Boulder County and the Front Range offer a wealth of cultural attractions
The Boulder History Museum is celebrating its 66th summer this year, and there’s no shortage of events and activities. The summer-long exhibit Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Americans and their Musical Instruments 1860-1915, opens on May 28 and will feature a large collection of photographs of musicians from the 19th century. The exhibit gives a visual history of music, instruments and musicians from the eastern and western United States.
“The reason we chose this exhibit is because of how much music there is in Boulder,” says Susan Linde, marketing director for the museum. “During the summer months, there’s the Colorado Music Festival, the RockyGrass Festival out in Lyons. There’s such a wealth of music based in Boulder.”
The photographs are owned and collected by Mark Gardener, a musician and historian who resides in Colorado Springs. Always a history buff, Gardener started collecting the old photographs 25 years ago hoping to find out the type of instruments people used to play in the 19th century, as well as the type of lifestyles present in musical communities.
“I was always interested in the music of that era, especially of the American,” Gardener says. “As part of my research in the music, I became very interested in the photographs of the musicians because often, for instance, a banjo in a photograph can give you clues to its date, who made it, and I wanted to learn everything I could about early music, and that included the photographs of the musicians themselves.”
He acquired the photographs from a variety of sources that included hunting in antique shops across the nation and participating in different auctions before and after eBay. And on Sunday, June 27, Gardener will be at the Boulder Museum for a presentation on his exhibit and a music demonstration with instruments from that era.
“I acquired a tintype a couple of years ago, and it’s of two cowboys,” Gardener says. “And one of the instruments this cowboy is holding is very unusual, and there are very few made. It’s called a mandolinguitar, and what it is, is a small guitar-shaped ukulele body, but it has eight strings. It’s strong and tuned like a mandolin. And once I acquired the photograph, I wanted one of them. I wanted to hear what it sounded like. So on eBay, a mandolin-guitar came up.”
Gardener bought the guitar for a mere $120, had it refurbished and now plays it as part of his exhibit presentation. It looks exactly like the instrument in his tintype photograph.
Gardener’s exhibit and presentation isn’t the only thing happening this summer at the Boulder Museum. The museum will also host a Preschool Discovery Hour on the first Wednesday of each month for 3- to 5-year-olds, where kids play games, do activities and dress up for different themes of the day.
On Saturday, June 12, the Museum will also host its annual Celebrate Boulder! Summerfest. The event will feature music performances, instrument-making, crafts and free entry into the museum.
“We’re going to have a lot of musicians from the Parlando School of Music, a men’s choir, and it’s a totally free day,” Linde says. “The whole day will tie into the Power of Music exhibit and a lot of entertainment with local musicians.”
Check out www.bouldermuseum.com.
Boulder Museum Of Contemporary Art (BMoCA)
1750 13th St. (next to Dushanbe Teahouse) Boulder 303-443-2122 www.bmoca.org
See website for museum events like lectures, demonstrations and classes.
Boulder History Museum
1206 Euclid Ave. Boulder 303-449-3464 www.boulderhistorymuseum.org
Founded in 1944, this private, nonprofit museum brings the history of Boulder alive with its collection of more than 35,000 objects donated by Boulder families and a variety of programs and community events.
Carnegie Branch Library For Local History
1125 Pine St. Boulder 303-441-3110
A great place to study and research local history, Boulder’s first library building holds historic Boulder County photographs and manuscripts for community use.
Children’s Museum of Denver
2121 Children’s Museum Dr. Denver 303-433-7444
The popular Children’s Museum in Denver offers interactive playscapes, daily programming, story times and special events for children up to age 8.
CU Art Museum
Formerly Sibell Wolle Fine Arts Building, 303-492-8003
The newly opened Visual Arts Complex hosts the expanded CU Art Museum and the Department of Art and Art History. Call for information on daily hours.
Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Ave. Denver www.denverartmuseum.org
A piece of architectural art all by itself, the Denver Art Museum offers a host of activities, including lectures, classes and all-day camps for kids, as well as its enormous collection of permanent and temporary displays for visitors to enjoy at their own pace.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
2001 Colorado Blvd. Denver 303-322-7009 www.dmns.org
With an IMAX theater and hundreds of exhibits, programs, lectures and activities, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the place for people of all ages to learn about the past, present and future of the world around them. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of only 750 of the nation’s 16,000 museums to be officially accredited by the American Association of Museums. And check out the T-Rex!
2300 Steele St. Denver 303-376-4800 www.denverzoo.org
As fun for adults as it is for the little ones, Denver Zoo is home to nearly 4,000 animals representing 700 species from around the world. Visitors may plan events, such as birthday parties at the zoo, or merely partake in a tour or one of many activities.
Lafayette Miners’ Museum
108 E. Simpson St. Lafayette 303-665-7030
The museum is housed in a refurbished 1890s coal miner’s home with exhibits of mining equipment and household items from the mining era. Open Thursdays and Saturdays 2-4 p.m., or by appointment.
Leanin’ Tree Museum Of Western Art
6055 Longbow Dr. (near Diagonal Highway and Jay Road), 303-530-1442, ext. 4299
This museum holds more than 250 paintings and 150 bronze sculptures, making it one of the world’s largest private collections of contemporary Western American art. The museum is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. weekends.
Little Thompson Valley Pioneer Museum
228 Mountain Ave. Berthoud 970-532-2147 If you’ve ever wondered how the pioneers got to little ol’ Berthoud, the Little Thompson Valley Pioneer Museum looks at the town’s past with exhibits, lectures and historic house tours. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1-5 p.m., or by appointment.
The Longmont Museum & Cultural Center
400 Quail Rd., Longmont, 303-651-8374
The Longmont Museum & Cultural Center features a close look at the town’s history, along with recognition of Vance Brand, an Apollo astronaut and Longmont native. There’s also a new history exhibit that looks at 14,000 years of Longmont and Front Range history.
Louisville Historical Museum
1001 Main St. Louisville 303-665-9048
Spread out across three buildings, the Louisville Historical Museum is home to a plethora of coalmining relics, photographs and a recreation of a coal miner’s home.
Lyons Redstone Museum
338 High St., Lyons 303-823-5271
Learn about the town of Lyons. The museum is open daily June through September.
Nederland Mining Museum
At the traffic circle in Nederland (Highways 119 and 72) 303-258-0567
If you were ever interested in hard rock mining, the tungsten boom, the mining lifestyle in the early 1900s or today’s conservation methods, you can find it here. It’s only open during the weekends, May thru September.
Niwot Old Fire House Museum
Second and Franklin avenues in Niwot. 303-665-6932
This is the original 1910 fire shed where the town kept its chemical firecart. For more information on hours, call Anne at 303-665-6932.
University of Colorado Natural History Museum
University of Colorado Boulder 303-492-6892
The University of Colorado Natural History Museum offers a wide range of special events, including guided tours, educational programs and family days, and its exhibition galleries are open to the public seven days a week, free of charge.
University of Colorado Heritage Center
1600 Pleasant St. Boulder www.cualum.org/heritage/index.html
Located on the third floor of the University of Colorado’s Old Main, the CU Heritage Center features exhibits exploring the history of the university. Attractions include the President’s Room, Distinguished Alumni Gallery and the Athletics Room, which showcases trophies from CU’s many victories.
Located off of Flagstaff Rd. about 7.5 miles west of Boulder, Walker Ranch offers visitors a plethora of outdoor opportunities, including fishing, hiking and horseback riding. Purchased by James and Phoebe Walker in 1882, Walker Ranch is home to the restored homestead of the Walker family. While the homestead is closed to the public most of the year, visitors can tour the site during special events and watch costumed volunteers demonstrate the daily life of a pioneer ranch. For information, contact Boulder County Parks and Open Space.
Wow! (World Of Wonder) Museum
110 N. Harrison Ave. Lafayette 303-604-2424 This nonprofit children’s museum features interactive science and art exhibits, classes, performances and workshops for children 12 and under.