In 1979, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a mammoth Clyfford Still survey. Little did museum-goers realize that it would be their last opportunity to see Still's work for more than 30 years. When he died in 1980, Still stipulated that his work be kept from the public eye until an American city created a museum dedicated solely to his art. His wife, Patricia, selected Denver in 2005; by November 2011, the two-story, 28,500-square-foot museum finally opened its doors.
Inside, nine galleries showcase rotating pieces from nearly 94% of Still's entire output, which includes approximately 825 paintings and 1,575 works on paper. Taken together, these pieces trace Still's evolution from representational painting to abstract expressionism, a shift he made earlier than contemporaries such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Besides Still's artwork, the museum houses the artist's personal belongings, ranging from sketchbooks to recordings of the many prank calls he pulled on Pablo Picasso. In addition to preserving Still's legacy, the museum plays host to events such as liquor tastings, artist lectures, and film screenings.
Children’s Museum of Denver was originally founded in a converted school bus in 1973. Since then, its surroundings have changed, but its mission has remained the same: to engage visitors in learning through play. Its collection of 13 hands-on playscapes is designed to stimulate the minds of children from birth to age 8, earning Children's Museum of Denver a spot on Forbes's 2012 list of the 12 Best Children's Museums in the US.
Amid the museum's two stories, visitors learn about fire safety in Fire Station No. 1, shop for healthy foods in the market, and unleash their creative sides with paint and stage costumes at Arts a la Carte. Dedicated to nurturing a love of math and science, the museum also features a recyclable-material assembly plant, a bubble experimentation lab, and a newly opened kinetics exhibit with a gigantic marble run.
Built in 1859, the Four Mile House marked the final rest stop for people on westward journeys to Denver along the Cherokee Trail. Nestled on the Cherry Creek’s banks, the house played host to travelers seeking home-cooked meals and a place to sleep before their final four-mile trek to the city. Since then, the abode has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and it's Denver's oldest standing structure.
A preserved slice of frontier life circa 1859–1899, Four Mile House is open for tours, as are its surrounding barns and outbuildings. Elsewhere, visitors can greet live goats and chickens or hop aboard horse-drawn rides around the 12-acre park. Four Mile House further celebrates its pioneer legacy with events such as historic demonstrations of activities like blacksmithing, the art of taking any object and painting it black.
Since their founding in 1991, the Museo de las Americas has hewn true to a mission of celebrating the diversity of Latino Americano art. A permanent collection of more than 4,000 artifacts ranging from pre-Columbian times to the colonial era to contemporary creators provides a strikingly clear delineation of the history of Latin American culture. Temporary exhibits have explored the art of the Huichol people, whose culture remains uniquely intact even after centuries of colonial influence, and the surrealist work of Daniel Luna, which recalls Salvador Dali.
More than 70 U.S. government officials, including the current speaker of the house, have visited CELL Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab since its 2008 opening. Their appearances are a testament to the nonpartisan museum's comprehensive overview of domestic and international terrorism, all developed by prominent counterterrorism experts. The exhibit delves into topics ranging from terrorism's history and media coverage to terrorists' methods, and is home to artifacts including a piece of wreckage from the World Trade Center that stands above a memorial to 9/11. They also engage museum-goers' noodles throughout with interactive stations that quiz them on their new findings. Beyond being informative, the exhibits are also aesthetically alluring, having been designed by Academy- and Emmy-award-winning artists.
The self-guided exhibit isn't the only way CELL strives to educate the public about terrorism and the ways it can be prevented. CELL's events include quarterly symposiums in which experts and government officials gather to discuss security and counterterrorism issues. Part of its Community Awareness Program, CELL's free classes inform citizens about the constitutional methods they can employ to help prevent terrorist activities.