Denver Museum of Nature and Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a municipal natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 and science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

. It is a resource for informal science education in the Rocky Mountain region. A variety of exhibitions, programs, and activities help museum visitors learn about the natural history of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The 500000 square feet (46,452 m²) building houses more than one million objects in its collections including natural history and anthropological materials, as well as archival and library resources.

The Museum is an independent, nonprofit institution with approximately 350 full-time and part-time staff, more than 1,600 volunteers, and a 25-member Board of Trustees. It is accredited by the American Association of Museums
American Association of Museums
The American Association of Museums is a non-profit association that has brought museums together since its founding in 1906, helping develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and advocating on issues of concern to the museum community...


Education Programs

The Museum provides programming in six main areas. The exhibitions, IMAX
IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

 films, lectures, classes, and programs pertain to one or more of the following core competencies:
  • Anthropology
    Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

  • Geology
    Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

  • Health Science
  • Paleontology
    Paleontology "old, ancient", ὄν, ὀντ- "being, creature", and λόγος "speech, thought") is the study of prehistoric life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments...

  • Space Science
    Space science
    The term space science may mean:* The study of issues specifically related to space travel and space exploration, including space medicine.* Science performed in outer space ....

  • Zoology
    Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

More than 178,000 students and teachers visit the Museum with school groups each year. In addition, the Museum has science outreach programs and distance–learning opportunities for families, schools and surrounding communities. The Museum also offers teachers ongoing professional training workshops.


Founded in 1900, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is located in Denver’s City Park
City Park, Denver
City Park is an urban park and neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. The park is and is located in east-central Denver. The park contains the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Ferril and Duck Lakes, and a boathouse. City Park is also the name of the neighborhood that contains the...

 and has views of Denver and the Rocky Mountains. The Museum has had three different names since it first opened: The Colorado Museum of Natural History, The Denver Museum of Natural History, and now the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The Museum traces its origins back to the efforts of one man, a pioneer naturalist named Edwin Carter
Edwin Carter
Edwin Carter - log cabin naturalist, was born in upstate New York around 1830. Carter lived in the Breckenridge, Colorado area from 1860 to 1900...

 who devoted his life to the scientific study of Colorado birds, mammals and fauna. Since 1900, the museum collection has grown from Carter’s collection, housed in a log cabin, to a museum housing more than a million objects in its collections. Another man instrumental in developing the museum's collection through the mid 20th century was Dr Alfred Marshall Bailey
Alfred Marshall Bailey
Alfred Marshall Bailey was an American ornithologist who was associated with the Denver Museum of Natural History in Colorado for most of his working life.-Early years:...

, who served as Director from 1936 to 1969.

The Museum is known for its children’s discovery areas, the Space Odyssey exhibition, Gates Planetarium, the Prehistoric Journey exhibition, IMAX films, Egyptian mummies, wildlife exhibits, colorful gems and minerals, Expedition Health exhibition, temporary exhibitions, and education programs. Visitors can also experience the “best view in Denver” from the Anschutz Family Sky Terrace and Leprino Family Atrium on the west side of the building. Here, visitors see views of the Front Range, from Longs Peak
Longs Peak
Longs Peak is one of the 53 mountains with summits over 14,000 feet in Colorado. It can be prominently seen from Longmont, Colorado, as well as from the rest of the Colorado Front Range. It is named after Major Stephen Long, who explored the area in the 1820s...

 in the north to Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak is a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in El Paso County in the United States of America....

 in the south.

The museum is partially funded by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District
Scientific and Cultural Facilities District
The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District is a special regional tax district of the State of Colorado that provides funding for art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history, or cultural history organizations in the Denver metropolitan area.In 1988, voters in the Denver region...

 (SCFD), which was created by area voters in 1988.

Permanent exhibits

Discovery Zone is a hands-on educational center geared toward children.

Egyptian Mummies uses two mummies and their tomb artifacts to teach how the ancient civilization of Egypt regarded its living and preserved its dead.

Expedition Health teaches visitors about the constantly changing and adapting human body.

Gems & Minerals is a re-created mine where visitors can examine many colorful crystals and minerals found both locally and globally.

North American Indian Cultures explores the diversity among Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 groups and the practicality and artistry of their everyday objects.

Prehistoric Journey traces the evolution of life on Earth from single-celled organisms to dinosaurs to the inhabitants of today’s world.

Space Odyssey is about the Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 and our place in it.

Wildlife Exhibits are animal dioramas showing scenes of daily life of many different animals.

Gates Planetarium

Gates Planetarium
A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation...

 presents a view of the universe, using technology to tell science stories and help visitors experience the universe. The 125-seat planetarium features unidirectional, semi-reclining stadium seating, 16.4 surround-sound system featuring Ambisonic—a 3-D spatial sound system, and a perforated metal dome, 56 feet in diameter and tilted 25 degrees. The current Gates Planetarium replaces the older, dome-style planetarium.

Phipps IMAX Theater

The Phipps IMAX Theater on the second floor of the museum was built as the Phipps Auditorium in 1940, and was used for lectures, concerts, and films until 1980. Renovated and reopened in 1983 as the Phipps IMAX Theater, it seats 440 people and now shows large-format IMAX
IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

 films daily.

The future

Plans for the future include a new Education and Collections Facility, and new permanent exhibits that will explore planet earth and the origin of humans.

Museum secrets

While many have visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, few have noticed the hidden surprises camouflaged within the museum's exhibits. Kent Pendleton, one of the museum's diorama painters, was unable to sign his work. In lieu of a signature, Pendleton painted a total of 8 elves in his work hidden throughout the museum.

In the Edge of the Wild exhibit there are two mechanical butterflies that flap their wings every few seconds making up the only moving objects in the diorama exhibits.

Finally, in the IMAX lobby entrance there are several painted pictures hidden on the walls relating to Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...


External links

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