Moving history forward

Historical Society takes a bold step to tell the city’s whole story

The Boulder History Museum is morphing into the Museum of Boulder, a bigger and broader establishment that will convey many more angles on what makes Boulder Boulder.

“We have always been rooted in history,” explains Nancy Geyer, Boulder History Museum CEO. “But the city of Boulder has a remarkable present and bright future, and we want to record and present those stories as well.”

Development of the new Museum of Boulder is fully underway and began with a bold acquisition: the purchase last year of the Masonic Lodge at the corner of Pine and Broadway in downtown Boulder. At 16,000 square feet, the building is nearly four times the size of Boulder History Museum’s current space, a landmark historic house on University Hill.

The downtown building is much better suited to greater exhibitions, expanded programming and increased community accessibility. Moreover, the purchase represents a visionary cultural investment, with the potential for profound economic and intellectual upside.

On the economic side, a 2012 market analysis by infrastructure consultant AECOM predicted that the Museum of Boulder will attract 55,000 visitors a year from both inside and outside Boulder. The ripple effect of such vibrancy is priceless. (It’s also a great reason to vote yes on 2A, the proposed 0.3 percent sales tax endorsed far and wide, which if passed will contribute to the development of the new museum.)

On the intellectual side, the expanded space will provide an even broader canvas for the museum’s meticulous exhibitions, giving educators and students access to a richer archive of local knowledge.

That archive will certainly include the city’s history. But it will also include aspects of Boulder’s present and future. Think leadership in health and wellness. Innovation in science and technology. Achievement in athletics. And much more.

“In many ways, Boulder is among the most influential communities in the world – rich with innovation and creativity,” explains Ms. Geyer. “A city this vibrant deserves a great museum.”

Creating the Museum of Boulder is not only a bold move, it’s a big move. The Boulder Historical Society maintains more than 45,000 artifacts, 200,000 photographs and 700,000 documents. A full transition will take some time.

For now, it will continue to do business as the Boulder History Museum. Public programs are already being held in the new location at 2205 Broadway in Boulder. All artifact-based exhibitions – like the award-winning Chief Niwot retrospective currently on display – are located in the original location at 1206 Euclid Avenue.

The Boulder History Museum celebrates 70 years of documenting Boulder this month, and shows no signs of slowing down as they transition to becoming The Museum of Boulder. We are delighted to feature the museum in this space throughout October.