Longmont Museum expands to meet community priorities

Image courtesy Longmont Museum.

It started in a room. Then it moved to a basement. A few years later, to a converted garage and a renovated warehouse. 

The Longmont Museum bounced around for nearly 60 years, from 1940 until 1999, until nearly 80% of city residents approved a $5 million bond to build a new museum. 

Now, more than 80 years since its humble beginnings, the museum is launching a new $8.1 million capital campaign to expand its footprint and reach as one of the premiere cultural institutions in Northern Colorado. 

Erik Mason, the museum’s director, says this growth exemplifies how Longmont supports the arts. 

“It just shows that as the community grows and is able to support more amenities, it really improves the quality of life for everyone in the region, being able to have access to great cultural amenities like an expanded Longmont Museum,” he says. 

The project has a laundry list of changes and additions, including expanding the primary gallery, renovating the outdoor courtyard and increasing office and support spaces — all outcomes Mason says are the product of engagement with community members about needs and priorities. 

One of the most notable themes from those conversations was a desire for a dedicated children’s space. In the expansion, a hands-on kids’ exhibition will replace the current 2,500-square-foot changing exhibit gallery and will feature numerous and rotating activities, according to Mason. 

The community also wanted to see more exhibitions. To meet that demand, the expanded primary gallery will be a third larger than it is now, giving curators flexibility to show up to three exhibits at a time.

While Mason says the style of art in the gallery won’t change, aside from possibly larger contemporary pieces, it lets the museum accommodate more exhibits. 

“Maybe we have an area that showcases our historic collection, then another area that is bringing in a traveling exhibition, and maybe a third one that is working with a local artist on what they’re doing,” says Mason. 

Before his role as director, Mason was the museum’s longtime curator of history. Not surprisingly, he’s excited about the growth of the core history exhibit, which is getting a new gallery.  

The campaign has raised 80% of its goal, according to its website. Construction of the museum’s office space started in May. The museum is anticipating the new courtyard to be open in 2024, and all construction completed in fall 2025. 

ON THE BILL: Campaign groundbreaking event. Friday, Sept. 15, 10-11 a.m. Longmont Museum,
400 Quail Road. Free


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