When it comes to the list of things to do in Denver, visiting its incredible museums is a must. Denver is home to numerous museums that offer something for everyone, from art and history to science and nature. These museums provide entertainment and education and offer a glimpse into the culture and history of the Mile High City.
In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the must-visit museums in Denver that are perfect for locals and tourists. You’ll learn about the history and background of each museum and why it’s worth a visit. Whether you’re interested in exploring fascinating artwork or want to learn more about Denver’s history, these museums offer an unforgettable experience you can’t miss.
Best Museums in Denver to Explore
Denver is a city full of cultural treasures, and its museums are among the best. Here are the museums in Denver that deserve a spot on your itinerary:
1. Denver Art Museum
Open from 10 am to 9 pm on Tuesdays and 10 am to 5 pm on all other days.
The Denver Art Museum is a cultural gem in the heart of Denver. This remarkable museum, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is home to one of the largest art collections in the American West. Visitors can examine over 70,000 works of art from around the world, including contemporary, indigenous, and Western American art.
The museum’s permanent collection spans various periods and artistic styles. It includes ancient art from around the world, modern and contemporary art, and American Indian art. Besides its permanent collection, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, covering many themes and art forms.
2. Children’s Museum of Denver
Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.
The Children’s Museum of Denver is an interactive museum for children aged 0 to 8. Its mission is to create extraordinary experiences for young children and to help them develop important skills such as creativity and critical thinking.
The museum’s exhibits are divided into different areas, each with its theme and focus. Joy Park, for example, is an outdoor area with various play structures and a water feature, perfect for hot summer days. Another exhibit is the Art Studio, where children can delve into their creativity through hands-on art projects.
Besides the exhibits, the museum hosts programs and events throughout the year, including storytime sessions, music performances, and special workshops. The museum is also committed to making its exhibits accessible to all children, regardless of their background or abilities.
3. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Open from 9 am to 9 pm on Fridays and 9 am to 5 pm on all other days.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of the top attractions in the city, and for a good reason. It offers exhibits and activities that explore the natural world and the history of Denver, Colorado. Visitors can check out exhibits on dinosaurs, space, and the human body and learn about the region’s history.
One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is the Prehistoric Journey, which takes visitors on a journey through time to discover the Earth’s history. This exhibit includes life-sized dinosaur skeletons, interactive displays, and a simulated earthquake that will leave visitors feeling like they’re back in the prehistoric era.
Other exhibits feature Denver and Colorado’s history. These include the Native American cultures that once inhabited the region to the pioneers and miners who influenced the city’s past.
4. Molly Brown House Museum
Open from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
The Molly Brown House Museum gives its visitors a glimpse into the life of one of the city’s most famous residents. Margaret “Molly” Brown was an American socialite and philanthropist who is perhaps best known for surviving the sinking of the Titanic. Housed in Brown’s former home, the museum offers a look at Molly’s interesting life and the history of Denver and the Victorian era.
Built in the late 1800s, the Molly Brown House is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. The house has been restored to its original condition, with many original furnishings and decorations still in place. Visitors can take a guided tour of the house and learn about Molly’s experiences and the history of the house itself.
5. Forney Museum of Transportation
Open from 10 am to 5 pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, and noon to 5 pm on Sunday.
Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
The Forney Museum of Transportation celebrates the history and evolution of transportation. From classic cars and motorcycles to antique trains and airplanes, the museum has an impressive collection of vehicles.
One of the museum’s highlights is its antique cars and motorcycle collection. The museum has over 600 vehicles, ranging from classic cars from the early 1900s to vintage motorcycles and scooters. Visitors can admire these beautiful machines’ sleek lines and intricate details and learn about their history and evolution over time.
Moreover, the museum also has an extensive collection of antique trains and planes. The museum has a fully-restored Union Pacific “Big Boy” steam locomotive and several other historic trains and train cars.
6. Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
Open from 11 am to 5 pm, Wednesday to Saturday, and noon to 5 pm on Sunday.
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
One of the best museums in Denver is the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. It showcases the works of Colorado artist Vance Kirkland and other artists in the Rocky Mountain region. The museum also has an extensive collection of art and decorative objects, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and ceramics.
One of the museum’s highlights is its collection of works by Vance Kirkland. The museum has hundreds of Kirkland’s paintings and a recreation of his original studio. Visitors can see the tools and materials that Kirkland used to create his unique abstract paintings and learn about his life and artistic vision.
7. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday, and noon to 5 pm on Sunday.
The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts and anyone interested in the history of flight. It’s located in a historic hangar at the former Lowry Air Force Base and has a large aircraft and space vehicles collection. Visitors can explore the museum’s exhibits, which cover the history of flight from the early days of aviation to the space age.
Guests can also see planes from various eras and learn about the technological advancements that allowed humans to take to the skies. The museum has a collection of military aircraft, including planes from World War II and the Vietnam War. It also has a collection of experimental aircraft, including a replica of the Wright Brothers’ glider and a space shuttle model.
8. National Ballpark Museum
Open from 11 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Closed on Sunday and Monday
Located in a historic building near Coors Field, the National Ballpark Museum has a large collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to baseball. Visitors can learn from the museum’s exhibits, which cover the history of baseball in America, and learn about some of the sport’s most legendary players.
The museum boasts a collection of artifacts related to historic ballparks. Guests can see seats from Ebbets Field, the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and bricks from the old Yankee Stadium. The museum also has a collection of programs, scorecards, and other memorabilia from classic ballparks like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.
9. History Colorado Center
Open from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday, and 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday.
The History Colorado Center provides its guests with a comprehensive look at Colorado’s history, from ancient times to the present. Its galleries showcase artifacts and exhibits, including prehistoric fossils and modern-day innovations. What sets this museum apart is its immersive and interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to engage with history uniquely and entertainingly.
One of the museum’s standout features is its hands-on exhibits that transport visitors back in time. Visitors can step inside a stagecoach and experience what it was like to travel across the plains during the 19th century. The museum also has a recreation of a mining camp, where visitors can learn about the challenges Colorado’s early pioneers faced.
10. Denver Firefighters Museum
Open from 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday to Saturday
Closed on Sunday and Monday
The Denver Firefighters Museum in downtown Denver dedicates itself to preserving the city’s rich firefighting history. Housed in the original Firehouse Number 1, the museum offers a unique glimpse into the important role played by firefighters in safeguarding the community.
A must-see attraction at the museum is its collection of antique firefighting equipment and vehicles. Here, visitors can marvel at the old fire trucks, hoses, and tools used by firefighters in the early 1900s. The museum also features an array of firefighter uniforms, badges, and photographs that provide a captivating insight into the daily lives of Denver firefighters.
The Mile High City has a rich history, and the museums in Denver offer a fascinating glimpse into its past and present. From art and culture to science and technology, there is something for everyone to explore and discover. Add these must-visit museums to your itinerary for an unforgettable experience, whether you’re a local or a tourist. With so much to see and learn, there is no shortage of adventure waiting for you in the city’s museum scene.
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