Ten shows the History Colorado Center should have opened with

History Colorado Center
Part of the History Colorado's opening exhibits.
The brand new History Colorado Center opens on Saturday. Last week, in my column about the wonderfully-designed museum, I pointed out how poor the two debut shows, Colorado Stories and Destination Colorado, are. Rather than trying to elevate the discussion, the museum and History Colorado chief operating officer Kathryn Hill, have dumbed it down, relying on surveys, charts, graphs and focus groups in order to arrive at the lowest common denominator for exhibits. It was a missed opportunity.

In my column, I made two suggestions for the kinds of shows that the museum could -- and should -- have opened with. Here they are, along with eight others.

Christo and Jeanne Claude, Over the River, Life-Sized Test, 1999.
The Rockies: Bierstadt to Christo

Our celebrity scenery has attracted artists since the Hudson River painters found the Rockies in the late 19th century. This show would explore that appeal through the decades and lead right up to contemporary artists and, of course, Christo, whose "Over the River" installation on the Arkansas River is scheduled to go up in 2015.

Rocky Flats: Or How I Learned to Hate the Bomb

Duck and cover while taking in this glimpse of atomic war mania in the 1950s and '60s. A selection of period items once in bomb factories and bomb shelters are showcased in the context of the superpower politics of the time. The environmental issues related to nuclear waste will be dealt with. There would also be a film festival with the likes of Dr. Strangelove, Fail Safe, Hiroshima Mon Amour, among other bomb-themed films being screened.

The First Coloradans: the Ancients of Mesa Verde

History Colorado has the largest collection in the world of Mesa Verde artifacts, photos and other materials, including many pieces from Richard Wetherill who first came upon the main ruins after hearing about them from the Ute Indians who regarded them as sacred. History Colorado also owns the archives of famed photographer William Henry Jackson, who took the first photos of a stone dwelling in Mesa Verde in 1874.

Colorado, a Pioneer for Women's Suffrage

Though the Wyoming territory was admitted to the union in 1890 with voting rights for women already in place, Colorado became the first state to enfranchise women voters in 1893, 27 years before women had the vote nationally. The men and women who pushed Colorado ahead of the pack, and who are forgotten today, will all be brought back to life.

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