Eighteen Denver Area Museums to Visit Now!

The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has been innovative online; now it's back.
The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has been innovative online; now it's back. Anthony Camera
Denver is now operating under Level Orange COVID-19 guidelines, and that means more museums around the city have reopened, with strict safety procedures in place, including mask requirements, social distancing, hand-sanitizing and capacity limits. The Buffalo Bill Museum and the Children's Museum both reopened this week, and the Museo de las Americas will welcome visitors starting January 10; a few cultural institutions never closed...though their exhibit protocols and procedures have changed.

Whether you're interested in history, art, transportation or firefighting, there's something for you to explore right now. Here are seventeen places to start:

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Road, Golden

If you want to dive into the fascinating story of buffalo hunter and showman William F. Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, there is no better place to go than his museum and grave site. The museum displays Native American relics, firearms and objects from Cody's personal life and Wild West show, and the location, high up on Lookout Mountain, is glorious. 

Children's Museum of Denver Marsico Campus
2121 Children's Museum Drive

While Denver's Children's Museum, plagued by sticky-fingered kiddos, isn't exactly known as a germ-free zone during normal times, it has shifted operations to be touch-free and has implemented strict cleaning procedures in order to invite youngsters back for what so many have been missing: education and entertainment.
click to enlarge Social distancing has often been the norm at the Clyfford Still Museum, though mask-wearing is now required. - LEANNE GOEBEL
Social distancing has often been the norm at the Clyfford Still Museum, though mask-wearing is now required.
Leanne Goebel
Clyfford Still Museum
1250 Bannock Street

The Clyfford Still Museum — a temple to the great abstract-expressionist, offering a rotation of exhibits and regular, smart programming — has reopened its doors to the public and will be extending its run of Still's later works through March 21. The institution also offers plenty of virtual programming for those who are not quite ready to leave their homes.

Denver Art Museum
100 West 14th Avenue Parkway

Denver's largest art museum managed to keep exhibitions open through Level Red, and it's continuing to offer programming into the new year, including its Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit, which runs through January 24. You can also check out special exhibits of works by Shantell Martin, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi and more, along with much of the museum's regular offerings.

Denver Firefighters Museum
1326 Tremont Place

If you're fascinated by the history and work of firefighting, the Denver Firefighters Museum is the place to go. It reopened on January 5 with strict COVID-19 regulations and no hands-on activities. But there is still plenty to peruse, from firefighter memorabilia to fire trucks.

Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys
830 Kipling Street

Bigger isn't necessarily better. The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys reopened its doors in a new location in September and was shut down by regulations soon after. Whether you're interested in stuffies, dolls or tiny cars, this is the place to be.
click to enlarge Explore Egyptian history at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. - AARON THACKERAY
Explore Egyptian history at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Aaron Thackeray
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Boulevard

Learn about space, dinosaurs, animals, Egypt and more at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which has been operating through much of the pandemic. While you're there, check out the refreshed Space Odyssey exhibit and Art of the Brick, and if the weather is nice, take a stroll around City Park.

Denver Selfie Museum
1531 Stout Street

Instagram crazed? If you're looking to look at, well, yourself, head to the Denver Selfie Museum, where you can take selfies galore against all manner of zany and artful backdrops, sets and optical illusions. 

Forney Museum of Transportation
4303 Brighton Boulevard

For those who geek out on getting around, the Forney Museum of Transportation is a must-stop spot. With more than 600 vehicles, from cars and motorcycles to historic train cars and even Matchbox toys on display, it's a mechanical wonderland for kids and adults alike.

Four Mile Historic Park
715 South Forest Street

With a twelve-acre campus and a museum in Denver's oldest standing house, Four Mile Historic Park gives visitors a taste of Western history, a chance to enjoy a farm in the city, and a look back at life and the region for the past few hundred years — even before the 160-year-old house was built.

History Colorado Center
1200 Broadway

Across the state, from Trinidad to Montrose, History Colorado operates multiple museums. In Denver, the History Colorado Center offers rotating exhibitions telling the stories of the West and Colorado. While the museum is rooted in exploring the past — and how our current lives will be memorialized — it is also wrangling with the pressing cultural issues of our time.

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
1201 Bannock Street

With around 4,400 pieces on display from a collection of 30,000, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art gives viewers the chance to view 150 years of art, including works by Colorado painter Vance Kirkland, other homegrown artworks and design-oriented pieces. It's an adult-oriented museum, in order to protect the delicate pieces inside.

Mizel Museum
400 South Kearney Street

Explore Jewish history and heritage at the Mizel Museum, which is currently open by appointment only. Through art, photographs and historical objects, the museum tells the story of Jewish cultures over the past 4,000 years.

Molly Brown House Museum
1340 Pennsylvania Avenue

Pay homage to the Unsinkable Molly Brown at this historic landmark dedicated to telling the story of Denver's wealthy from the late 1800s through the early 1900s with a special focus on Titanic survivor, philanthropist and larger-than-life personality Margaret Brown.

Museo de las Americas
861 Santa Fe Drive

Museo de las Americas, a museum celebrating Chicano and Mexican culture, is open to the public with the exhibit Testigos/Witnesses, with works by artist Gaal D. Cohen and artisan Genaro Fuentes Trejo, both from the indigenous Otomi community in San Pablito Pahuatlán. The show runs through March 20.
click to enlarge Marilyn Minter's piece in "Pledges of Allegiance," part of MCA Denver's Citizenship: A Practice of Society. - MCA DENVER / CREATIVE TIME / MARILYN MINTER
Marilyn Minter's piece in "Pledges of Allegiance," part of MCA Denver's Citizenship: A Practice of Society.
MCA Denver / Creative Time / Marilyn Minter
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
1485 Delgany Street
MCA Denver is back with its election-year show, Citizenship: A Practice of Society, an exhibition focused on activist artists who are exploring social and political questions and responding to the world around them. The show runs through February 14.

Museum of Outdoor Arts
1000 Englewood Parkway 2-230, Englewood

While the Museum of Outdoor Arts has public art displayed throughout Englewood and beyond, its indoor galleries are also currently open, including a temporary retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg's paintings and the permanent exhibit Cabinet of Curiosities and Impossibilities, first installed by artist Lonnie Hanzon with additions by other artists over the years. It's a menagerie of imagination-sparking oddities, and well worth a visit.

Wings Over the Rockies
7711 East Academy Boulevard

If you've always dreamed of flying, the next best thing is a trip to Wings Over the Rockies, a museum dedicated to aircraft, from planes to rockets to drones. Explore the history and future of flight, and even take your turn in the pilot's seat through a flight simulator.

Do you know of a museum that's opened and should be on this list? Send the details to [email protected]
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris