Vocation at History Colorado

by Joanna Meyer

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a museum? Since its debut in 2012, History Colorado, formerly the Colorado Historical Society, has wowed visitors. It’s engaging exhibits attract crowds, but walk through the soaring atrium and down the back stairs, and you’ll discover the historical society’s heart beating amidst the sawdust and laser cutters in the museum workshop.

Industrial designer Ginni Baker spends her days creating exhibits in History Colorado’s basement. Whether she’s organizing information for a display, imagining ways for children to interact with an exhibit, or constructing replicas of Colorado’s historic sites, she uses her artistic gifts to tell Colorado’s story and what it means for life today.

Recently, Ginni attended the Denver Institute’s Eugene Peterson event and shared how the evening’s videos and discussion shaped her work at the museum.

Eugene Peterson claimed that any job has the potential to become a vocation. How do you see your work at History Colorado as an expression of God’s purpose for you?

“I liked how Peterson explained that your work is an assignment.  People often ask me if I have my dream job and I never know what to say because I don’t really feel that a dream job exists. I don’t think it’s possible to find a job where you don’t feel like you are working at all. Work is called work for a reason. Sometimes it’s hard. But, if you believe that your work is an assignment from God, then it puts it into perspective – even when work is hard.”

How does your faith inform the work you do at History Colorado?

“In my job as an exhibit designer I help people learn about the history of our state and how they might fit into the story. On a very basic level, I make sure people have fun, stay safe, and learn something when they visit our museum. But on deeper levels, I also hope that when people visit, our exhibits get them to think about difficult aspects of our state’s history and how they might create a better Colorado.  We really take to heart our mission to ‘Inspire generations to find wonder and meaning in our past and to engage in creating a better Colorado.’

We try to tell stories of the great and fun things in our state (ex. ski jumping in Steamboat, concerts at Red Rocks) as well as remind people of the bad times and mistakes we’ve made (ex. Amache internment camp, the dust bowl). While I don’t develop content, it’s my job to make that information accessible to all of our visitors. My job is to create a better Colorado and join in the work of Christ in renewing both Colorado and the world.” 

If you haven’t visited History Colorado yet, what’s stopping you? And, while you’re there, thank Ginni Baker for the work she does to bring the state’s story—and God’s story—to life in its exhibits.

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Joanna Meyer

Joanna serves as Denver Institute’s Director of Public Engagement and oversees the Women & Vocation Initiative. Prior to coming to the Institute, Joanna worked in global telecom, nonprofit consulting, and campus ministry with Cru. She served as associate faculty at Denver Seminary and as a sewing instructor at Fancy Tiger Crafts. A third-generation Coloradan, Joanna appreciates both the state’s innovative culture and its cowboy roots. She has an MA in Social Entrepreneurship from Bakke Graduate University and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado, Boulder.