Speak Your Piece: a podcast about Utah's history

Season 2, Ep. 11, Utah’s Small Museum Landscape

February 06, 2021 Brad Westwood, Senior Public Historian, Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts Season 2 Episode 11
Speak Your Piece: a podcast about Utah's history
Season 2, Ep. 11, Utah’s Small Museum Landscape
Show Notes

The guests in this Speak Your Piece episode live and work in three dispersed regions of Utah: LeeAnn Denzer in east central Utah (Ashley Valley), Diana Call in the southwest corner (Little Valley) and Jami Van Huss in northeast Utah (Cache Valley). What they have in common is a deep interest in their audiences (you and me), a professional commitment to museum studies, and a love for their subject areas—two in local history and one in paleontology (study of fossils including dinosaurs fossels). In geography and in subject matter, these museum professionals stand as examples of Utah’s very diverse network of small museums.

The episode's guest represent the Uintah County Heritage Museum (LeeAnn), the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site (Diana) and the Hyrum City Museum (Jami). Jami Van Huss, the director of the Hyrum City Museum, served as co-producer of this episode.

This podcast is an insider view of Utah's small museums. The discussion revolves around the professional work, the responsibilites and standards museums are to follow. We also discussed Utah's remarkable statewide organizations that support museums, and how Utah's small museums have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Altogether our guests today, and everyone mentioned in this episode,  are reimagining, reconsidering and challenging themselves, so your next small museum experience will be both interesting and rewarding.

To see the complete show notes go to the Speak Your Piece website.

Utah has hundreds of small museums, waiting for you to experience, in person and on-line; in nearly every different stripe and type, including local history, house museums, historical villages, regional art and crafts collections, natural history and science, archeology both pre-historical and historical, military history, Native American, paleontology and more.

In some of these small museums you can experience all of these subjects, all in one place. It is as if you are walking through a life-size curio cabinet, where diverse and notable objects have been gathered, in some cases over centuries, by past Utahns who thought such stories and objects, worthy of your contemporary study.

The world of museum studies, or the discipline of managing, storing, describing, presenting educational materials and interpreting stories and objects (from a tiny fossilized bones to a regional cultural landscapes) is now in a whirlwind of change. Those who work in Utah’s small museums have to “hold on to their hats” so to speak, as they strive to meet the best in professional practices, and address a handful of interpretive, ethical, cultural and legal challenges.

Utah's Small Museum Supporting Organizations:  Utah Museum Association, Utah Office of Museum Services (with the Utah Division of Arts & Museums), and Center for Community Heritage.

List of Utah’s Small to Medium Size Museums:
Utah Educational Network list (some are not so small), Museums and Heritage Areas, Parks & Recreation, Utah Department of Natural Resources,  and  Wikipedia - list of Utah museums</