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Smithsonian's 'American Democracy' exhibit comes to History Colorado
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Credit: History Colorado

With less than 50 days until the November presidential election, there is hardly a better time to visit the new exhibit at History Colorado. Exploring themes such as democracy, citizenship, and voting, the exhibit was developed in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute’s traveling display called “American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith.

“I hope people walk away with a different understanding of what we share as Americans, but also as Coloradans,” said Sam Bock, a public historian and exhibit developer with History Colorado. “We here at History Colorado have added some pretty significant interpretation to this exhibit.”

Colorado Voices

American Democracy at History Colorado

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Take a look inside "American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith" at History Colorado.

Thanks to the team at History Colorado, the exhibit also explores Colorado’s entry into the Union and its role in women’s suffrage (it was the first state in which women achieved the right to vote via popular referendum).

“At a time when Americans, as much as ever, have political questions and questions about how we got to this point in our political history, this exhibit is really here for us to help answer those questions,” Bock said. “It doesn’t just explore our origins as a people, but also the way we define ourselves, the way we engage with our politics. And not just on the day of a vote. Also the other 364 days of the year.”

The exhibit is part of History Colorado’s new initiative called “This Is What Democracy Looks Like,” which was started in order to “inspire renewed participation in election-year democracy.”

Part of the exhibit allows guests to create a plaster cast of their hand that will be added to a "We The People" display in the atrium of History Colorado.

“It really sends the message that democracy is a verb,” Bock said. “Democracy is something we all do. It’s not something that happens to us or happens around us. We participate.”

Bock said voting is "the most important thing you can do to affect the political future of out nation," but that it's not the only thing.

Bock went on to say that the exhibit also attempts to convey the message that while voting is “the most important thing you can do to affect the political future of our nation,” it is not the only tool in the democracy toolbox.

“Getting out in the street and making petitions, finding people that agree with you and organizing to make the nation into what you think it needs to beI think that’s the tradition that this exhibit highlights alongside voting,” he said.

“American Democracy” will be on display until January 30, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tickets must be reserved online. You can do that here.

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