Take a tour of Park City’s agriculture history from the comforts of home
The Park City Museum is currently leading a tour of the area’s agriculture history.
All people need to do to embark upon the tour is visit the museum’s website or visit its YouTube channel, said Sandra Morrison, Park City Museum executive director
The lecture, part of the museum’s “History Speaks” series, will be accessible through May 31, although Morrison said she may keep it up longer.
“It has had 60-plus views so far, which is great,” she said. “It reinforces that people love our lectures and are interested in Park City history.”
Morrison considers local agriculture an “odd” topic, because most of the area’s history focuses on mining and skiing.
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“I wanted to focus on a lot of what is still visible today, and it talks about the larger barns in the area, including the McPolin barn, which is basically our city’s icon, and the Kimball Stage stop near Kimball Junction,” she said.
Morrison also touches on other structures such as the Wallin Barn on the Swaner Preserve and the Sorensen chicken farm that is located near Old Ranch Road.
“The lecture covers the different struggles and successes these people had during the different periods of our history,” she said. “I go back to the earliest pioneers such as the Kimballs and then move into the Sorensens, who came to Park City in the 1930s.”
The Sorensens sold chickens to Harmon’s Cafe, the First Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise restaurant, which opened in Salt Lake City in 1952, Morrison said.
The lecture is presented as a slide show with historic photos and a voiceover by Morrison.
“It’s actually an update of a lecture I put together with the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter a number of years ago,” she said. “I did a little more research and added more images and got it up online last weekend.”
The museum made the decision to post “History Speaks” lectures online because of the COVID-19 self-isolation mandate that was handed down by the Summit County Health Department in March.
Usually the lectures, which are held twice a month, take place in the museum’s Education and Collections Center, 2079 Sidewinder Drive, and can accommodate up to 100 people.
“When we closed, we had a couple of lectures that we had to cancel, because we didn’t have the expertise to put them online,” Morrison said. “So we decided to go through our previous lectures and put them up on YouTube so people could log in at their leisure to watch and hear them.”
Morrison plans to post other historical lectures online in a few weeks.
“I’ve talked with other presenters who have given presentations in the past, and they are updating them to the same format that I did so we can put them up sometime in the future,” she said. “We also have one presenter who is interested in doing a Zoom presentation, but we haven’t set a date, yet.”
The Agriculture in Park City lecture isn’t the only thing the museum has made available online, Morrison said.
“One of the bigger projects that we’ve undertaken over the past decade is getting all the Park Record newspaper issues up,” she said. “The public can access digitized papers from 1880, when it first began printing, up to the end of 2018. Since we digitize each year, and put them up at once, we will get the 2019 papers online later this year. And next year, we’ll put up the 2020 issues.”
The museum also posts a full archive of “Way We Were,” a weekly feature in the Park Record that covers Park City history, online, Morrison said.
“We also have archives of The Park Record’s competition, The Newspaper, which started publishing in 1976 and merged with The Park Record in 1983,” she said. “Staff has been busy uploading these since we opened up a new website last fall.”
The website also links to other historic documents — marriage licenses, death certificates and property information, Morrison said.
In addition to accessing written word and historic documents, museum patrons can find historic photos and videos online, Morrison said.
“We’ve been working more recently on digitizing our historic photographs, so people can order them through our website,” she said. “And we have a video that we produced with Park City TV that takes people on a virtual tour of our permanent exhibitions.”
To add a human touch to research, the museum’s website features a whole catalog of oral histories that cover such topics as the Great Depression, Ecker Hill ski jump, the music scene and personal biographies, Morrison said.
“Our staff can help people find these interviews and help them with other research,” she said. “We are all working from home because of COVID-19, but we’re all connected to the museum’s servers. All people need to contact Dalton Gackle (the museum’s research coordinator) to get things started.”
Gackle can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, Morrison invites people to watch the agriculture lecture.
The beauty of using the slide show format on YouTube is that the voice over and photos are crisp and easy to interpret, she said.
“Plus no one’s head is in the way, and you can watch it anytime you want,” Morrison said. “People can also stop and start it at any time as well, so if you see a picture that you find interesting, you can pause the video and take time to study it.”
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