Colorado History

RMPBS Celebrates Sixty Years of Doing It in Public With Exhibit Opening Today

At 6:45 p.m. on January 30, 1956, the Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Station aired its first show, a cartoon called Thimble Theater, which featured Popeye. In the six decades since, RMPBS has featured thousands of programs — some of which have been long forgotten, like the locally produced Ragtime Era, others which that popular with contemporary viewers, such as the Masterpiece Theater series. And now the station's history is laid out in The Rocky Mountain PBS 60th Anniversary Exhibit, which opens today and runs through March 31 at the Denver Public Library's central branch.

"We are the future of public media," says Wynne Racine of Rocky Mountain PBS. And with nearly 72,000 members and partner projects with KUVO and I-News, RMPBS's coming years looks bright. But its future also shines, with memorabilia from the past sixty years on display, including an authentic Mrs. Bird costume and Bob Ross’s painting set. Viewers can also step into the action, with a replica of a vintage studio reconstructed in the library.

Like the station itself, the exhibit combines education and entertainment, with a focus on kids. In fact, when it first went on the air, the station partnered with Denver Public Schools. Although that affiliation ended years ago, the station still focuses on children, with seven hours of programming dedicated to them each week. "It's our goal to help kids of all backgrounds… to become school ready,” says RMPBS's Wynne Racine, who helped organize the exhibit.  To learn more about the exhibit, visit RMPBS’s website.