North Building FAQs

The North 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 North Building renovation project.

THE RENOVATION PROJECT

What is the North Building project?

An architectural gem in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, the museum’s North Building will be 50 years old in 2021. The vision for renovating the North Building 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. The project will include the addition of a new Welcome Center, expanded public gallery spaces, flexible event spaces, and significant outdoor improvements. Updates to the North 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.

How will the North Building project renovation serve the community and museum visitors?

The completed North Building renovation will 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. The museum serves more than 700,000 visitors per year, half of them attending free of charge, 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. 

Will the North Building remain closed during the renovation project?

Denver Art Museum’s North Building is closed for renovation. Closing the building enables construction work to take place in several spaces at once, reducing costs, and enabling the project to be completed more quickly.

Why did you decide to close the building all at once for renovation?

Closing the entire building will enable the museum to complete the construction work needed in the shortest-possible timeline.

When will the North Building reopen?

The goal is to complete work and completely reopen the North Building by its 50th anniversary in fall 2021, with plans for a phased reopening of some spaces before that date. 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 First Saturdays and the Free for Kids program will continue through the project. 

How and when will the public get updates on the project?

The DAM will continue to keep museum members and the public up to date on key project milestones online at denverartmuseum.org/north, as well as email newsletters, blog posts and media stories for major milestones.

How will the museum continue to serve its members during construction?

Denver Art Museum members enjoy free general admission seven days a week and significantly discounted tickets for special ticketed exhibitions. Members also receive free guest passes, discounts in The Shop and Callahan Café, discounted rates and early registration for programming, plus much more! The 2018/2019 exhibition calendar is filled with a dynamic line-up, including:

Stampede: Animals in Art (On view through May 19, 2019) Featuring objects from all of the museum’s collections!

Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker (September 16, 2018 – January 6, 2019)

Dior: From Paris to the World (November 18, 2018 – March 3, 2019)

Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze (February 2 – May 26, 2019)

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America (May 5 – August 25, 2019)

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature (October 20, 2019 – February 2, 2020)

Members have the opportunity to see these exhibitions first during the member-only preview events.

DAM members will receive regular updates on construction progress and have priority access to program registration including member-only tours of the north building construction and invitations to opening events.

If you have questions regarding how you can get involved in the construction, please contact our general contractor, Saunders Construction. All open RFPs for the project are posted below. If you have other general questions about the project, please email us at northproject@denverartmuseum.org.

THE ART

What can visitors see at Denver Art Museum during construction?

The Denver Art Museum has a robust program planned while the North Building is being renovated. The Hamilton Building will be open to the public seven days a week and many objects from the museum’s collections will be on view. Check out current exhibitions and upcoming exhibitions.

Will objects in the museum’s collections still be available to visitors, students and scholars?

Yes, many artworks from all of our collections will continue to be on view in various exhibitions in the Hamilton Building during the North Building project renovation, including Stampede: Animals in Art and Ganesha: The Playful Protector

Where will the art that was on view in the North Building go during construction?

Select objects from each of the museum’s collections will be 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.

What will happen to the museum’s outdoor works of art during construction?

Outdoor artworks in the museum’s collection that are adjacent to the North Building will be deinstalled and safely stored during the construction phase of the project. The DAM’s curatorial staff will develop plans for the installation of outdoor works as the project moves forward.

THE ARCHITECTURE

Will the original North Building structure, designed by Gio Ponti, stay whole? 

The original Ponti structure will remain intact. However, the connecting corridor between the North towers and the south structure, called Silber Hall, will be partially rebuilt in order to connect to the new Welcome Center, and support the build out of the lower level, improving natural light.

Will anything be removed from the current structure during the North Building project?

The south structure, which housed Palettes restaurant and served as the entrance to the North Building, will be removed to make way for a Welcome Center that will house a full-service restaurant, a quick-service café, a new art conservation lab, an events space and a ticketing desk. 

Who are your construction and architecture partners?

The North Building project design was developed by the team of Fentress Architects of Denver and Machado Silvetti of Boston. Saunders will serve as our construction partner.

What will the Welcome Center add to the museum?

The planned Welcome Center will include 50,000 square feet on three levels, helping unify the campus. This significant addition will feature visitor-centric amenities including a restaurant, quick-service café and improved way finding, along with dynamic and flexible program spaces and a state-of-the art event hall.

How much new public space will be added to the North Building after its renovation?

About 30,000 feet of new public space will be added to the Denver Art Museum when the project is complete, including expanded gallery space on levels 2 and 7.

KIDS ACTIVITIES & SCHOOL GROUP VISITS

What hands-on and kids activities are available in the Hamilton Building during construction?

Hands-on artmaking and other creative activities are available throughout the Hamilton Building.

The Studio, on level 1, currently focuses on printmaking. See live artist demonstrations in the studio every weekend. A Walk in the Woods, on level 3, invites visitors of all ages to explore animals in the museum’s collections and make animal art. 

Learn more about Kids & Family programs at the museum.

Will school tours still be available during construction?

School tours and youth group tours will continue uninterrupted throughout the project. Additionally, general admission is free for student groups and all guests age 18 and under thanks to the museum’s Free for Kids program. Exhibition tours, collection tours, and artmaking will continue to be a part of our onsite programs for school groups.

Advance reservations are required for school and youth group visits.

What school programs are available at schools and online?

The Denver Art Museum has programs available for scheduling on-site at regional schools. Family Art Socials bring a facilitated, collaborative art project for multi-generational families to create together as part of school family nights. Please contact lzamora@denverartmuseum.org for more information about this program.

Art Lives Here is a program co-created by the Denver Art Museum and local schools. An installation of unique museum objects lives in the school for about a month. Students, teachers and families can use the installation to bring curriculum to life and reinforce school values, spark intercultural dialogue and empathy, and build community through shared experience. Art Lives Here partner schools have been selected for the 2017-2018 school year. Please contact artliveshere@denverartmuseum.org for more information.

The Denver Art Museum’s online Creativity Resource is a robust online repository of resources for teachers (and parents!) of students from Early Childhood through grade 12. The database includes complete lesson plans created by teachers for teachers, which leverage objects in the museum’s collection for social studies, arts and creative writing projects directly responding to Colorado educational standards. Images, video and lesson plans are available online at any time free of charge.

Safety & Access

For safety purposes, the North Building and project site will not be accessible to the public during construction.

Drop off and loading for general drop off and school group visits is located on W. 12th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock streets in the middle of the block. Click here for the exact location on Google Maps.

 

A walkway on the east side of the North Building construction site that runs parallel to the downtown Denver Public Library is available for pedestrian use.

Three primary sidewalks surrounding the North Building are closed and will remain so until project completion. These sidewalks include E. 13th Avenue from Acoma Plaza to Byers-Evans House Museum, W. 14th Avenue from Bannock Street to Acoma Plaza and on Bannock Street from Byers-Evans House Museum to W. 14th Avenue.

Please note that access to the Byers-Evans House Museum is still open. The main entrance is on the north side of 13th Avenue.

People using bike lanes around the North Building project must merge with traffic on Bannock heading north and on W. 14th Avenue heading east. There is signage in place that indicate these lane shifts. This will be in effect for the entire duration of the renovation.

Access or project safety questions should be directed to info@denverartmuseum.org.

DINING OPTIONS & EVENT RENTAL

What are some dining options in the neighborhood?

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 Cap City Tavern, Pint’s Pub, Dozens, Rendezvous Café at History Colorado, BurgerFi, 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.

In preparation for renovation, Palettes restaurant served its last meal on September 10, 2017 after 20 years of incredible service.

Will Palettes restaurant return following the North Building project? Will there be a restaurant?

There will be a new restaurant space inside the building, as well as a quick-service café. The Welcome Center vendor will be announced as the project progresses.

Can people still book events (e.g., weddings, luncheons, lectures) at DAM during this project?

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

FUNDING

How far along is the museum in raising funds for the North Building project?

The museum has been privately raising funds for this project for several years, and two transformational gifts were announced in late 2016 and early 2017 in support of this project. The museum has privately raised more than $110 million in support of the North Building project. Thanks to Denver voters’ support of the Elevate Denver Bond package, an additional $35.5 million in bond dollars will support key infrastructure needs, including new HVAC, insulation, plumbing, and outdoor safety features for student and group visitors. 

How much public money will be used for this project?

The North Building 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 will receive $35.5 million from the Elevate Denver General Obligation Bond. The museum will match each public bond dollar with three privately raised dollars.

Why did the DAM apply for bond funds?

The Denver Art Museum’s North Building is nearly 50 years old and requires significant investment in its infrastructure in order to extend the life of the architectural icon and maintain an environment that meets 21st-century standards for guest safety and the care and presentation of art. 

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