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

An architectural gem in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, the museum’s North Building is nearing its 50th birthday. 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 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 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.

 

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 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.

Denver Art Museum’s North Building closed on November 19 to begin preparation for construction on the 50-year-old building. Closing the entire building enables work to take place in several spaces at once, reducing costs and enabling us to reopen to the public more quickly

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

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. 

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

 

Denver Art Museum members enjoy benefits all year long from free general admission, to guest passes and discounts in The Shop. Members always enjoy the best prices for ticketed exhibitions. Additionally, DAM members will receive regular updates on construction progress and have priority access to program registration, including lectures with artists and the North Building project architecture team.

In 2019, The Denver Art Museum will play host to another year of world-class exhibitions, including Dior: From Paris to the World and Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature, opening in October. This will be the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings in more than two decades. Plus, members' will continue to receive invitations to view exhibitions first, including Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze and Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, both free for members.

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

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.

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

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 art works in the museum’s collection adjacent to the North Building were deinstalled and safely stored for the duration the construction. The DAM’s curatorial staff will develop plans for the installation of outdoor works as the project moves forward.

THE ARCHITECTURE

The original Ponti building 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.

The south structure, which housed Palettes and serves as the current 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, an events space and a ticketing desk. 

The project design was developed by the team of Fentress Architects of Denver and Machado Silvetti of Boston. Saunders will serve as our construction partner. Saunders Construction is the project’s construction contractor, and project management services are being provided by Project One of Englewood, CO. 

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.

More than 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 level 2 and 7 of the building.

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

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, Leven Deli, 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.

Yes, 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.

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

FUNDING

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 the voters of Denver’s support of the Our Denver bond package, an additional $35.5 million in bond dollars will support key infrastructure needs, including new HVAC, insulation and plumbing as well as outdoor safety features for student and group visitors. 

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 Our Denver General Obligation Bond. The museum will match each public bond dollar with three privately raised dollars.

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