Martin Building FAQs

The Martin Building project will expand the museum’s ability to serve the community, welcome guests to our city, and preserve and present priceless works of art from cultures around the world and throughout history for generations to come.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the Martin Building project.

The Renovation Project

An architectural gem in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, the museum’s North Building, renamed the Martin Building, is nearing its 50th birthday. The vision for renovating the iconic downtown structure is to unify the museum campus to serve audiences reflective of our shared community; to illuminate collections; to highlight the museum’s exemplary education programs, and to deliver excellent programs in contemporary spaces. Scheduled to reopen in phases starting in 2020 and fully reopening at the end of 2021, the completed project will include the addition of a new welcome center, expanded public gallery spaces, flexible event spaces, and significant outdoor improvements. Updates to the Martin Building in this project will include critical safety and operations systems, replacing aging infrastructure and equipment to enable continued public service for the next 50 years.

The completed Martin Building renovation will unify the museum campus to better serve a broad spectrum of audiences and community needs; to illuminate collections; to highlight the museum’s exemplary education programs, and to deliver excellent programs in contemporary spaces. The museum serves more than 700,000 visitors per year, half of them attending for free, including all visitors 18 and under who enjoy free general admission every day thanks to the DAM’s Free for Kids program. The improvements in the North Building project will enable the museum to better and more safely serve the community, including school groups and visitors with different abilities.

All campus public spaces will be open to the public by the end of 2021, with a phased reopening of spaces beginning June 6, 2020. During construction, visitors can explore exhibitions, hands-on activities and artworks from every collection seven days a week in the Hamilton Building, which will be open to the public for the duration of the project. Free Days and the Free for Kids program will continue through the project. 

Closing the entire building will enable the museum to work on multiple pieces of the project at a time, with the goal of completing the construction work needed in the shortest possible timeline.

In celebration of a $25 million lead gift from Denver Art Museum’s Board Chair, Lanny Martin and his wife, Sharon, the North Building is renamed the Martin Building upon reopening. For more information on the Martins’ lead gift, click here.

The project design was developed by the team of Fentress Architects of Denver and Machado Silvetti of Boston. Saunders is serving as our construction partner. Grundy Construction Management & Consulting serves as the Owner’s Representative for the project.

The Art

The Denver Art Museum has a robust program, and the Hamilton Building will be open to the public throughout construction. A selection of works from the museum’s collections will be on view. Special exhibitions include Treasures of British Art: The Berger CollectionThe Light Show and Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature. Visitors can also look forward to the Eyes On contemporary art series and Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom in 2020. Please visit the Denver Art Museum website for current exhibition and program information.

Yes, many pieces from all of our permanent collections will continue to be on view in various exhibitions in the Hamilton Building during the Martin Building project renovation, including The Light Show and Treasures of British Art: The Berger Collection.

Select objects from each of the museum’s collections are on view in the Hamilton Building during construction. Some pieces will be safely stored during this time, while some artworks will be accessible to the public via collaborations.

Outdoor artworks in the museum’s collection adjacent to the construction work were deinstalled and safely stored for the duration of the construction. The DAM’s curatorial staff is developing plans for the installation of outdoor works as the project moves forward.

Now that the hard-construction phase of this project is complete, museum staff will work on moving staff office spaces, installing galleries and moving collections back into galleries and storage. This work will take place gradually over the next several months. 

Updates and details

The unified campus will reopen in phases, with the first phase presenting the first three floors of the Martin Building and the new Sie Welcome Center to the public. Now that construction is completed, museum staff will work to turn these new spaces into an engaging, welcoming art museum.

The best way to get a first look–become a Denver Art Museum member! Museum members will be able to see reopened spaces before the official public opening moments. Visit www.denverartmuseum.org/membership for levels, pricing, and benefit information. 

Yes, the museum is collaborating with local creatives, artists and constituent groups to gather feedback on collection presentation and how to best share this information with our communities in metro Denver and beyond. If you have suggestions for individuals or organizations we should include, please contact us at info@denverartmuseum.org

The museum closed the north side of its campus in November 2017 to provide the most efficient construction process in terms of cost and time, while also reducing visitor inconvenience. For reopening, the museum will focus on re-installing artworks gallery by gallery. The phased reopening begins on June 6, 2020, and will culminate in the complete reopening of all spaces in the Martin Building by end of 2021.

The DAM will continue to keep members and the public up to date on key project milestones on the denverartmuseum.org/martin section of the website, as well as email newsletters, blog posts, and media stories for significant milestones.

The 2019-2020 exhibition calendar is one of the museum’s most exciting and dynamic yet, and museum members and the public now enjoy free general admission seven days a week. DAM currently is presenting Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature, the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings in more than two decades. Additionally, the museum will feature works by Norman Rockwell in May 2020 in the exhibition Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom.

Denver Art Museum members enjoy benefits all year long, from free general admission to guest passes and discounts in The Shop. And members always enjoy the best prices for ticketed exhibitions (including Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature). Additionally, DAM members will receive regular updates on construction progress and have priority access to program registration, including lectures with artists and more.

Free days and free access absolutely will continue. Providing free community access to our collections and programs is part of the Denver Art Museum’s goal for serving the public, and part of the driving force behind expanding our spaces to provide better service to groups, schools, and more.

Free admission for kids through the Free for Kids program will continue through the reopening of the Martin Building.

This project features a $3 million allocation from the 2007 Better Denver Bonds program to renovate the Bonfils-Stanton Gallery on Level 1 of the North Building. Thanks to the voters of Denver, the museum also received $35.5 million from the Our Denver General Obligation Bond. The museum is matching each public bond dollar with three privately raised dollars.  

The project is both on budget and on time. 

The architecture

The original Gio Ponti-designed building remains intact. The connecting corridor between the Martin Building towers and the south structure, called Silber Hall, has been partially rebuilt in order to connect to the new Sie Welcome Center, and support the build-out of the lower level, improving natural light.

The south structure, which housed the old restaurant and served as the entrance to the main building, was removed to make way for the Sie Welcome Center that will house The Ponti, a new full-service restaurant, Café Gio, a new quick-service café, an events space and a ticketing desk.

The Sie Welcome Center includes 50,000 square feet on three levels, unifying the campus. Upon opening, this significant addition will feature visitor-centric amenities including a restaurant, quick-service café and improved wayfinding, along with dynamic and flexible program spaces and a state-of-the-art event space. The new space also includes expanded art storage and a purpose-built conservation lab.

More than 33,000 square feet of new space will be added to the Denver Art Museum when the project is complete, including expanded gallery space on level 2 and 7 of the Martin Building.

Dining options & event rental

Event reservations for Martin Building and Sie Welcome Center spaces, including the Sturm Grand Pavilion, may be reserved starting Aug. 8, 2019, and spaces will be available for events that begin in mid-2020.

Yes, The Ponti will be the Denver Art Museum’s new restaurant, developed in collaboration with James Beard Award-winning Denver chef, Jennifer Jasinski. Additionally, Café Gio, focused on quick service coffee and food, will add a more casual dining option. Both dining options will open on June 6, 2020.

Yes, the Denver Art Museum Hamilton Building is available as a venue for events during construction. Please email eventinfo@denverartmuseum.org for details. 

The museum used an RFP process to select the best dining and restaurant partners to meet its visitor food-service goals.

There are several dining options in the Golden Triangle neighborhood – starting with the quick-service Callahan Café on the main level of the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building. Other locations include Mad Greens across the plaza, as well as neighborhood favorites Leven Deli, Cap City Tavern, Pint’s Pub, Dozens, Rendezvous Café at History Colorado, Burger Fi, Torchy’s Tacos, and Fire at The Art: A Hotel. In the warmer months, Civic Center Eats features dozens of food trucks in Civic Center Park.

If you have further questions not answered above, please email info@denverartmuseum.org.