You may notice some empty cases currently. We are performing some deep cleaning work and apologize for any inconvenience. Please enjoy the cabin and other items that are still on display!
At the “core” of the Arvada Center
Plan to visit the Arvada Historical Museum which is physically and literally at the core of the Arvada Center: physically in that it is located on the main level at the very middle of the Center complex; literally in that the museum has been at the heart of the Center since the larger institution’s inception.
The museum’s own history
It may surprise many to know that the museum was germinal to the Arvada Center’s founding. In 1972 a group of area citizens, headed by teacher, historian and author Lois Lindstrom Kennedy, established the Arvada Historical Society for the purpose of promoting and preserving local history. Soon the society needed a suitable facility to collect, maintain and display artifacts of historical significance to the community. Lindstrom Kennedy and the society’s bold advocacy led in 1974 to a city bond issue to build a museum and cultural center. The vote passed and construction began the following year. What came to be called the Arvada Center opened July 4, 1976. Still today, the museum continues its close association with the Arvada Historical Society.
Recent expansion, new features and exhibits
Twice the museum has expanded, first in 1992 and again in 2006. The second enlargement and remodeling provided a 750 square-foot multipurpose meeting and classroom and an 8000 square-foot secured, climate-controlled exhibit preparation and collections storage facility. The main display area, additionally enlarged by 750 square feet, was also refurbished with new carpeting, lighting systems, pedestal and casework, photo and text graphics.
Haines log house
The showpiece of the museum is the actual 144-year-old Haines log house, furnished much as it would have appeared when Asahel and Abigail Haines raised their six children in the exceedingly small quarters—without electricity, indoor plumbing, or most comforts taken for granted today. The humble pioneer dwelling was unoccupied and near collapse in 1978 when a team from the Arvada Historical Society carefully removed it, log by log, from its original site at the present-day location of Blunn reservoir in west Arvada. In 1981 it was restored inside the museum. Few local history museums have anything like it!
The Haines log house is itself a collection artifact, but the museum holds approximately 2500 additional catalogued items, including farm equipment, tools, business outfittings, furniture and household materials, decorative arts, clothing and personal effects, books, documents and photographs. (Owing mainly to fragility or unstable condition, not all artifacts are permanently on view.) The collection tells Arvada’s distinct heritage. No mere come-lately bedroom suburb to Denver, Arvada was platted as a town in 1870 amidst a thriving agricultural region and has a rich history all its own.
Donate historic items to the museum
The History Museum is not currently seeking any donations.
Tours and activities
The history museum and art galleries participate in the Arvada Center’s hugely successful Arts Day tour and activity program for school young people. In 2007 more than 6000 area youth encountered the museum with the assistance of the Center’s trained docents. Such visit supports the Colorado history curriculum in respective schools. To learn more about the Arts Day program and history museum tours, please call 720-898-7240.
Become a docent
If you like history, art and interacting with an appreciative public (especially school-age youth) you may enjoy being a docent, truly one of the most personally satisfying and rewarding volunteer services at the Arvada Center. For information call 720-898-7251.
Except for major holidays when the Arvada Center is closed, the museum is open Monday-Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 pm. On theater performance evenings the museum remains open till 7:30. Admission is always free.