Join Our Mailing List


We Call Them Conference Educational Experiences

MPMA’s Host Committee has organized half and full-day experiences so attendees can see how Colorado sites apply history, art and science to their interpretation. These experiences are educationally oriented and designed to enhance your session and workshop training. Walking shoes and light jackets are recommended.

Pre-registration is required, must show ticket to board bus.

Tours are scheduled for on Monday, October 16, 2017, and Thursday, October 19, 2017.  Come early or stay later and take one of the many Tour options available!

Register for these tours here

Monday, October 16, 2017

All Day Tours

T1  Top of the Rockies: Exploring Leadville’s Cultural Treasures among Colorado’s Highest Peaks
Bus loads up at 7:45 a.m. Departs Conference Hotel at 8:00 a.m.  Returns to Conference Hotel by 3:30 p.m. Ticketed Event:  $65 / Guests $70.  Lunch included.

Want to be able to tell your family and friends you visited the highest city in the U.S. and saw the tallest peak in the Rockies? Hop on the bus for the Top of the Rockies tour! The ride up will pass historic towns, mining districts, and the Climax Molybdenum Mine on Freemont Pass. Your Leadville experience will begin with a visit to History Colorado’s Healy House and Dexter Cabin, 19th-century residences from when Leadville was in competition to become the state’s capital. Next, you will see the Matchless Mine and hear the part it played in the scandalous life of Silver King Horace Tabor and his second wife, “Baby Doe.” Lunch and a tour will be offered at the Tabor Opera House, where everyone who was anyone in the late 19th century graced the stage. The final stop will be the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, with its 25,000 square feet of interactive and walk-through mining exhibits. The elevation of Freemont Pass is more than 11,000 feet and Leadville is 10,152 feet high, which may be of concern for visitors with breathing problems or who experience altitude sickness.

Tour Guide: Stephen L. Whittington, Executive Director, National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, Leadville, CO; Vice President, MPMA Board of Directors

T2  Boulder:  Art, Nature, History

Bus loads up at 7:45 a.m. Departs Conference Hotel at 8:00 a.m.  Returns to Conference Hotel by 3:45 p.m.  Ticketed Event:  $50 / Guests $55. Lunch included.

Start with a drive up scenic Colorado State Highway 93 to Boulder and the University of Colorado campus where our first stop will be the CU Art Museum for a coffee break welcome and then a tour of the galleries, education areas and vault with Senior staff.  Next a short walk to the CU Museum of Natural History to explore the Bio Lounge, a popular exhibit and student interactive.  Senior staff will speak about this reimagined biology hall/student lounge and the challenges of changing exhibits in a constantly evolving space.  Lunch will be at the award-winning Center for Community Dining, a buffet featuring ten micro-restaurants including Persian, Italian, Barbeque and a dessert bar. Then, a quick ride downtown to the new Museum of Boulder for a hard hat tour.  The staff will discuss the museum’s transformation from the Boulder History Museum, located in a small historic house on University Hill to the Museum of Boulder, in a renovated Masonic Lodge building.

Tour Guides: Maggie Mazzullo, Collections Manager/Registrar, CU Art Museum; Sharon Tinianow, Assistant Director, CU Museum of Natural History; Kristen Lewis, Curator of Collections, Museum of Boulder

T3  Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway- Forty Miles of Western Adventure
Genesee Buffalo Herd                 Hiwan Homestead                                  Red Rocks
Amphitheater                                           Dinosaur Ridge
Bus loads at 8:00 a.m. Departs Conference Hotel at 8:30 a.m. Returns to Conference Hotel by 3:30 p.m.  Ticketed Event: $55 / Guests $60. Lunch included.

One of the Denver area’s original auto tours, the Lariat Loop offers a setting of dense forests, mountain vistas, winding roads, rocky outcrops and ridges, and historic “beauty spots.”  Our tour begins with a stop at Genesee Park to see the only city-owned free ranging bison herd in the world. Originally sourced from Yellowstone National Park in 1914, this is considered one of the country’s wildest herds.  The tour continues to historic Hiwan Museum in Evergreen for a behind-the-scenes look at this living heritage center that was once a cherished retreat for a wealthy family, later the headquarters of the sprawling Hiwan Ranch.  Next, we’ll take a scenic route through Bear Creek Canyon past many historic and scenic parks to Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of nature’s geologic wonders and premier concert venues in the world.  We’ll end our journey at Dinosaur Ridge, one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil localities. 

Guides:  Tim Sandsmark, Education Supervisor, Jefferson County Open Space and Director of Lookout Mountain Nature Center; John Steinle, former History Education Supervisor, Jefferson County Open Space and Director of Hiwan Museum 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Half Day Tours in the Afternoon

Buses load up at 1:45 p.m. Depart Conference Hotel at 2:00 p.m.  Return times vary.

Ticketed Event:  $25/ Guests $35

T4  Denver History Tour: Western Women / City Shapers Return to Conference Hotel by 6:00 p.m.

           Byers-Evans House                          Molly Brown House
                            Black America West Museum

Throughout history, the women who settled in Denver were willing to take risks and claim their rights. These independent women became civic leaders who shaped a rough and dusty town into a cultured and diverse city. To explore their stories, we’ll stop at the Byers Evans House Museum and Molly Brown House Museum - two thriving historic house museums that use immersive experiences to activate the stories of uniquely Denver women. On the route, we’ll drive past historic locations such as the Black American West Museum and iconic structures which civic-minded women helped to build. And, we’ll learn about the women who pioneered models of historic preservation in a boom and bust city.   

Tour guides:  Dr. Marcia T. Goldstein, Colorado Women’s Historian, Denver, CO; Andrea Malcomb, Museum Director, Molly Brown House Museum, Denver, CO.        

T5  Visual Arts Museums Tour Return to Conference Hotel by 6:15 p.m.

     MCA Denver                                             Denver Art Museum                                                     Museum of Western Art
Get a taste of Denver’s diverse visual arts offerings with this three-museum tour.  At Denver Art Museum, one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast, you’ll see Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place.  This exciting mixed media exhibition features site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West.  Next stop is the American Museum of Western Art, located in the historic Navarre Building. The permanent home of the Anschutz Collection, it boasts over 300 paintings by more than 180 artists, providing guests with a survey of Western art, as well as a better understanding and appreciation of the history and beauty of the American West over time.  Your final stop is the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver). Featuring regional, national and international artists, MCA Denver offers a wide range of exhibitions promoting creative experimentation with art and ideas. Through adult and youth education programs and other creative events, the museum serves as an innovative forum for a culturally engaged community. End your afternoon here and hop back on the bus, or head up to the terrace bar for a cocktail and grab the light rail back the conference hotel.

Tour Guide:  Sarah Kate Baie, Director of Programming, MCA Denver

T6  Nature and Science Tour Return to Conference Hotel by 6:15 p.m.

   Denver Botanic Gardens                  Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Denver Botanic Gardens is a living museum with a wide range of gardens and collections on 24 acres featuring plants from all over the world. Distinctive gardens define and celebrate a Western identity and a unique high-altitude climate and geography. Discover this urban oasis with a docent as your guide or take a self-guided tour.  Next explore the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) - -one of the country’s leading natural history museums---in this exclusive behind-the-scenes tour. Check out some of the Museum’s 1.4 million artifacts and collections items, ranging from Zoology to Anthropology and Paleontology, in the brand-new, state-of-the-art Avenir Collections Center. Your guides will be members of the DMNS scientific curatorial and collections team who will be ready to engage with you throughout your visit.

Tour Guides:  Rachel V. Murray, Interpretation and Evaluation Specialist, Denver Botanic Gardens; Curators from DMNS’ Research Collections

Support MPMA just by surfing the web

MPMA: A 10-State Regional Museum Association

Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming

7755 South 23rd Street | Lincoln, NE 68512
T: 402-904-6938   |

All content © 2016 Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA)

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software