Building Connections with the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center

College of Liberal Arts




(Denver, Weld)

Primary Topic:

Youth and Family Development

Other Topics:

Economic and Community Development

Lead Mentor:  

Leisl Carr Childers

Associate Professor

Internship Overview:

The Black American West Museum & Heritage Center (BAWM), located at 3091 California St. in Denver, is a cornerstone of the African American story in Colorado. Located in the historic Five Points neighborhood in Denver, the museum serves as the hub for Black American history and culture in Denver County and is the epicenter of Black urban history in the state. Its partner group, the Dearfield Dream Project (, has historic and organizational connections to the BAWM. Dearfield is the epicenter of Black agrarian history in the state. Prior 2019, the BAWM developed a relationship with Extension in Denver, however the global pandemic curbed those activities. In order to revive this relationship, this Extension internship will serve to bridge between the museum, the Dearfield project, and the Extension office in Denver. Both the museum and the Dearfield project share personnel and interpretive planning, much of which could be useful to youth programming in the Denver office. Reconnecting these historic urban and agrarian sites and cultural resources to Extension’s most urban office and is crucial to integrating the cornerstone stories of Black Americans on the Front Range to the next generation of community leaders.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

This potential project would A) provide the intern with opportunities to refine existing knowledge of African American history in the American West, Colorado, and along the Front Range; B) hone their archival and historical research, interpretation, and writing skills; and C) provide the intern with opportunities to build upon their public history and public communication skills through the development of educational programming. During the course of this internship, the intern will: 1) work with the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center and the Dearfield Dream Project to research the physical and cultural connections between the BAWM and Dearfield; 2) work with Denver County Extension to determine opportunities for youth programming and engagement; 3) conduct graduate-level archival historical research and engage the appropriate secondary historical literature to document the connection between the BAWM and Dearfield; 4) make site visits to properties and attend organization meetings as needed; and 5) produce a small educational element determined by the Denver County Extension office to substantiate the new relationship. Travel is expected to and from Denver and Greeley on an as-needed basis for research and meetings. Travel outside CSU will be covered by funds provided by the faculty member.

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

The CSU Extension intern will work with the Denver County Extension youth coordinator and the board of directors for the American West Museum & Heritage Center and the Dearfield Dream Project.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

At the end of the internship, the intern will be able to 1) collaborate with local historians and history institutions to identify and produce needed historical interpretations and educational programming; 2) contribute to the sustainability of the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center and the Dearfield Dream Project; and 3) contribute to the diverse educational youth programming of Denver County Extension.
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