Moab Happenings Archive
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Historical HAPPENINGS - March 2020

Moab Museum Countdown to Opening Day
by Linn DeNesti, Communications and Events, Moab Museum
Karla Hancock, Visitor Services, at the front deskThe countdown to the Museum’s official opening on April 1st is underway! During the late February, several “preview” events were held for invited groups culminating with a Community Preview event on February 29th. The Museum’s Board, Interim Director, and Staff all participated in order to answer questions, take valuable feedback, and to conduct tours of the re-imagined facility.

Prior to the week’s preview events, the Museum staff was given an informal “guided tour” of the exhibit space. Not only was the tour essential to staff roles in the Museum, it helped to ignite a higher level of excitement about the new Museum experience and what it will provide for the community. We were all given an interpretive guide as a road map for helping visitors navigate the space and its contents. The guide outlines in detail each object in the exhibit, all of which have been carefully chosen for their storytelling value. I have a much deeper appreciation Moab Museum Staff from left to right: Linda Breitenbach, Natalie Dickerson, Karla Hancock, Victoria Fugit, Megan Lyle, Forrest Rodgers, Mary Langworthy, Rory Gallagher, Tara Beresh. Photos by Linn DeNesti, Communications and Events.for the level of tireless sleuthing, planning, and decision-making that was necessary to organize and curate the new Moab Museum experience. Also evident is the great care taken to display and preserve objects to the highest museum standards so that they can be enjoyed for years to come. The exhibit tells the stories of Moab and the Colorado Plateau in a more in-depth way than ever before.

When you step into the Museum on Opening Day, you may wonder where all the “stuff” went. Many of the objects in the old Museum were actually props that were purchased to make the displays. Some items in the old displays came from unknown origins and, because of that, they aren’t included in the new exhibit. Also, the Museum’s object collection is actually quite small, but what we do have will be displayed with more prominence and with the stories of people that go along with them. Some familiar objects from the past may not be included because of their desperate need for restoration. Fortunately, the Museum now has the expertise and resources necessary for preservation of these significant items.

The two main “storylines” include People and Land, but each drills down through specific points in time and groups of people, each interwoven with the other. The changes of the land over time, from 1.7 billion years ago to today’s geologic wonders, are also integrated into the exhibit by showing how people have changed the land for their use over the last few centuries. Overall, the storytelling is compelling.

The new Moab Museum is a bright and inviting community treasure that is filled with truly fascinating stories of people, past and present, illustrated by well-curated objects and imagery that paint colorful portraits of the region. The Museum will always be a “work in progress” as it will continue to evolve and grow as more stories and objects become available. I am excited to take in the full exhibit experience on opening day.

Information on all events, activities, and exhibits are on our website and Facebook page!
John Wesley Powell River History Museum
The Green River Rock & Mineral Festival | March 27-29

Paleontologist H. Greg McDonald, PhD. leads his annual field trip to Fossil Point near Green River, Utah, 2017. 
Photo credit: Ryan Baxter (Epicenter)Spend the weekend in scenic Green River, Utah, for the fourth annual Green River Rock & Mineral Festival! Hosted on the grounds of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum from March 27 - 29, 2020, the festival is free and open to the public, and will feature expert-led natural history field trips, rock and mineral vendors, and fun for the whole family. Visit for the most up-to-date schedule of events, including field trip details.

Festivities begin Friday night (Mar 27) in Green River with a lecture by Tim Riley, curator of archaeology from Utah State University Eastern’s Prehistoric Museum. Vendors, artisans, and family friendly activities will be set up on the museum grounds on Saturday (9am-4pm). Field trips will run on Saturday and Sunday (not Friday). Regional experts lead field trips to rockhounding sites, local rock art panels, and more. All field trips require signing up at the museum. Sign ups begin at the Friday night lecture. All field trips depart from the museum.
Photo credit: Ryan Baxter (Epicenter)
Vendor applications are open and encouraged. Applying is free and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Visit for vendor information.

The festival is also seeking additional sponsors. Email for details.

The Green River Rock & Mineral Festival brings awareness to and fosters appreciation of rural places, wilderness, unique sites, and overlooked histories. Specifically, the festival seeks to highlight the area around Green River, Utah, and the overlooked stories of this remote place, its people, and cultures; and nearby significant geological, paleontological, and archaeological sites. The weekend long festival, which brings 300-350 people to Green River, is hosted by the City of Green River with support from Epicenter.

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