Museum hopes to collect a warm reception

(Tanzi Propst/Park Record) Park City Museum Executive Director Sandra Morrison cranks handle on the mobile storage shelves at the Park City Museum’s new Education and Collection Center. The center will open on Friday with an open house.
Tanzi Propst |

The wait is over.

After 16 months of construction, the Park City Museum’s Education and Collection Center, located at 2079 Sidewinder Drive, is complete, and executive director Sandra Morrison wants to party.

Morrison, along with the nonprofit’s board of directors, is inviting the public to the grand opening that will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17, at the new building.

The party will be catered by Fuego Restaurant, Morrison said during an interview with The Park Record.

“We’ll have a ribbon cutting and toast ourselves for all the hard work,” she said. “We’ll also thank the community for their support, because this facility was paid for in whole by private donations. We didn’t use city or county funding.”

The structure, which measures about 5,500 square feet, features a two-story, 3,000 square-foot collections space, a large classroom and a work area.

“We decided to keep the two stories open, which saved us from having to put in a second floor and installing an elevator,” Morrison said. “The idea behind the collections space is that we have one big room that we can keep at a fairly low temperature.” The building, which was built by Ramco Construction and owned by Parkite Joe Rametta, will be kept at a level 45 degrees, with 25 percent humidity.

“This is designed to prolong the preservation of our artifacts,” Morrison said. “You get an extra 10 years for every 10 degrees you go cooler.”

“One of the first things we did in the planning stages was bring in someone who works with the Smithsonian Institute,” she said. “He surveyed our entire collection and said 3,000 square feet would be enough to keep usset for at least 50 years.”

The museum’s current collection, which includes nearly 140 years of The Park Record, is stored on movable shelving units.

“We visited the Marriott Library at the University of Utah to see how they stored things,” Morrison said. “Their building is three stories tall, and they utilize robotics to file things away.” Morrison said the museum’s board also learned that the Utah State Archives were stored with the same type of system.

“They have basically a forklift that is controlled by a computer,” she said. “That would have tacked on another $3,000, so we decided not to do that just yet.”

As it stands now, the cost for the Park City Museum’s Education and Collection center is just under $2 million.

Some of that money went into a waterless fire suppression system.

“It uses a chemical called FM 200, which fights fires by bringing the temperature down,” Morrison said. “That way, the system doesn’t affect paper and photographs like water does.”

The museum’s collection includes more than 50,000 historic photographs, documents, journals and log books from Park City’s history.

“We have a box that is filled with the correspondence that was used to bring the U.S. Ski Team to Park City Mountain Resort to train and use some of the historic mining buildings,” Morrison said. “The ski team actually used Mid Mountain Lodge for a number of years.”

Other items in the collection include a number of historic business signs and paintings, as well as furniture and clothing.

“There is a lot of room for all the things we have,” Morrison said.

While the building’s main purpose is to store the museum’s artifacts, it will also be used for education.

“We have a 1,000 square foot classroom where we can hold workshops and lectures,” Morrison said. “We also have another smaller space set aside for conservation work and cleaning some of the new collections and donations that are brought to the museum.”

Morrison said the building allows the Park City Museum to stop renting storage units.

“We had been renting storage for the past five years, and at one point we were renting from six storage companies, and using board members’ garages,” she said. “This building allows us to keep our items in a secure and sustainable place so we can meet our mission to preserve Park City history for future generations.”

The Park City Museum will host an open house to celebrate the grand opening of its new Education and Collections Center from 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17, at 2079 Sidewinder Drive. The event is free with museum membership. For information, visit

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