As a dedicated and observant teacher, my sister, Ming, and her 4th grade teammate decide to explore the new History Colorado Center for a possible field trip to expand their students’ understanding of Colorado. While I expect the majority of the museum to be geared towards children, my sense of restlessness kicks in and I opt to join the teaching duo. I find my preconceived notions to be falsehoods when I encounter the marble floor map at the entrance. Various plackets mark specific areas of Denver and seeing a rolling machine with screens attached we touch the screen to see how everything is connected. As the screen begins to tell a story about the area of Colorado we’ve selected, we excitedly roll the time machine over to various placket regions and realize that the screens will tell us a unique fact about the area we’ve chosen. Such a device would be a History Channel buff’s dream come true.
Our next stop is the General store where the sound of children buzzes in the air as they take eggs from the chicken coop to exchange for goods at the store. There’s a rental for an old-fashioned buggy available, a cow who needs milking, and a display of pictures that slide out to show how the railroad changed the look and use of Colorado. Various local actors I excitedly recognize guide us through and illustrate life in early Colorado. Sadly, the virtual ride for the buggy is in repair, but like little kids who are easily entertained by toilet jokes, we are amused by the outhouse for two and the chamber pot with crocheted lid.
Upstairs, the atmosphere changes as we are told the less favorable events of Colorado. Darker displays of Sand Creek Massacre artifacts, Colorado’s large number of KKK members, and the recreation of Amache-Granada Relocation Center in World War II overshadows our visit. Things seem hopeful spending time in the ski exhibit with a simulated virtual ski jump complete with blowing air to help you feel the wind on your face as you descend down the jump. On our way through the mine shafts, Ming anxiously anticipates possible claustrophobia as we wait our turn to experience a mine shaft elevator. After being shaken and rattled in the elevator, I’m glad my sensitive stomach has survived, and I have an even deeper appreciation for miners when I realize the dangers and toils on their bodies they endured.
The most entertaining part of the museum is the LEGOrado display. Having collected various LEGO sets of spaceships, beach houses, and other odds and ends, I love seeing the tables covered with scenes of Colorado. On one end a wedding is taking place in the Colorado present section of town. Another corner is excavating a dinosaur while a forest fire with a nearby train looms beside it. A futuristic Star Wars-esque display covers yet another section and next to it is a view of the Old West with travelers awaiting a train and ghost LEGOs frolicking through an abandoned town. While the LEGOs are enjoyable and one could spend hours finding every detail, I am even more impressed to see Colorado’s past, present, and future all in one room. I have so much of Colorado to learn, perhaps I should be a student in Ming’s 4th grade classroom this fall.
Weekend Travel Inspiration hosted by Reflections Enroute, The Crowded Planet, Contented Traveller, Albom Adventures, Safari 254, Families Go! and Malaysian Meanders, Photo Friday hosted by Pierced Wonderings, Weekend Wanderlust hosted by A Brit and a Southerner, A Southern Gypsy, Eat Work Travel, Justin Plus Lauren and One Modern Couple, and City Tripping hosted by Wander Mum and Mummy Travels.