Saturday, October 3, 2015

Museum of Moab, 9/24/2015

Always interested in the local town history of the places we visit, we decided to check out the small museum location in Moab. It is located a couple blocks from Main Street on Center Street. 

Established in 1958, the museum collects and displays artifacts of the natural and cultural history of the Moab area. Their are exhibits of the following:
  • Early Inhabitants
  • Pioneer History
  • Mining
  • Geology 
  • Paleontology
Early Inhabitants: Humans have occupied the Moab region continuously for the last 12,000 years. Shown below are weapons of the Archaic People; Ute artifacts of the 19th century, and ceramic vessels made by Ancestral Puebloans. 

Pioneer History: The first settlers arrived in the mid-1870s. Travelers came to Moab along the Old Spanish Trail that had been used for decades. Many came for mining opportunities but turned to agricultural and ranching when there was limited success in mining. Mormans were some of the first settlers in Utah. 

The Pickering upright piano shown above was the first one to be brought to Moab (1989). It was brought by wagon for the last 40 miles and ferried across the Colorado. The one shown below is a player piano that still works. John was making music (by pumping the pedals with his feet!)

Dr. J. Williams was the first doctor in Moab (answering an ad for the job with pay of $150 annually). Also shown is an incubator built by Dr. Allen for the first hospital.

Moab was a haven for many outlaws because of its remote location. As long as they behaved, they were tolerated by local lawmen. The photos below show: Sheriff (1929-1951) John Skewer's Smith & Wesson; outlaw Harvey Logan (aka Kid Curry) and the local madame, Annie Rogers, who ran a successful house of ill repute despite the fact that it was strictly illegal; and 3rd from the left is a prisoner charged with polygamy in 1888 as it was illegal according the U.S. law. By 1890, the Church of Latter-Day Saints denounced polygamy although it is still practice by some today.

Mining: The invention of the Geigor Counter (1928) provided a simple and reliable way to detect radiation in the field. It was mined on a small scale in the first part of the 20th century, but there was a boom in the 1950s when high grade uranium was found near Moab bringing about a time of prosperity and growth. The incident at Three Mile Island in the 1970s, diminished the demand. 

Radioactive water was thought to cure many ills. Vessels such as the one shown below were to be filled and drunk each day. An annual festival, Uranium Days, was held annually during the boom from 1950s to the 1980s. 

Geology:  A 55 square foot, 3-dimensional topographical map of the region was created by John Urbanak using balsa wood. He began the project in 1985 when he retired from Arches National Park  completed the map in 2005. 

The National Park Service supports the public viewing of artifacts discovered on the grounds of our public lands in the area.

Hollywood's famed director, John Ford, came to Moab looking for new vistas to use in his films. He, and then others, filmed many movies about the west in the area.

Minerals:  Rocks and minerals of all kinds can be found in the Moab area. Below is amethyst, limestone calcite, and petrified wood (agate exterior and quartz core).

Paleontology: The Virginia Fossey Room contains displays of climate conditions and geography here during the time of dinosaurs. 

Also found in the room are Sauropod dinosaur eggs; the tail of a Camarasaurus, a 50-foot long plant-eater; and track imprints of dinosaurs.

A full-cast skeleton of Gastonia Burgei (member of Ankylosaur family), an armored dinosaur that lived in the area is on display as well as an array of mammoth teeth.

From August 24 to October 31, 2015, landscape paintings by George Callison, a fine art painter from Salt Lake City, are on display on the second floor.

Admission was $5/adult. We enjoyed our quick tour of this small museum when we took a break from hiking and sightseeing in the National and State parks. For additional information, please see their website.


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