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Exploring Colorado's Black History at the Museum of Boulder

Category: Boulder Blog

Although the end of February is fast approaching and Black History Month is drawing to a close, thanks to the Museum of Boulder’s “Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History'' exhibit, which runs through September 2025, there is an incredible opportunity for communities near and far to experience the journey and hear the untold stories of Colorado’s Black history through thoughtful storytelling and unique artifacts. This exhibit amplifies Black perspectives’ and preserves Colorado's Black history with imaginative and informational elements that bring Colorado’s historical Black voices to life. 

When you walk in, you are introduced to Daisy Mason, who in 1883 was the first recorded Black child in Boulder County. Daisy amplifies the story of Black lifestyles in Colorado through her and her daughter's perspectives. Following her social justice and civil rights journey, I learned much about what Black communities experienced and accomplished here in Boulder County.  

With rooms full of artifacts, symbols, videos, and biographies/stories from historic Black Coloradans, I found all exhibit storytelling elements engaging and incredibly informative. As I listened and read individual narratives about building communities, entrepreneurship, the arts, Afrofuturism, and social justice, I was touched and inspired by story after story of individuals - from 1906 until today.

The self-determination and perseverance Black individuals had in academia are also inspiring. Lucile Berkely Buchanan Jones is an excellent example. During her time as a student, Jones demanded justice to attend public higher education in Colorado despite being barred from private institutions. She later made history in Colorado by becoming CU Boulder's first Black female graduate and her legacy continues at the Museum of Boulder today! She received an associate's degree from the University of Northern Colorado (1905) and a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado Boulder (1918). Jones was a woman of “strong constitution and substance,” which I am inspired by in my studies today. 

The exhibit's bright, abstract and exciting artwork caught my attention! Visualizing the “people and places” in Colorado from a Black perspective is shown through a quilt by Judy Haslee Scott. Scott is married to a descendant of Lincoln Hills Resort and illustrates stories behind their family's livelihood in the country. The colorfully sewn piece displays culture and family as it illuminates the stories of Scott’s husband's ancestors. 

I especially enjoyed the exhibit’s highlights on Boulder Bounty’s Black community, which includes an incredible history of entrepreneurs, politicians, philanthropists, artists, and Cathay Williams - the first documented black woman to enlist in the Army. 

While exploring the exhibit, it became clear that Colorado’s Black history lacks within school curriculum. The Museum of Boulder and its partners outlined detailed lesson plans and curricula for elementary, middle, and high schools. On their website, it is easily accessible to view and provides an excellent resource for teachers to integrate and amplify Black voices into their curriculum. This idea to increase the inclusivity of diverse perspectives is celebrated during Black History Month. I am so happy that the Museum of Boulder has a great way to provide more learning opportunities year-round! 

It is empowering and essential to look back at history through diverse lenses and explore the stories of those voices that have yet to be amplified.  Leading up to the exhibit's launch, our team was lucky to learn how the exhibit came together. You can read more about that here.  

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to help amplify the voices and stories of Black communities throughout Colorado and within Boulder County! The Museum of Boulder is hosting this fantastic exhibit until September 2025 and is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Wednesday to Monday.

More to come!


Photo: Lincoln Hills Colorado: An African American Heartbeat" by Judy Haslee Scott (2009) found at the "Proclaiming Colorado's Black History" exhibit at the Museum of Boulder. 

Mentioned in this Post: Museum of Boulder

Tagged:   Art,   Boulder

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