Published: Sept. 20, 2019

CU Boulder's museums offer a number of events and exhibits to check out over the coming weeks, including a new look at history, a celebration of fossils, and art exhibits that will make you think differently about the world around you.

CU Museum of Natural History events

The Curious Case of Colorado Cannibal Alferd G. Packer

In the winter of 1874, mining prospector Alferd Packer and five companions attempted to cross the southern Rocky Mountains. Only Packer survived. Soon after, the bodies of the other men were discovered and a firestorm of controversy ensued. Packer told conflicting accounts of his companions’ deaths and the press went wild over talk of betrayal, murder and cannibalism. More than a century after his death, he is the subject of song, movies, a musical, and CU even memorializes him with The Alferd Packer Grill. 

Was Packer a cannibal? Was he a murderer? Join Dr. Erin Baxter on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 7–8:30 p.m. in the Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) auditorium for a 21st century look at the subject. The program will include a fresh analysis of historical information and a modern examination of archaeological data that may offer some new food for thought. The event is free, but seating is limited. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. 

National Fossil Day: What we like about trilobites!

Celebrate National Fossil Day with the CU Museum of Natural History! Stop by the north entrance of the museum on Wednesday, Oct. 16, to design your own trilobite cookie while learning amazing facts about these diverse creatures from really long ago. Explore real trilobite fossils, make a trilobite magnet and piece together a trilobite puzzle. Come by at lunchtime from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or for a late afternoon snack from 3 to 5 p.m.

Brain Break for CU Students: DIY Candle Holders

With Daylight Savings Time on the horizon, CU students are encouraged to stop by the BioLounge for a DIY workshop to make a Halloween lantern or tree-themed candle holder.

The workshop takes place Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to noon and is free; the project should take about 15 minutes to complete.

CU Art Museum exhibitions

The CU Art Museum plays host to several ongoing exhibits, including:

  • Art Elements: Materials, Motive and Meaning presents an in-depth look at materials and techniques used to create artworks. Inspired by the research of faculty and curators at CU, the exhibition is organized into four case studies that show how primary, material research leads to a deeper understanding of artistic traditions. The exhibit will be on view at the museum until Thursday, Dec. 21.
  • Body Language: Picturing People considers how the pose, the gesture and the body in motion are used by artists to convey meaning. Figural artworks from the CU Art Museum’s collection are brought into conversation across cultural geographies and historical eras. The exhibit will be on view at the museum through June 2020.
  • Its Honor is Hereby Pledged: Gina Adams brings together four installations in which Adams addresses the continued efforts of the United States government to both displace and assimilate indigenous peoples. The exhibit will be on view at the museum until Saturday, Nov. 2.

CU Boulder Heritage Center

The CU Boulder Heritage Center presents the history of the CU Boulder campus and its alumni. Located on the third floor of Old Main, the center is operated by the CU Boulder Alumni Association and is home to several ongoing exhibits.

Among those are "Hit the Bricks!", a display of nearly 1 million LEGO® bricks that take the shape of iconic campus features, such as Folsom Field, Fiske Planetarium, Macky Auditorium and Old Main. There are also plenty of Easter eggs hidden around the display; see if you can spot a few during your visit!

Also on display is "CU in Space", celebrating the university's history and involvement in space exploration, including the 20 system-wide alumni that have gone to space as astronauts.

"Here Comes Ralphie!" explores the history of CU's mascots, with a focus on the university's beloved Ralphie. Learn about where Ralphie came from and some of her extraordinary appearances through the years.

The center is open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and is closed on all university holidays.