Denver Art Museum celebrates 125 years of culture

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Four-year-old Emelia Selover walked into the Denver Art Museum holding a small cardboard block with blue bricks on it. It was a present she picked out for the museum, which celebrated 125 years in Denver last month.

“The museum told me it wanted a present,” Selover said as she enjoyed cake in the lobby of the Frederic C. Hamilton building on Dec. 4.

Selover joined her family along with hundreds of others to celebrate the milestone at 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway. The museum provided cake while musical group The Westsiders sang carols in the lobby area.

Museum staff mingled with guests as cake was served. Loree Pettit and her 10-year-old daughter, Emily, talked with Florence Muller, the Avenir Foundation curator of textile art and the curator of fashion at the DAM. Emily is homeschooled in Denver, and Loree said they came to the museum to see the new Dior fashion exhibit. She added that Emily designs her own dresses.

“She’s been my fashion queen since she was 2,” Loree said.

The DAM first launched in Denver in 1893 as the Denver Artists’ Club, according to a timeline on the DAM’s website. It would later become the Denver Art Association, before settling on Denver Art Museum in 1923. In 1922, the museum found its first permanent home in the Chapell House, a mansion built in the late 1800s on the corner of Logan Street and East 13th Avenue.

The museum later moved to a building on Acoma Street in 1949. In 1971, the museum’s current home in the North Building was completed. It is the only building designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti in North America. In 2016, the museum began fundraising for a $150 million capital campaign to renovate the North Building, which broke ground at the beginning of this year. Construction on the project is ongoing, with the addition of a new welcome center. The museum plans to have the project finished in time for the building’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

The Hamilton building opened in 2006. The new building nearly doubled the size of the museum, according to its website.

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