Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Memories of a First DAM Visit in 1987

I am a native Denverite and have a few scattered memories of the Denver Art Museum from my childhood.  One of the earliest was from a visit with my mother when I was in the first grade in 1987. Only one thing has remained with me from that visit: the towering totem poles in the American Indian art's Northwest Coast gallery. Their size and intricacy is impressive to me still, but as a child they were gargantuan. I remember wondering how they were ever installed.

In 1990, I came with my grandmother and a family friend. What I remember from that visit is more of an incident than an artwork. There was a 17th-century textile on the Asian art floor, and I remember my grandmother reaching to touch it. Luckily there was a docent nearby. She reprimanded her, and I scolded her as well. 

Years later in 2001, I came with my brother to see European Masterpieces: Six Centuries of Paintings from the National Gallery of Victoria. I was struck by a John William Waterhouse painting called Ulysses and the Sirens. This had been several years before I read Homer, but I was familiar with the general plot of The Odyssey. In the painting, Ulysses was strapped to the mast of a boat as six falcon-women hover about him singing. This was the first Waterhouse piece I saw and he has subsequently become one of my favorite artists.  

Note: Do you or someone you know have memories of your first visit that you would like us to consider posting? Please e-mail info@denverartmuseum.org, and we will respond with details.

Image: The DAM's Northwest Coast art gallery on level two of the North Building features both historic and contemporary monumental totem poles.

Brad Evenson is the ticketing and database administrator in the membership and guest amenities department at the Denver Art Museum. Brad has been at the DAM since 2003, and one of his favorite artworks that has been on view here is the dancing Shiva in the Asian art gallery on level five of the North Building.