Denver Museum of Nature & Science

RMCPC Service: Culture Change & Program Development
Size: 350-400 employees, 1700 volunteers
Budget: $38 million in Operating Revenues



DMNS wanted to empower their community. But they realized that they were not serving all perspectives--particularly in the Latino population and other communities of color. So they established the Community Collaboration Project to forge a new, more inclusive museum vision. But since the museum didn’t yet have a relationship with that particular community, they weren’t sure how to make that happen.


RMCPC applied Appreciative Inquiry process designed around three principles:
One Relationship at a Time - A perspectives mapping exercise helped DMNS partner with a core DMNS member group who had connections with the outside community. Together, they determined the right practices for authentic and intentional invitations and engagement.
Culturally Competent Questions - The core group designed and piloted test an appreciative inquiry survey, conducting interviews, leading small group conversations and organizing events.
Collaboration for the Vision: We facilitated a family-friendly community forum, including participant art exhibits, focused on creating a vision that’s culturally relevant and meaningful to all the communities DMNS serves.


After RMCPC’s work with DMNS, four important results emerged

  1. A renewed emphasis on the role that cultural stories should play in the museum exhibits and experience.
  2. The redefined DMNS vision statement: “DMNS collaborates with communities to support and create diverse and meaningful experiences around exploration of the natural world, both beyond and within the Museum’s walls.”
  3. Dynamic museum initiatives, including Colorado-crossing museum van, a new outdoor space and a first floor redesign.
  4. Greater internal capacity for inclusive planning, positive engagement, inquiry and visualization.
  5. Internal changes, such as a strength-based hiring process, a focus on shared leadership, efforts toward a magnetic work environment and an evolution of donor outreach.

Thanks to the People Powered Innovation Collaborative (PPIC) for creating these videos as part of their search for stories of Strengths-Based Innovation.

Working with the Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change our Museum was able to craft a successful culturally responsive community engagement strategy. Throughout the process they were our partners – flexible and understanding of our unique needs and working with us to craft a process that brought our communities – new and old – together, with an approach that was inviting, energizing, and left people with a sense of belonging and collective purpose.

George Sparks, CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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5037 S. Greenwood Ct.
Evergreen, CO 80439