DOD Archival Tour: Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

August 30 through October 17, 2021

Doors Open Denver Archival Tour: Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

Tour guides: Jim Bershof, FAIA, Principal, OZ Architecture and Charleszine “Terry” Nelson, MLS, Senior Special Collections and Community Resources Manager, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

About the tour: This tour will cover the building exterior along Welton Street, the building’s location in the City and how the location influenced the building design. Inside, each floor level will be visited: the first floor which contains the branch library; the second floor which houses the research library – one of only a handful of its kind in the country; and the top floor, which includes a small museum that celebrates the history of African Americans in the West.

About the building: The 40,000 square-foot Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, the 20th branch of the Denver Public Library system, was the design of Denver’s OZ Architecture and Harold Massop Associates Architects. Its design is modeled after Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel in Florence, Italy. The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library has three spacious levels, each with its own unique purpose. Level One, a full service Branch Library; Level Two, Collection Archives and Research – personal and professional papers, artifacts, photos and scrapbooks, all original, of great African-Americans who shaped the West; Level Three, Exhibits – The Earliest Arrivals, Early Black West, Five Points and Welton Street, African-American Leadership Gallery and the Mayor’s Campaign Trail – all located in the Charles and Dorothy Cousins Changing Gallery. This building features brick veneer construction and two large bas relief and bronze sculptures on the front façade along Welton Street.

About the tour guides: Jim Bershof is a Denver native, has Bachelor and Master’s Degrees from the University of Michigan, is a long-time Principal of OZ Architecture and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Jim resides in the Montclair neighborhood of east Denver. He is married and is a father to two sons and a grandfather to one grandson.

With over 30 years’ library experience, Terry Nelson has been a bookmobile librarian, manager of the library film center, a reference and humanities librarian and was the manager of Volunteer Services for the Denver Public Library. Nelson is the co-author (with Bonnie F. McCune) of Recruiting and Managing Volunteers in Libraries, which has become a valuable manual for managers of volunteer programs throughout the nation. Nelson is a Denver native and attended Manual High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master’s degree in Information Technology and Library Science from Emporia State University.

Video run time: 32 minutes

VERY IMPORTANT, READ IN FULL: This is an archived virtual tour, this is not a live virtual tour. Upon registering for this tour, the video will be available through the online event page on Eventbrite.

You will have access to the online event page to view the archival tour between the time of registration and Sunday, October 17.

You can access the online event page from:

  • The confirmation email you receive after registering. Click on “View the event.”
  • The event listing on Eventbrite (after registering). Click on “Access the event.”

NOTE: You must be logged in with the Eventbrite account you used to register to view the online event page and video.