Arts and Culture in Golden, CO
For all things mountaineering, look to the American Mountaineering Center in downtown Golden.
Located in the former Golden High School building, the 47,000-square-foot center is home to the Colorado Mountain Club, the American Alpine Club and several other mountaineering groups.
It is the nation’s premier facility for research, education and information about the mountain environment and a focal point for mountaineering-related issues in the United States.
“We think one of Colorado’s greatest treasures is its mountains, and the American Mountaineering Center celebrates that,” says Kristy Judd, executive director of the Colorado Mountain Club. “It is one of a kind in the country. It’s a national resource.”
One of the biggest attractions at the American Mountaineering Center is the world-renowned American Alpine Club Library, which has limited-edition and rare books dating back to the 16th century.
“It is the second-largest mountaineering library in the world,” Judd says. “It’s an amazing resource, and anyone in the public can come use the books. Grad students come to do research, and people come here to plan expeditions.”
The American Mountaineering Center also has a 3,000-square-foot conference center, which occasionally serves as a gallery for mountaineering-related photography and fine art exhibits; a 350-seat auditorium, which is used for films and lectures; and an indoor climbing wall.
Several of the clubs and groups housed in the center offer outreach and educational programs and classes. Climbing For Life, for example, is a group that uses climbing to teach at-risk youngsters about overcoming obstacles.
“We don’t have desks here – everything is interactive,” Judd says. “We work with a lot of school kids, as well as kids with special needs.”
The fairly new Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum highlights the history of mountaineering on a timeline and details issues like mountain preservation, safety, and search and rescue. There is also a reflections theater where visitors can record their own adventures.
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