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A look inside Denver Art Museum's reimagined campus
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Denver Art Museum's renovated campus
Denver Art Museum's campus
Photo: James Florio Photography

DENVER — The nearly four-year transformation is complete. Re-opening day for the Denver Art Museum's reimagined campus is scheduled for October 24.

After a delayed reopening during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Denver Art Museum is preparing to welcome visitors to the updated campus, which includes new galleries, two restaurants, a welcome center and an expanded learning and engagement space.

To kick-off the final 10-day countdown, local and national media were invited to the campus on October 13 to take in the new spaces and share them with you.

During the renovation closure, a lot has happened. Some is obvious from the outside from the outside, like the addition of the John J. Sie Welcome Center, which will house a restaurant and café as well as a large event space. The welcome center is enclosed in the iconic 37-foot-tall curved glass walls.

“The idea of the Welcome Center and the idea of transparency appear very early, as the connection with openness, welcome-ness, and transparency seem to go very well together,” said Jorge Silvetti from design firm Machado Silvetti, a co-designer of the museum’s new campus.

What is not as noticeable (until you step inside, that is) is each gallery in the building formerly known as the “North building" has been revitalized, adding nearly 30,000 square feet of exhibition space.

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Preview of Reimagined Denver Art Museum

The Martin Building, as it is now called, intentionally maintained the original 1971 Gio Ponti-designed building exterior, but reimagined every space inside. Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the building, there are now additional elevators, bilingual art labels in English and Spanish, as well as updates to improve visitor flow throughout.

A new elevator takes visitors to the seventh floor, home to breathtaking roof-top views from inside the renovated Western American art collection, which now has 9,000 additional square feet.  There are also two terraces to soak in the views of downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains, all while strolling past art that defines Colorado’s Western past.

“The seventh floor is an extraordinary platform to look at the landscape and connect the collection of the American West with the American West, directly. You’ll see the mountains there that you see in the paintings,” said Silvetti.

On the ground floor is another key renovation project: the Bartlit Learning and Engagement Center. With direct input from Colorado artists like Frankie Toan and Moe Gram, this space will be the new hub for youth and adult visitor learning.

[Related: Step inside the playful world of artist Moe Gram]

“We see about 200,000 young people a year at this museum and so now having this center, we’ll be hosting art-making classes for kids, for adults, and we’re building a whole new school tour experience,” said Heather Neilsen, Chief Learning and Engagement Officer at the museum.

Christoph Henrich, the museum's director, emphasized a renewed focus on sharing inclusive stories and connections. The renovated "Indigenous Arts of North America" exhibit on the third floor showcases that new commitment.

Photo: James Florio Photography

“Being located on the homeland of the Arapahoe, the Cheyenne, and the Ute people, along with many other Indigenous nations that call this place home, we acknowledge a deep impact that indigenous people had and continue to make on our institution,” said Heinrich.

Along with the renovation, museum officials say they added 65 full-time jobs.

Private and public funding totaling nearly $175 million was put into the museum's renovation.

The unified art campus officially reopens on Sunday, October 24 and will be welcoming all guests for free that day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information on the "free day" is available here.

Links to learn more about the expansive renovations and to reserve advanced tickets (even on free day) visit the Denver Art Museum's website.


Jennifer Castor is the Executive Producer of Multimedia Content at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can email her at jennifercastor@rmpbs.org

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