The History of the Utah Training School Exhibit

Rae Gifford History, News and Events, Research

I met Amy Lewis, the appointed records officer for the Utah State Developmental Center (USDC), about 3 years ago. In the midst of renovations on their campus, Amy had been alerted to a closet of records and artifacts and needed to know how to preserve them. What she found was a treasure trove of materials dating back decades, including from the time when USDC was called the Utah State Training School. Patient testing materials used by early doctors, photographs, slides, and film reels of events were stored with pharmacy, intake, and other records.

With her small staff, Amy began the long process to understand what she had found and what she was supposed to do with all of it. She quickly created the USDC Historical Project to inventory and process the items. She then worked to created the Historical Committee at USDC, in order to gather the institutional memory needed to identify the individuals in thousands of photos that she had uncovered. The Records and Information Management team at the Utah State Archives worked with Amy to identify record groups and helped to create retention schedules. Our own Alan Barnett also traveled to USDC to provide training on preservation. Amy also found volunteers at the local high school who were willing to work on the preservation and digitization of these valuable historic records.  (To learn more about her records management work, check out her RIMM Webinar from April 2018: Dusting Off the Big Picture: a Case Study.)

Fast forward to today…

The Utah State Archives is excited to host the new History of the Utah Training School exhibit created by the Utah State Developmental Center. The exhibit will be in the Archives lobby November 15, 2018 – January 7, 2019.

The lobby with couch and chairs, there are 4 cases of artifacts and multiple enlarged photos on the walls.

The History of the Utah State Training School in the lobby of the Utah State Archives & Records Service


USDC’s Amy Lewis will be giving a lunchtime lecture at the State Archives on Friday, November 16, 2018, to discuss the exhibit and what they have learned about the early history of Utah’s Training School in American Fork.

So come on by and visit the Archives!

Take a minute to sit and enjoy the exhibit displays, watch the silent film, or listen to the lecture (only on 11/16).