Museum gets to work on new Education and Collections Center | ParkRecord.com

Museum gets to work on new Education and Collections Center

With the turn of a shovel, the next phase of the Park City Museum's award-winning 2009 expansion and renovation got underway Monday.

The construction of the nonprofit's new Education and Collections Center officially began with a ceremony that included speeches given by Utah's First Lady Jeanette Herbert, Park City Mayor Jack Thomas and Park City Museum Executive Director Sandra Morrison.

The two-story building, designed by REA Architecture in Salt Lake City, will be constructed on a 6,000-square-foot lot located at 2079 Sidewinder Dr. and will house not only the artifacts that aren't currently on display at the museum's Main Street home, but also provide a space for workshops and other history-centered activities.

"This facility will be the permanent home to the artifacts and historic relics that are so important to Park City's past, so generations can enjoy them and their significance forever," said Park City Museum Board of Trustees Noah Levine, during his opening statements. "We'll offer educational programs that will literally touch the lives of thousands of kids in the state of Utah."

According to Sandra Morrison, the Park City Museum's executive director, a world of opportunity has opened up to Park City with this building.

"We can imagine [students] putting on white gloves to read the Book of the Dead, that are all the names of the people who are buried in the Park City Cemetery, or touch the Silver Queen's beaded silk dresses," she said. "I'm looking right now at Brad Westwood, who is director of the Division of State History, and he and I have been talking about hosting workshops for museum professionals across the state. We can also open those same workshops to locals and second homeowners. And you, too, can learn what to do with grandma's wedding dress to preserve it."

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The new building will be progressive, Morrison promised.

"This center will be an example for other small museums in the Intermountain West," she said. "It will be a new model that they can replicate as well. It's a bright future for us, Park City's history and museums in the great state of Utah."

Utah's First Lady, Jeanette Herbert, wife of Governor Gary Herbert, also said a few words about the Park City Museum's educational programs.

"More than 3,500 school students from all around the state are engaged each year through field trips and class activities and curriculum," she said. "Creating this kind of environment is critical for children because children are naturally curious by nature. They learn by touching and feeling, and with [this facility] they can ask questions and explore the artifacts and learn to appreciate those.

"This new facility shows the museum's dedication in providing quality hands-on learning for students of all ages." she said.

Using state-of-the-art facilities to preserve history is important to Park City Mayor Jack Thomas, whose grandmother taught Park City students in a one-room school building more than 100 years ago.

"I believe that recording our history empowers our ability to measure the growth of our culture, track our evolution, understand who we are and what we stand for and to learn from our mistakes," Thomas said. "More of what Park City was like will be found here on this site in this building. There is much to learn from them as we move forward into what is always an uncertain future."

Construction on the Park City Museum's Education and Collections Center will be completed in about one year, and the total project will cost about $2 million, according to Morrison.

"We've raised three-quarters of the funds and are looking to do more fundraising," she said.