The Moab Museum was just about to reopen its doors to the public following an extensive renovation of its building and exhibits when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
With the pandemic preventing the museum from opening its doors, the museum has gone where it can reach the public – online. The Moab Museum website now hosts digital versions of many physical exhibits as well as people profiles, oral histories and a photo archive. And now, it is hosting events online as well.
Prior to the pandemic, and while the renovation was still taking place, the museum held a series of educational presentations called Tuesdays at the Museum. The museum just unveiled a new line-up of presentations – now titled Tuesdays with the Museum – to be held online in the coming months. All events will be held on Zoom and simultaneously broadcast on Facebook Live, and recordings of the presentations will be available on the museum’s website. The events all begin at 6:30 and are open to the public at no charge.
The first Tuesdays with the Museum virtual event, a conversation with Museum intern researcher Kira Withrow and Moab Museum development director Christy Williams Dunton held on Aug. 18, dealt with Moab’s economic transition from the uranium bust to the tourism boom.
Dunton said that as museum staff moved the exhibit experience online, they noticed “a relative lack of material” about Moab during the economic bust in the late ’70s and ’80s.
“We found that kind of surprising,” Dunton said, adding that she herself lived in Moab during that time, and took pictures – but not so much the kind that could serve as a historical record of the era.
She said the museum is hoping to find more images from the time and invites the public to contribute. She said they are looking in particular for pictures that include things particular to the era, such as hairstyles and cars.
The next Tuesdays with the Museum event will be held on Sept. 15 and is titled “Canyon County on Strike: Coal Miners, Labor Unions, and Sexual Revolution in Southeast Utah.”
Christian Wright, the author of “Carbon County USA: Miners for Democracy in Utah and the West,” will lead a discussion about the history and legacy of labor in Utah.
On Sept. 22, the museum will present “Belonging and Theft: An Indigenous Conversation on Native Identity” with Diné author Jacqueline Keeler and Guy Eagle Gilleshammer, a Metis Elder and keeper of oral traditions. Keeler and Gilleshammer will open a dialogue on themes of belonging and theft as they pertain to Native identity.
“State of the Vote, Then & Now” is the theme on Oct. 6. The event will include a discussion of the history and contemporary reality of voting in southeast Utah with Carey Dabney of the League of Women Voters.
On Oct. 27, the museum will present a conversation between the writers Pam Houston and Amy Irvine about their book, “Air Mail: An Exchange Between Authors.” The book details the two authors’ correspondence during the pandemic and is due to be released this fall from Torrey House Press.
On Nov. 3, the museum will host an online screening of the film “My Canyonlands: The Adventurous Life of Kent Frost” by filmmaker Chris Simon. The museum said the film has “stunning footage and stories of Kent Frost’s incredible life as an adventurer and advocate for the canyonlands region of southeast Utah.” The event will also feature a discussion with Jeff Frost, Frost’s nephew.
On Nov. 17, the museum will screen “The Arch Flying Cowboy: Stories from Tim Martin,” which includes footage from Martin’s extraordinary aeronautical adventures around southeast Utah as well as a discussion with Martin himself.
The Moab Museum may be reached at 435-259-7985 or via its website, moabmuseum.org.