BOULDER, Colo. — The Museum of Boulder is partnering with the Boulder branch of the NAACP to create a new Black history exhibit called “Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History."
“We were trying to think of a name and someone said, 'Reclaiming Boulder’s Black History,' and I said, 'We haven't even acknowledged Boulder’s Black history yet,'” said Glenda Strong Robinson, civil rights activist and NAACP member. “So we're going forward with Proclaiming Boulder’s Black History.”
Robinson says she’s excited about the project following a recent visit to the museum where she didn’t see many stories about Black Coloradans.
“There have been innumerable African American people in this area that I know of who've made significant contributions to the economy, to the culture,” Robinson said.
After receiving that feedback, the Museum of Boulder decided to take action. Museum officials applied for a federal grant and are currently working on creating a Black history exhibit with help from the NAACP and social historian and food critic Adrian Miller.
“So we are really looking at what are the churches, the businesses, the community centers, that have their own archives? Who are those family historians? Who are those community historians that have been gathering stories, that have been taking notes on the back of photos, you know? Those things that sometimes we take for granted,” said Emily Zinn, director of education for the Museum of Boulder.
Zinn says there are so many stories to tell.
“Penfield Tate is the only Black mayor that Boulder's ever had,” Zinn said.
“Dr. Charles Nilon… he was the first African American professor at CU Boulder,” Robinson said.
Robinson and Zinn say the exhibit will tell the stories of Black trailblazers and everyday Coloradans alike.
Zinn says over the next year, the museum and museum partners will work to collect stories and items for the exhibit, which is scheduled to be complete by 2023.