History Colorado Exhibit - Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects


A hundred objects. A hundred portals to the past.


History Colorado’s newest exhibition, Zoom In has 100 stories to tell. Zoom in on 100 powerful artifacts to see how Colorado became Colorado. Culled from the vast collections of History Colorado, every object on view had a role in shaping our state—from the age of the Paleoindians to Jack Swigert’s Apollo 13 flight suit and beyond.


You could never distill Colorado’s rich history into only 100 objects. But the ones we’ve selected, both ordinary and extraordinary, combine into a telling mosaic of the past—and, just maybe, a glimpse into our future.


John Denver’s Special Edition Yamaha Guitar


John Denver sang a song of Colorado to the world, and the world liked what they heard. His folk-inspired guitar and sunshine-infused lyrics were hymns to the natural wonderscape and good life he found in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Others felt the pull of this “sweet Rocky Mountain paradise,” and as “Rocky Mountain High” topped the charts in 1972 and ‘73, Colorado saw the largest spike in population growth since the decades of gold and silver rushes.

Fireman Hat

Denver Volunteer Hook and Ladder Company No.1 Fireman's Helmet


After much of Denver burned in 1863, residents responded by passing an ordinance requiring most buildings in the downtown district (today’s Lower Downtown) to be constructed of brick and by organizing the territory’s first fire company in 1866. This helmet was worn by those first fire fighters.

A brand-new space, the Tim Schultz Gallery presented by the Boettcher Foundation, has been created on the museum’s third floor to house the innovative 3,700-square-foot experience. The addition of Zoom In provides another core exhibit for museum visitors to explore. The exhibition joins core exhibits such as Living West, Destination Colorado, and Colorado Stories, giving museum goers a full dose of historically themed exhibits about the state’s past.


Zoom In explores the ways objects define who we are as Coloradans. And, it acknowledges the diverse people who’ve called this rectangular patch of plains, mountains, and mesas home for 13,000 years or more. These carefully selected objects illuminate the stories of iconic individuals from our past, such as Margaret “Molly” Brown, as well as those of relatively unknown Coloradans.


“The objects act as portals that open the doors to the stories of our past. We hope this overview sparks curiosity about our history and a desire to learn more.” – Steve Turner, Executive Director, History Colorado.


Preserving our past is a future-oriented endeavor. These objects reflect the ideas, achievements, and challenges that define us as Coloradans today and help us determine who we want to become tomorrow.


Learn more at HistoryColorado.org




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19 Feb 2018

By James Jackman