Colorado may be one of the “newer” states, but it has a history all its own. A trip around the state will present you with many museums on Colorado’s founders, early industry in the area, and more, but what about women? Plenty is said of the pioneer and the cowboy, but women were as much a part of Colorado’s history as all the gunslingers. Up until recently, there was no museums or other features to recognize these women, but that changed with the opening of the Colorado Women’s History Center at the Byers-Evans House Museum in Denver. The center is the first museum devoted to women’s history in the state.
The center will feature prominent women that have helped shape the Centennial state and their accomplishments as well as varying social, racial, and other challenges that have faced Colorado women throughout their history in the state. The museum will also host various programs including tea times, workshops, book clubs, and more. The idea is for the museum not only to be a place to view important artifacts, but an open forum where both past, present, and future women’s issues can be discussed in an open environment.
“All of our programs are designed for conversational tone,” says Jillian Allison, the Center’s director, who adds that they hope to expand the focus beyond the metro area. “We want to look at rural areas and diversity among those communities.”
History Colorado has been holding programs centered women’s history at the Byers-Evans house for several years including women’s history from 1912-1924 and the early history of women in Denver. The expansion into the Women’s History Center will allow the House Museum to focus exclusively on women’s history – and the tea parties are already a rousing success.
The Byers-Evans House was built in 1883 by William, and Elizabeth Byers who would go onto found the Rocky Mountain News in 1859. The Evans family continued to live in the home until 1981 when it was officially donated to the Colorado Historical Society.
The Center is slated to open March 21 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with guided tours of the newly-opened museum immediately following. “We’re excited to get people involved in the space and the programs,” Allison says.