Published: July 29, 2019

Recognized for his work in Asian-American history and for his perspective

on diversity, human rights and community connection


William Wei - State of Colorado HistorianDENVER (July 25, 2019) – On Colorado Day, Aug. 1, Dr. William Wei, Ph.D., professor of history at the University of Colorado in Boulder, will begin his one-year position as the official State Historian and leader of History Colorado’s State Historian’s Council, succeeding noted historian and author Dr. Tom Noel. The five-person council rotates this leadership role every year on Colorado’s birthday, to create better representation and reach for the state, to amplify different perspectives, and to reinforce the collaborative foundation of history and storytelling.

History Colorado’s State Historian’s Council reaches across the state to aid in interpretation of the history of Colorado and the West, providing opportunities to expand the understanding of the historical perspectives, cultures and places of Colorado. Council members work with History Colorado to produce and share knowledge about Colorado and connect with more residents throughout the state. In keeping with the influential, forward-leaning practices of History Colorado — which is home to the nation’s largest state historical fund for preservation and operates the flagship History Colorado Center that was dubbed “the first great history museum of the 21st century” by Harold Closter of the Smithsonian — the council’s collaborative foundation represents one of America’s most innovative and inclusive approaches to historical leadership, at the state level.    

Before joining the State Historian’s Council during its inception in 2018, Dr. Wei was a former History Colorado board member, lead advisor on History Colorado Center’s Zoom In exhibition, and contributor to History Colorado’s Heritage Magazine. He also is editor-in-chief of the online Colorado Encyclopedia and has held various national and international fellowships. In addition, he is currently working on a book featuring the 100 objects from the Zoom In exhibition. According to Dr. Wei, “I believe it is my responsibility to go beyond the confines of higher education, to share Colorado’s story with people outside of academics.”

Dr. Wei is an expert on modern Chinese history and the senior Asian history specialist in his department. Early in his academic career, he developed a professional interest in Asian American history and is now recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Asian American history in Colorado. Dr. Wei’s latest book, Asians in Colorado: A History of Persecution and Perseverance in the Centennial State, was a finalist for the 2017 Colorado Authors’ League’s “Award for General Nonfiction.” 

“As State Historian, Dr. Wei will bring a fresh perspective to our shared history, helping us tell new stories and share new voices. He’s been an important part of History Colorado for many years, and with this new role, he will enhance the depth, history and interpretation of our collection – both inside and outside our museum walls,” said Jason Hanson, History Colorado’s Chief Creative Officer and Director of Interpretation and Research, who facilitates the State Historian’s Council. “The combination of Dr. Wei’s experience and commitment, along with the other State Historian’s Council members, will help present our state’s rich, complex history in ways that are relevant for Coloradans today.”

See related article in 'The Colorado Sun' and 'Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine'

About History Colorado

History Colorado is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and an agency of the State of Colorado, with a mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. The historical agency serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through statewide museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities. Visit or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.