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Moab Museum Open by Appointment for Howard Balsley Special Exhibit by The Moab Museum Team

  Photo and corresponding envelope sent by Howard Balsley to his future wife Miss Jessie Trout, postmarked in Moab, Utah on October 31, 1911 and in Grand Junction, Colorado on November 2, 1911.  

On a snowy day in 1908, the 22-year-old Howard Balsley arrived in Thompson Springs by train from Indiana to visit his sister Nellie in Moab. After several days of visiting, he then traveled by stage coach to his final destination: Salt Lake City. But it didn’t take long for Moab to call Howard back. He liked the red rock country and its people, settled in, worked hard, then married Jessie Trout in 1912. Howard took a Civil Service exam for a Forest Service clerk position, but then aced a second exam to become a forest ranger for better pay. His test scores were the highest in District Four, which includes several states and sections of states. When Howard was elected Mayor of Moab in 1914, he learned that civil servants were not permitted to hold public office so he never served. But it was clear that he had a bright future in his adopted home.

Howard Balsley’s story is unique in that his investments in the community and contributions to the development of Moab have been thoroughly chronicled through thousands of documents and photos. He saved every piece of paper that came into his hands, and meticulously organized this evidence of Moab’s growth throughout the early to mid 20th century. Some of these treasures have been on display in the new Museum experience as its first temporary exhibit, Howard Balsley: A Life on Paper. Now for a limited time, the exhibit is open to small groups of visitors by appointment.

The staff and Board of the Moab Museum invite you to experience the final two weeks of this not to miss exhibit, Howard Balsley: A Life on Paper. Until mid-November you can see a piece of the fascinating story behind one of Moab’s most influential residents. We are currently accepting one-hour long appointments for family or friend groups of 10 and fewer, every hour on the hour through November 13th:
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.

To schedule your hour-long Museum visit, please call 435-355-0918 or send an email to at least 48 hours before you hope to come. Spaces are limited. If the appointment hours don’t fit your schedule, please contact us and we will be happy to work with you to find a suitable time for your to view the exhibit.

The Museum is honored to hold and display many items from Howard Balsley’s extensive collection, which include documents, correspondence, and ephemera. Howard Balsley’s daughter-in-law Lily Ann Balsley and grandson Tom Balsley have generously loaned many of Howard’s items to the Museum for display over the years. Sadly, Lily Ann passed away on October 10, 2020. The Museum offers deepest condolences to family and friends of Lily Ann, and hopes to honor her generosity by extending this invitation to our community to see the Howard Balsley exhibit during its final weeks.

Measures will be in place that comply with local COVID-19 regulations and precautions to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. Only one party at a time will be scheduled to visit the Museum for a maximum of one hour. Masks will be required, hand sanitizing stations will be available, and enhanced cleaning protocols will be in place.Moab Museum website

We deeply appreciate the community’s continued support during our extended closure, and are thrilled to welcome the community back to our Moab Museum to view this special temporary exhibit while it is still on display.

Moab Museum – Become a Member – 118 E. Center Street, Moab, UT 84532 – To reserve your spot for the Howard Balsley exhibit, call 435-355-0918 or email

For more info visit

Movie & Western Memorabilia Museum at Red Cliffs Lodge

Indiana Jones PosterRed Cliffs Lodge, on the banks of the mighty Colorado River, is home to the Moab Museum of Film & Western Heritage. The lodge is built on the old George White Ranch, a key location for nine of the big westerns including Rio Grande, Cheyenne Autumn, Ten Who Dared, The Commancheros, and Rio Conchos.

The late George White was founder of the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission, the longest ongoing film commission in the world.

In the museum one can learn more about film locations, how the sets are built, and how the filming process is managed on nature’s own sound stage. On display in the museum are production photographs, movie posters, autographed scripts, props from the many pictures filmed in the area, and displays about the western ranching heritage. For information, call Red Cliffs Lodge at 435-259-2002.

Rio Grande Through the magnificent landscapes of southeastern Utah, writers have been inspired and stories born here. Zane Grey, the famous western novelist, traveled through the area in 1912. His visit inspired him to write his book Riders of the Purple Sage. The book was made into a movie starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, and filmed on locations around Moab.

A partial list of stars that have made movies in Moab
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Henry Fonda, Lee Marvin,
Rock Hudson, Jimmy Stewart, Richard Boone, Anthony Quinn,
Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Crystal,
Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Bill Murray, Jack Palance, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Ted Danson, Tom Cruise, and many more.
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