Lectures and other activities highlight museum’s exhibit

(Tanzi Propst/Park Record) The local section of "The Way We Worked" exhibit that will be on display at the Park City Museum through Jan. 10, will include information about Park City occupations.
Tanzi Propst |

When the Park City Museum brings in a traveling exhibit, Education Director Diane Knispel offers additional programming that is open to the public to enhance the display.

When she found out the traveling Smithsonian Institute exhibit “The Way We Worked” would find a temporary home in Park City from Nov. 11 to Jan. 10, Knispel shifted into high gear to create meaningful experiences about the exhibit theme.

“We try to bring in lecturers who will discuss subjects that are tied in some way to what they see in the display,” Knispel told The Park Record. “So we’re doing a lecture series about work and labor.”

The first event is the exhibit’s grand opening ceremony, which was scheduled from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the museum, 528 Main St. Since it falls on Veterans Day, a local veteran was set to give a presentation.

“It’s been more than a year to get this exhibit and the programming done,” Knispel said. “We like doing things to bring in people who may not know about the exhibit and the museum.”

The first speaker the museum has scheduled is Matt Basso, director of graduate studies at the University of Utah’s Department of History.

He will give a lecture called ‘The History of Work in America — Where Park City and Utah Fit,” at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15. at the museum.

“We think this will be interesting because I think he’ll have a new spin on things as it pertains to Park City,” Knispel said. “He is a liaison between museums and the Department of the Humanities. We go to know him through various meetings and I pulled him aside and asked if he would be interested in speaking at the Museum.”

The next event will be a series of story times from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave.

“The library is in charge with the story times, but the topic will be about work,” Knispel said.

Katrina Kmak, the Park City Library’s youth services librarian, has scheduled members of the Park City Police Department and some EMTs to read at the event.

“I will also show some photos of workers from Park City’s past,” Knispel said. “Then I will also give out free museum passes to the adults, so they can bring their families to the exhibit.”

The Park City Library is one of the three partnerships the Park City Museum formed for the programming. The second is with the Park City Film Series, which will screen a Peter Bratt’s documentary “Dolores,” at 7 p.m. on

Thursday, Nov. 16, in the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium.

“Dolores,” not rated, is about Dolores Huerta, who was an equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez.

“The film was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and was very popular,” Knispel said. “Many people couldn’t see it because it sold out, so we’re bringing it back with the Park City Film Series.”

December is also peppered with labor-related presentations.

“The big one we have is on Dec. 2, when we’ll have the Utah Museum of Fine Arts come in to create clay pottery with the public,” Knispel said.

This is a free event that will run from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. in the museum’s upstairs conference room.

“Ceramics is one of the oldest art forms, and creating pottery is also one of the oldest occupations in the world,” Knispel said. “This will be a lot of fun, and we hope a lot of kids come in to do some pottery to take home.”

The next lecture will be mining engineer and retired mining consultant Donovan Symonds at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

“He moved to Park City in 1978 and has been a docent with the Park City Museum for the last nine years,” she said. “He will talk about the day in the life of a Park City miner who lived between 1870 to 1900.”

Symonds selected that time frame because he wanted to focus on the early days of mining.

The next event, a book discussion at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, is a partnership with Dolly’s Book Club at Dolly’s Bookstore, which is two doors up from the museum at 510 Main St.

“I have attend the book club as much as I can, and they suggested we do a partnership with a book about work,” Knispel said.

The book the club will discuss is Dave Isay’s “Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work.”

Isay, the founder of StoryCorps and the recipient of six Peabody awards, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and the 2015 TED Prize, is th author of four StoryCorps books: “Listening Is an Act of Love,” “Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps,” “All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps” and “Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps,” according to Knispel.

“We’ll join the club for the discussion, and I will also give out free museum passes,” she said.

Six days after the book club discussion, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, the museum will host Chris Merritt, an archaeologist from the Utah Division of State History, from 5-6 p.m. at the Park City Museum’s Education and Collection

Center located at 2079 Sidewinder Ave.

Merritt will speak about Chinese immigrants and address topics like why the Chinese workers immigrated to the West, and what they did and why they left.

“Chris has given this lecture before in Salt Lake City,” Knispel said. “I attended the lecture, which is fabulous, and learned so much.”

The final discussion of “The Way We Worked” programming will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, two days before the exhibit closes.

Richard Ellis, a Park City-based writer, will dig into the culture of local web commuters with a lecture titled “From Miners to Nomads: Work Culture in Park City through the Lens of a Ghostwriter.”

A ghostwriter is hired to author books, talks or blogs that are credited to another person, Knispel said.

“Richard will also take the audience through an interactive exercise that will show what he does for a living,” she said.

The programming for “The Way We Worked” was one of Knispel’s most ambitious projects, and she hopes the public will attend some of the sessions.

“We are very excited to do this, and we hope people will learn something from the lectures and programming,” she said.

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