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Natural History Museum Of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah shut down in March 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19; they believed it would remain in darkness for one or two weeks. In mid-April, however, it became apparent that the museum’s “temporary” closure would be extended. Staff members began preparing for the possibility of an extended closure.

In the following months and the months that followed, the Natural History Museum of Utah had to decide how it could remain operational during an unprecedented period. The museum had to make the difficult decision of laying off several staff members to cut costs. But it also expanded services via digital technology to reach the public in new ways. The museum also set the stage for reopening securely as quickly as the weather permits.

After months of planning and preparation after much planning and preparation, after much planning and preparation, the Natural History Museum of Utah was delighted to welcome visitors to their galleries in mid-August.

“We learned a lot from local, sister cultural institutions and museums around the country,” said Chris Eisenberg, deputy director of communications and philanthropy. The museum’s team was diligent in creating a variety of policies and procedures that ensure the safety of visitors and staff. Apart from the reservation-based ticketing system with small capacities, the museum needed face coverings for all employees, volunteers, and visitors over two. They also implemented physical distancing, restrooms throughout the facility, “hands-free” interactions with some of their exhibits, and many more. All of these changes ensured visitors to this museum Natural History Museum of Utah an enjoyable, pleasant, safe space.


The George Thomas Building, shown here in 2008, as it was the home to the museum at the President’s Circle.

In The George Thomas Building, upper image: ca. 1950 A reading room within the library of the building. The lower image is the same reading area in 2009, remodeled from 1969 to The Utah Museum of Natural History (and removed in 2011). The building is now set to be a science research center. Notice the incorrect posture for all the skeletal mounts now mounted in anatomically correct positions in the newly constructed Rio Tinto building.

The museum was established in 1959 after a University of Utah faculty committee was able to combine natural history collections on the campus. The museum was officially established in the form of the Utah Museum of Natural History located on the University of Utah campus in 1963 by the Utah State Legislature. [3]

It was in 1969 that the museum was inaugurated inside the former George Thomas Library and included items of the Deseret Museum and the Charles Nettleton Strevell Museum housed in the former Lafayette School on South Temple Street from 1939 to 1947. [3]

The paleontology collections accumulated significant amounts of newly collected specimens in the 1960s, notably fossilized dinosaur remains. The story began with a local paleontologist named James Henry Madsen Jr. was awarded a Master in Science in 1959 from the University of Utah. In the following year, in the year 1960, Madsen was appointed as an assistant to professor William Lee Stokes of Princeton University, who, at the time, was engaged in a daring plan to dig up the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry. In the 1920s, geologists recognized that this quarry was one of the most significant paleontological sites in the United States. Still, in the early 1960s, hundreds of thousands of dinosaur bones disarticulated were dug in the rock, waiting to be uncovered. The bone bed was vast and contained many fossilized bone fragments (mainly taken from Allosaurus fragilis). It was evident to Stokes and Madsen that it was impossible to find the bones.

To a single institution to gather several specimens that are real-time representative of the amount

Educational programs

The educational programming is managed in The Education & Community Engagement Department. The development of school-related programs is tightly linked to the system of public schools’ primary curriculum. Museum’s educational programs comprise:

Self-Guided Field Trips and Partner Field Trips: The students tour the museum in groups with chaperones. [14]

Junior Science Academy classes for fourth and fifth-grade students that are tied to the core curriculum. They are held at the museum. [15]

Family and child programs after-school, Saturday and summer classes, primarily designed for children from K-6. They will be learning about the natural world and science.

Adult programming: Workshops or lectures, as well as special events designed for an audience of adults.


The museum takes visitors through the natural history of Utah, beginning from the bedrock’s surface and continuing through the beginnings of life in the lakebed that was once an enormous ancient body of water called. The museum’s sloping paths will lead you through several interactive and hands-on exhibits.

Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is the salty dregs from the huge ancient Lake Bonneville that once sat in the Salt Lake Valley. This exhibit traces the past of the unique body of water and offers breathtaking views of the valley of the lake.

Past Worlds

Dinosaurs! Skeletons that are terrifying of the creatures who once roamed the earth are the highlight of the exhibition (and in the entire museum). More than 30 skeletal reconstructions are on display, including the Gryposaurus (duck-billed) reptile constructed out of fossils from the beginning and the only exhibit in the world with fourteen Ceratopsian (horned) skulls of dinosaurs.

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