IMLS Proclaiming Colorado's Black History

Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History

SEPTEMBER, 2023

The Museum of Boulder, in partnership with the Boulder County NAACP Chapter and the Boulder Public Library, will develop activities to highlight the history of Black people in Colorado with our newly awarded IMLS: Museums for America grant.

Over three years (and beyond), the Museum will employ a community-centered process and develop an exhibit and educational curricula to address the underrepresentation of Black histories in Colorado.

The program will collect original oral histories and research, consolidate research data and make it publicly available, and host a series of programs about race.

This project will give Coloradans a more inclusive understanding of the state’s history by illuminating the stories of Black Coloradans, help the local community examine attitudes about and acknowledge the experience of Black people in Colorado, and ultimately serve as a launching pad for community dialogue and a basis for community action.

Here’s an introduction to the exhibit!

We’re seeking volunteers!

We will be inviting volunteers to contribute farther down the road. If you would like to be contacted about volunteering please add your name below.

Have an idea for the exhibit?

Do you have an amazing person or subject that should be included in the forthcoming “Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History” exhibit? Tell us more about it by filling out the form below.

College students… Come work with us!

Please apply for the Student Research Assistant Positions. The current students have been selected, and the positions will reopen in December. The Museum of Boulder has funding to support undergraduate and graduate students for part-time work to research and collect material and oral histories for this exhibit. Students from across the state should apply and can work remotely.

We’d love your support!

The Museum is responsible for a monetary match of this grant. If you would like to support these important efforts, please contact our Community Outreach Liaison at beverly@museumofboulder.org.

In October of 2021, Boulder teen, Mackenzie, attended the Announcement Breakfast at the Museum of Boulder. The grandparents of Mackenzie annually challenge their grandchildren to contribute to a nonprofit of their choice. Mackenzie was so moved by the upcoming efforts of this project, she chose to donate and her grandparents matched her donation. This is the Museum’s first model of Generational Giving. Multi-generational philanthropy is an opportunity for families with funds, foundations, or other family enterprises to connect, give and serve together more effectively.

"I love the Museum of Boulder. My family and I have been members for a few years. Recently, I learned about their new project to tell the story of Black Coloradans. I was surprised to learn their stories have not been told and wanted to personally support this project. It feels important to bring to light the people who have been forgotten and marginalized. Telling their stories feels like an important first step in healing some of the wrongs of the past.
I hope you feel inspired to support this project as well.
Love Mackenzie"
Mackenzie at the Museum’s Collection Facility.

Check out some of the research:

Oral histories

Boulder’s Black Business Ventures collection (in collaboration with the Carnegie Library for Local History)

Archives from festivals and events celebrating Black arts in Colorado

Project Team (click here to meet the team!):

Advisory Council (click here to meet the advisors!):

Wendell Pryor Past Director, Colorado Division of Civil Rights

Yvette Bowden Boulder County Assistant County Administrator

– Tatiana Hernandez – CEO, Community Foundation Boulder County

Wanda James Political activist, entrepreneur, and CEO

Nikhil Mankekar Award-Winning Civil and Human Rights Leader. Founder, Call2Action; Co-host, PoCo in BoCo radio show on KGNU

Adam Bradley Founding director of the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture (the RAP Lab) at UCLA and CU Boulder. Former Board of Directors member for the Museum

– Kathryn Hill – Executive Director,  Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow on Facebook and Twitter.


The Museum of Boulder is grateful for the corporate sponsorship of BAIRD – In alignment with the Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History project’s effort, is the Baird Way: “to improve lives and futures for our clients, for each other and in the communities we share”. For more than a century, BAIRD has followed the principles of integrity, transparency, teamwork and keeping clients first. Together these ideals form the foundation of Baird’s unique culture and approach to doing business — what they call, The Baird Way.