The museum is located in the Golden Triangle Creative District, just south of Denver's Civic Center, in new 38,500-square-foot building, designed by Jim Olson of Seattle-based Olson Kundig.
The new location was designed to accommodate Vance Kirkland's three-room studio & art school building. Vance Kirkland (1904–1981) was among the most important Colorado and regional painters of the 20th century. He painted in the studio for most of his 55-year career. Constructed in a distinctive Arts & Crafts style in 1910–1911, it is Denver’s oldest commercial art building, and second-oldest in Colorado, after the 1908 Van Briggle Memorial Pottery building in Colorado Springs. In its new setting, the studio building is oriented in the same direction as in its former location at 13th and Pearl.
Kirkland Museum is an important repository for the work of Vance Kirkland, as well as the full breadth of Colorado's art history and some regional art. The collection contains over 7,000 works by more than 700 Colorado artists. The Colorado and regional art collection is concerned with a period from 1820 to about 1990 (traditional through modern), with an emphasis on the 1850s onwards.
In addition, the museum holds an extensive international decorative art collection, with objects dating from about 1875 to about 1990. On view are more than 3,500 works of Arts & Crafts, Aesthetic, Art Nouveau, Glasgow Style, Wiener Werkstätte, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Modern, Pop Art and Postmodern. More than 80 architects are represented.