By Jenette Purdy
A closer look at the Western Museums Association 2013 Annual Meeting host state…
Nestled in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, Park City is a mountain treasure located only 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake. Park City bustles with skiers and snowboarders from all over the world in the winter months, but summer and fall have made this mountain town a true year round destination. From beautiful hiking and biking trails to the Nationally Designated Historic Main Street, Park City is a place not to miss. And, did you know? Park City is still abuzz with the news of our recent status as Outside Magazine’s Best Active Town! Amidst the skiing, hiking, and biking, visitors find Park City’s cultural and historical sites equally impressive.
In 1868, silver was discovered in the area that would become Park City, which began the silver mining boom that would put Park City on the map. As most boomtowns know, however, the bust eventually follows. Park City luckily survived its darkest days with the development of the ski industry beginning in the 1960s. This transformation culminated in 2002 when Park City was the site of skiing and snowboarding events during the Winter Olympics. Today, our history is alive and the Olympic spirit has not diminished.
Local Park City organizations are excited to show off our town!
Your trip to Park City should start at the Utah Olympic Park. Built for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the Utah Olympic Park hosted bobsled, skeleton, luge, Nordic ski jumping, and Nordic combined events. It continues to serve a training center for Olympic and development level athletes and is a popular destination for tourists. Come see the impressive Nordic Ski Jumps (K10, K20, K40, K64, K90, K120 meter), 1,335-meter sliding track, freestyle aerials winter training and competition hill, the 750,000-gallon summer freestyle aerial training pool, and Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center.
The Utah Olympic Park is also home to the Alf Engen Ski Museum and Eccles 2002 Winter Olympic Games Museum. The Alf Engen Ski Museum includes state-of-the-art interactive and virtual exhibits where visitors can be in the epicenter of the past, present and future of winter sports in the Intermountain Region, including an Olympic downhill course. The museum's comprehensive educational component gives school children a skiing-based foundation to study subjects such as the water cycle, physics and Utah's colorful history.
Afterwards, your can explore Historic Main Street Park City. The Park City Museum invites you to experience its interactive exhibits that highlight Park City’s unique past. Come explore the 1885 Territorial Jail, see our two-story model mine, and discover Park City’s attempt at an underground ski “lift” in the Skier Subway. Park City Museum tour guides will offer historic walking tours of Main Street with time to explore the Park City Museum. Come discover the stories and history that built this town!
In 2009, The Park City Museum underwent a $9 million renovation and expansion to update exhibits and provide an interactive home to share Park City history. The Park City Museum has been an important part of Park City and the historic landscape of Main Street since 1984 when the Museum was established on Main Street. Today, the Park City Museum is approximately 12,000 square feet, which includes exhibit space, a Research Library, office space and collections prep area for the Park City historic collections.
Take time to stroll up and down Historic Main Street to discover the wonderful galleries, restaurants, and shops. Don’t forget to stop in at the Kimball Art Center where you can peruse art exhibits and see what they are planning for future expansion.
If you haven’t been to Park City (and even if you have!), you won’t want to miss touring this town! Enjoy a day in our beautiful mountain town while the conference gets off to a memorable start.
Jenette Purdy, Director of Education at the Park City Museum, has been at the Park City Museum for three years. She received her MA in Museum Studies from George Washington University in Washington, DC and her BA in History, Secondary Teaching Certificate, from Utah State University in Logan, Utah. She loves sharing Park City's dynamic history through educational programs, tours, and events.