History Colorado names new state historian

William Wei is one of state’s top experts in Asian-American history

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William Wei, Ph.D., has taken over for Dr. Tom Noel as the state historian.

History Colorado made the announcement in mid-July, and Wei assumed the position on Aug. 1, Colorado Day, according to a news release from the museum.

“We are all grateful for Dr. Noel’s accomplishments and his service as state historian this past term,” said Jason Hanson, History Colorado’s Chief Creative Officer and Director of Interpretation and Research. “Throughout his 50 years of working with History Colorado, Dr. Noel has done so much to bring us all together for greater collaboration and deeper understanding about our history and culture.”

The position rotates annually “to create better representation and reach for the state, to amplify different perspectives, and to reinforce the collaborative foundation of history and storytelling” as part of a five-person council, the release said. Last year the council helped put on more than 60 talks, lectures, events and programs.

Wei is a professor of history at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He joined the State Historian’s Council in 2018 when it first launched. Before that, he was a board member of History Colorado. He is recognized as one of Colorado’s foremost experts in Asian-American history.

The council works across the state and in the West to expand knowledge of the area’s history, perspectives and culture. Councilmembers come from different education institutions around the state, and is facilitated by History Colorado.

“I want to encourage council members to engage in more ‘applied history,’ translating their knowledge of the state’s history and culture into a form that everyday Coloradans can understand,” Wei said of his new role in the news release.

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