Neighborhood Non-profit: Park City Museum

PARK CITY, Utah — The Park City Museum is a non-profit organization established in 1981 as the Park City Historical Society. Located in the historic City Hall on Main Street, the museum aims to preserve, protect, and promote Park City’s history and heritage. The museum exhibits are professionally researched and assembled for visitors to interpret western history and Park City’s past. Throughout 40 years of business, the Park City Museum earned various awards and attention from national and international travel guides as a top Park City attraction.

Built in 1885 for $6,400, the old City Hall housed the Police, Fire Department, and Territorial Jail. When the 1898 Great Fire destroyed almost every building on Main Street, the Parkites immediately rebuilt City Hall. The reconstructed City Hall was expanded to add 6,000 square feet. The building is also included on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We preserve and protect Park City’s history and heritage by adhering to the highest of museum standards and safely storing and displaying thousands of items in our permanent collection, including objects and photographs, at our museum facility as well as at our off-site Education and Collections Center,” Morgan Pierce, the museum’s executive director, explained.

A trip to the Park City Museum is memorable and informative. “We try to select a variety of exciting exhibits that we believe to be of great interest to all Parkites and those who visit us,” Pierce said. “There truly are some show-stopper objects that we have on exhibit in our museum that helps create that WOW factor for our visitors.”

The museum houses numerous permanent exhibits, including a restored stagecoach that delivered Park City’s mail in the nineteenth century and a restored twentieth-century fire truck. Pierce describes one of the most popular exhibits. “My personal favorite is our two-story-tall Mega Mine exhibit which represents a 900’ cross-section of a real working mine – and it even comes to life!” He added, “I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention the original territorial jail in the museum’s basement.”

The museum hosts noteworthy traveling exhibits. It is home to the “Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844 – 2012” exhibit February 14 through April 30.

“The goal of this exhibit is to introduce and depict American political posters throughout history as art,” Pierce explains, “In the ‘Sign of the Times’ exhibit, you will learn not just about the changes in printing technology over the past 170 years but also see how effective the artists were in using the events of the day as campaign material in favor of, and in opposition to, certain political candidates.”

Political Poster – Courtesy of Hal Wert

Beyond artifacts, the museum preserves culture through educational opportunities, like The Hal Compton Research Library. “The Research Library’s materials include many Park City, Utah, and western history books, personal papers and oratories, maps, thousands of historical photographs,” Pierce explains, “Highlights include the historical images from local photographers Kendall Webb and Pop Jenks, and from Thomas F. Hansen’s rare and extensive collection.”

Park City Museum’s commitment to historical preservation continues to grow. For example, several years ago, the Park City Historical Society took over ownership and protection of the 1885 Historic Glenwood Cemetery.

“Another entity of the Park City Historical Society is the Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History who are actively fundraising to save and stabilize the historic mining structures that surround us on the slopes and hiking trails in Park City,” Pierce explains.

Pierce genuinely believes the Park City Museum is living its mission to preserve, protect, and promote Park City’s history and heritage. “I am certain any visit to the Park City Museum on Main Street will create a sense of wonder in awe in every visitor!” he exclaims.

For event and activity information, check out the event calendar.

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