Summit Co. museums get $14,500
Three museums in the county were awarded grants this month from the state office of museum services.
The Alf Engen Ski Museum, the Echo Church and Museum and the Park City Historical Society Museum received a total of $14,500.
"I think the quality of the applications determined funding," said Dan Burke, director of museum services. "We evaluated the value of the project to the museum and the community, how it fit into the long range plans and the mission statement (of the museums)."
Connie Nelson, executive director of the Alf Engen, said the money is already being used to revamp and update the "Ski Like an Olympian" interactive theater exhibit.
The virtual-reality experience of skiing or running the slalom is one of the museum’s most popular exhibits and a $49,000 project has already begun to install high-definition projectors and to re-shoot the footage.
"It’s getting old," Nelson explained. "Interactive exhibits are very expensive because of the technology."
Because the museum is free, Nelson relies on grants to fund projects like this one. The $6,000 grant from the state is a "nice chunk" to get things going, she said.
The Park City museum will use its $6,000 to purchase compactable shelving for its new storage space.
In the past, the society has had to store its artifacts wherever it could around the city, said Wendy Ashton, curator of collections and exhibits. The newly renovated museum space on Main Street will have 600 square-foot storage area and a 500 square-foot library attached to it.
Whereas the museum used to display about 10 percent of its items at any given time, the larger museum will be able to display about 30 percent. Compactable storage built on tracks will enable the society to store the remaining 70 percent within the facility, making it instantly available to anyone from the public seeking to do research, Ashton said.
"We have more space to work with, but still deal with ceiling-height and floor-area limitations," she said. "We have a rather eclectic collection. There are photographs, paintings, skis, mining artifacts and rocks."
The museum has improved lighting and security, so a "sophisticated shelving system" is needed for protecting the objects, Ashton explained.
"We want these things available for people now, but preserved to be available in 200 years as well," she said.
The Echo Church and Museum has been a community gathering place since the late 1870s and received $2,500 to repaint the eaves and window sills on the exterior.
The church was built by Congregational Presbyterians and later became an LDS ward house. When the congregation moved to Henefer, the church basement was converted to a museum and is now used for wedding receptions, funerals and town meetings, explained Frank Cattelan, president of the Echo Church Museum.
"We get grants to have the church open from Memorial Day to Labor Day," he said.
The basement has two rooms full of artifacts from the Pony Express, railroad and early townspeople.
The money available for state museum grants is allocated by the legislature. The office of museum services receives grant requests in the spring, which are reviewed by an advisory board appointed by the governor. the time decisions are made and paper work is signed, the checks usually arrive in August, Burke explained.
Money is allocated according to the worthiness of the requests, but the board tries to be representational of the state. This year 78 museums in 22 of Utah’s 29 counties received funds, Burke said.
Alf Engen Ski Museum: $6,000
Update and revamp the "Ski Like an Olympian" interactive exhibit.
Park City Historical Society Museum: $6,000
Purchase compactable shelving to store the museum’s artifacts.
Echo Church and Museum: $2,500
To contract out the repainting of the eaves and window sills on the church.
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