It was all smiles on Monday morning at the small, weed-filled lot on Sidewinder Drive as state and city officials, building contractors, Park City Museum board trustees and staff broke ground on the museum's new Education and Collections Center. "This is an exciting and proud moment for our organization" said Sandra Morrison, executive director of the Park City Museum. "It is the follow-up of our 2009 award-winning expansion and renovation of our permanent exhibitions on Historic Main Street." The plot was originally slated for use by local dentist Dr. Scott Kimche, but when he decided against expanding onto the lot, the Park City Museum approached him about purchasing the property. Needless to say, it's been a long journey since the inception of the project in 2008; the only step left to take now is building it.
Trustees and friends of the museum were joined by Park City Mayor Jack Thomas and Mrs. Jeanette Herbert, the First Lady of Utah, who both spoke to the importance of history and passing on the city's treasured artifacts to a new generation. Mayor Thomas, whose own grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Park City one hundred years ago, said, "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 learn from our mistakes." While Mrs. Herbert remarked, "I am excited that we have a new opportunity for children and adults to explore, grow, and expand their interest in the world around them."
The museum will use the full plot of land (6,000 square feet), half of which will be dedicated to curatorial and classroom space. The other half will house an environmentally-controlled collections area, including a cold storage vault for more than 50,000 film-based and photographic artifacts. Completion of the building is expected to take 6 to 9 months and the facility will likely open its doors a year and a half from now when the transfer of historical objects and documents is completed.
The Park City Museum on Main Street welcomed more than 129,000 visitors and reached over
3,500 Utah children through educational workshops and field trips last year. The new Education and Collections Center will double the number of participants in such school programs and provide a workshop space for museum professionals, curators, scholars, local collectors, and archivists. In addition, this expansion will also serve as an example of outstanding preservation efforts to other small museums.
At the time of groundbreaking, roughly $1.6 million of the $2 million necessary funds for the opening of the Eduction and Collections Center has been raised. You can pave your way into Park City's history with the museum's newly launched commemorative brick campaign. The bricks, which can be purchased by individuals, families, and businesses, will be part of the terrace leading up to the new facility. For more info visit the website or call 435.649.7475.