Author Archives: davidlnewell

Quiltspeak: Stories In The Stitches

Working in a history museum setting it is inevitable that a quilt exhibit will present itself. The first day I worked at the Dallas Historical Society I was called into the interim director’s office and told that I needed to quickly … Continue reading

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Vance Kirkland: A Colorado Painter’s Life

A few blocks east the Colorado History Museum, at the corner of Pearl and 13th Avenue is the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Arts, one of Denver’s hidden treasures. The museum is organized around the collections of Vance Kirkland, an important regional … Continue reading

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Icons and Oddities: 125 Years of Collecting Colorado Colorado History Museum

19th Century decorative arts vignette Every once and a while an exhibition project comes along that allows me to wear two hats – curator and exhibition designer. Icons and Oddities was one such project. I co-curated the show with Curator of … Continue reading

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Soldiers on Skis, Colorado History Museum

The U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division is still in existence and active on many fronts, but in the 1940s it was based at Camp Hale, in the Colorado Rockies near the present-day ski mecca of Vail. In fact, former members of the … Continue reading

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Ancient Voices, Colorado History Museum

Ancient Voices was perhaps the most complicated project I undertook as the exhibition designer with the Colorado Historical Society. It was a large undertaking, produced in about a year’s time, which is very fast for a large museum exhibition. It also required … Continue reading

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Cue the Bison

From the beginning of the interpretive discussions for Ancient Voices it was a given that we needed to explore broader interpretive solutions than a” book on the wall” format. We were telling the story of a world unfamiliar to the majority … Continue reading

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Telling the Bigger Story

The nature and habits of the cultures being interpreted in Ancient Voices presented a problem in that two of the represented cultural groups were nomadic, and therefore there is little extant record of their worlds. The interpretive team faced the … Continue reading

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The Ongoing Conversation

Creating an exhibition is an evolutionary process with the integration of many ideas. It is an ongoing conversation with input from many sources. For Ancient Voices we began with a general idea of what we were trying to accomplish and then … Continue reading

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It’s in the Details

Undertaking an exhibition space that revolves around major built environments necessitates focusing on a great many details – large and small. For several sections of Ancient Voices we replicated large outdoor environments within an interior space, and a great many “natural” objects … Continue reading

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Creating a Landscape, Colorado History Museum

A major interpretive section in the Ancient Voices installation revolved around the Apishipa culture of  Colorado. These were a semi-nomadic people who also built small, temporary stone structures along the tributaries and cutbanks of the southeastern Colorado prairie. The nomadic nature … Continue reading

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