Visit one of Denver’s world-class museums and explore a wide selection of captivating collections spanning everything from modern art to Indigenous arts of North America.
This salon-style museum, housed within painter Vance Kirkland’s original studio, showcases an eclectic assemblage of paintings as well as art deco and modern furniture.
Museum of Latin American Art
The Museum of Latin American Art should be on every Denver tour itinerary. With permanent and rotating collections that trace Latin American identity over 3,500 years, visitors can discover ancient artifacts like Aztec depictions of the universe or search through old manuscripts, videos, narrated essays or interactive pieces at this must-see museum.
This collection ranks among the largest of its kind in the United States and spans stylistic movements from all geographic regions and cultures of Latin America, revealing connections, differences, and overlapping themes. As well as artifacts from Latin American cultures, the museum also displays modern and contemporary works such as Pablo Picasso works, Henri Matisse’s Hector Guimard’s works and Georgia O’Keeffe pieces – among many more!
Though best known for its vast collections, the museum also plays a pivotal role in educating the public on Latin American culture and history. CHAC was established as an artist-support organization back in 1960; since then its influence can be seen at other museums like PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami).
Museo de las Americas was established in 1991 with the mission of collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the diverse arts of America from ancient to contemporary periods. For 28 years it has provided its community with innovative exhibitions and programs. Their permanent collections boast over 3,000 artifacts from American Southwest and Central American cultures as well as over 1,000 pieces of modern and contemporary Latin American art.
Visitors to DAM may explore its three floors, which are split between New World and Old World galleries. Each gallery showcases various aspects of its region’s culture and influence on world art, while Frederick and Jan Mayer Galleries house some of DAM’s renowned Latin American and Ancient America collections.
Museum of Contemporary Art
MCA Denver strives to redefine what a 21st-century museum can be by welcoming all audiences, celebrating all voices, and telling all stories. Through world-class exhibitions, quirky programming and an immersive learning & engagement center free for children of all ages – MCA Denver connects people throughout Denver and the world through contemporary art.
Since 1996, this museum founded by philanthropist Sue Cannon has celebrated art of our time. Its permanent collection encompasses works from Latin America, Asia, Europe, Middle East Africa and North America and its contemporary art gallery displays an eclectic range of mediums such as sculpture, photography paintings videos and other media forms. Furthermore, lectures fitness classes and educational programs are offered.
The MCA Denver is located at the center of Denver’s arts district and can easily be accessed by car or public transportation. Open to the public and featuring a cafe and gift shop; admission is free for children, students, teachers and health care workers.
MCA Denver was designed by British architect David Adjaye as his debut building design in Colorado; taking inspiration from its landscape, Adjaye was inspired to craft an innovative space which is both open and intimate – LEED Gold certified for maximum sustainability and including rooftop terrace and bar facilities.
As well as its galleries, the museum boasts a 2.1-acre outdoor sculpture park named for one of its founders. This space boasts a sculpture walk, labyrinth-like hardscape centerpiece and variety of kinetic and lifesize artworks from local artists – as well as numerous lifesize statues created specifically for this park.
The Denver Art Museum’s Modern and Contemporary Art Department houses over 8,000 works from the last 150 years, from various postwar movements such as abstract expressionism, minimalism, pop art, conceptual art and Georgia O’Keeffe’s artworks by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Georgia O’Keeffe to works by Clyfford Still – born right here in Denver – which are showcased through guest curators, themed exhibits and weekly community events like meditations in its galleries. This extensive collection showcases Still’s lasting relevance through guest curators’, themed exhibitions and weekly community events such as meditations in its galleries to highlight his lasting relevance through guest curators’ themed exhibitions as well as weekly community events including meditations in its galleries showcasing his enduring relevance through guest curators themed exhibits as meditations in its galleries.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Travel to Denver would not be complete without stopping at its celebrated natural history and science museum, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. This grand temple aims to captivate both children ages two to 90 with everything from massive dinosaur skeletons to what life might be like on Mars.
This museum boasts more than one million objects in its permanent collection and offers exhibitions, IMAX movies, lectures and education programs that span six areas: anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science and zoology. Furthermore, it is affiliated with Smithsonian Institution and offers various outreach initiatives as well as teacher training programs.
Apart from its permanent exhibits, the museum also regularly holds special exhibitions that draw huge crowds of visitors from near and far. Recent examples include Mayan World of Art and Ancient Egypt – but past shows include Dead Sea Scrolls display to China Treasures exhibits. Please note: these special shows require separate tickets that typically cost a few dollars more than regular admission.
As well as special exhibits, the museum often hosts planetarium and IMAX shows which require tickets and fees; especially popular are IMAX shows which may attract large crowds; we advise arriving early for these.
One of the museum’s signature features, Prehistoric Journey, takes visitors on a trip through Earth’s development using dinosaur fossils as evidence of evolution. While any fan of dinosaurs should make time to see this exhibit, we also found other displays fascinating – we particularly appreciated learning more about North American Indian culture and Mayans astronomical geniuses’ ability to predict events due to meticulous record keeping.
The museum can be challenging for strollers and wheelchair users, but there is ample seating and resting areas throughout. The T-Rex Cafe provides lunch services daily as well as snack bars and coffee carts on site; not to mention its well-stocked gift shop with reasonable pricing options!
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Wings Over the Rockies is Colorado’s official Air and Space Museum, boasting an engrossing collection of aircraft and space vehicles–from huge jets that dwarf even tall visitors to vintage military uniforms–that will captivate any visitor to Denver. Spanning 182,000 square feet of exhibition space, there’s so much to see and do: browse planes for sale; experience flight simulator rides; attend special events or programs organized by Wings Over the Rockies!
Wings Over the Rockies is all about hands-on learning, which makes it a fantastic option for both children and adults who still feel young at heart. Kids will delight in exploring all the different aircraft in its hangars while technical enthusiasts will gain insight into some of its components; everyone enjoys flying simulators too.
Wings Over the Rockies is home to many planes, but some stand out more than others. The F-14 Tomcat at Wings Over the Rockies stands out as not only being one of the world’s most celebrated swing-wing fighters but also as being a one-of-a-kind aircraft designed, built, and flown here in Colorado. Another remarkable aircraft on display at this museum is an experimental recon version of F-84F Thunderstreak called an RF-84K Thunderflash used by US Army and Air Force during ’80s bombers attack missions to observe what their movements.
The Boeing B-1A Lancer bomber from the museum stands out amongst a crowd, being one of only four ever produced and capable of reaching Mach 2.2 flight speeds–making it the fastest production aircraft ever.
There is also an F-14 and EA-6B Prowler from Lowry which are displayed here, along with one remaining CF-105 Arrow that served both in RAF and USAF until its retirement early ’80s.