Street Address
Old Main Third Floor
Boulder, CO 80302
Mailing Address
Campus Box 459, U of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80302
phone: 303-492-6329
Monday - Friday10 AM - 4 PM
The CU Heritage Center, the history museum of the University of Colorado at Boulder, is operated by the CU-Boulder Alumni Association.
No Fee
Museum Type(s)
Kay Oltmans, Director
phone: 303-492-6329


Not long after its completion in April 1876, the University of Colorado's Main Building was described as "an imposing structure...Its head above a barren and wind-swept plain...A monument of patience, looking down upon the frontier village...Removed from any sidewalk by nearly a mile of mud." Known since the 1890's as "Old Main," the building housed the entire University for eight years, including President Sewall and his family, the janitor, the library and all the classrooms. It has withstood threats of nature and constant use by students for more than a century. Because Old Main served the University so long and well, and because it is CU's continuing link between its beginnings and its present, funds were raised to completely renovate and refurbish the building. The renovation project was completed in 1982 at a cost of $1.7 million. A major grant came from the Boettcher Foundation, which directed that the Heritage Center be created as part of the renovation. During the spring and summer of 1985, alumni volunteers and consultant Mary Ward Metzger collected and assembled the displays in the Heritage Center, which opened amidst ceremonies on September 21, 1985. The building renovation and creation of the CU Heritage Center ensure that Old Main will remain the "imposing structure" which has always been the focal point of the University of Colorado.


The purpose of the CU Heritage Center is to collect, preserve, and interpret material culture and documentary resources illustrative of the history of the University of Colorado. Such materials, information, and other means will be used for research, publications, exhibitions, education and to increase public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the human heritage of the University.