patterns and how they mysteriously manifest themselves in nature. Opens June 4.
North American Indian Cultures
Surround yourself with incredibly diverse Native American groups and marvel at the artistry and craftsmanship of the tools they created for everyday needs. Ongoing.
Space Odyssey, Egyptian Mummies, Discovery Zone, Expedition Health, Gems and Minerals, North American Indian Cultures, Wildlife Halls, Konovalenko: Gem Carvings of Russian Folk Life, and the Prehistoric Exhibition.
Center for Colorado Women’s History
At the Center for Colorado Women’s History, you’ll discover the powerful history and collection of memories dedicated to the pioneering women who made their mark in Colorado. By way of scholarship, research, lectures, tours, and exhibits, their illuminating stories also weave their way into the historical paths created by other women across the globe.
Allow a well-informed docent to guide you through this legendary home of inspirational women. This museum has been a beacon for women since 1883. The museum was restored to the era of 1912-1924 and is appointed with many of its original belongings.
Read more about 17 Colorado museums in our June 2021 magazine issue.