Earlier this month, the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB) met to review applications for 2022-2023 grant funding. The Board had roughly $29,000 to give, but received requests for well over $40,000. It was a lively meeting with lots of discussion and some very worthy applications. We are now happy to announce this year’s winners.
Heritage Museum of Layton, Layton, UT
The Heritage Museum of Layton will be receiving $2,765 to preserve over three hundred large format architectural drawings from William Allen. Allen was born in England and moved to Utah with his family in the 1860s. He studied architecture and worked throughout Davis County in the 1890s-1920s. As the only architect in the county for much of his career, he designed everything from bungalows to mansions, businesses to religious buildings. Many of the buildings are still standing.
The museum plans to unroll and flatten the drawings, then arrange, describe, and catalog the records and rehouse them in appropriate storage. Future plans also include an exhibit.
Brighton Institute, Brighton, UT
The Brighton Institute, among many other roles in arts and culture, is home to the Big Cottonwood Canyon Historical Society. The Society/Institute was awarded $1,304 to process and preserve three major historical collections: the Jolene Despain collection, documenting canyon buildings and community spaces; the Barbara Cameron collection, documenting the history of the Big Cottonwood Canyon Association; and the Chas Nickerson collection, containing photos and other historical records documenting the community council from 1950-1974. This project will result in important canyon history being properly preserved, described, and made available to the public.
Park City Museum, Park City, UT
The Park City Museum has long been instrumental in preserving and protecting Park City’s legacy as both a historical mining town and a modern, world-class ski resort. This year, the museum will be receiving $7,500 toward the digitization of thousands of images documenting the bridge between these two unique eras. Kendall Webb, local photographer, maintained a business in Park City for nearly thirty years. His work, which consists of everything from studio portraits to high school football games, weddings to Boy Scout trips, is a one-of-a-kind window into Park City between the 1940s-1970s, a time when the town saw immense change. Webb’s images capture the shift between a declining mining industry and the beginnings of winter sports tourism and are one of the most important collections documenting the area’s history.
The Museum will be partnering with the University of Utah’s Marriott Library for digitization work, and the images will be available for viewing, along with thousands of others already digitized with previous grant funds, on the Mountain West Digital Library.
Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
The NHMU was awarded $7,435 to digitize hundreds of archaeological survey maps. This unique collection was primarily created by University of Utah anthropology and archaeology staff and contains photographs, hand-drawn maps, and composites. Such records are vital for understanding human history, settlement, and use of land. They even have intrinsic value in that archaeological sites are not recorded the same way today as they have been in the past; records like these document not just the history of the area they cover but the history of archaeology as a practice.
The Museum will be using this grant opportunity to partner with a University museum studies class. Students will be trained in document handling, scanning procedures, and digital preservation. This project will give the students unique, hands-on, valuable experience in real-world museum work. The goal of the project is to make the maps available to researchers via the University of Utah Marriott Library.
Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum, Price, UT
USU Eastern’s Prehistoric Museum was awarded $7,500 to preserve their archival records, particularly the oversized and rolled oversized material and photographs. These documents include archaeological maps of the discovery site of the Utahraptor, the Canyonlands Needles District, and mineral deposits. Dozens of binders of slides, negatives, and prints will also be rehoused into archival boxes, cataloged, and made available to the public. The oldest map in the collection dates to 1878; the bulk of the photos and maps are from the 1980s, the heyday of large excavations and dinosaur discoveries.
Though the museum cannot yet digitize these records, they hope to do so in the future, and ensuring they’re properly arranged, described, housed, and cataloged is the first step toward preparing for such a project. The goal of this project is to allow for public access by providing descriptions of the archival records, cataloging them in the Museum’s collections management system, and promoting them via social media, educational materials, and community engagement.
Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum, Logan, UT
The Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum was awarded $1,250 to digitize Cache Valley pioneer histories and photographs. This is the final step of a multi-phased project the Museum has been undertaking for years. This portion of the collection includes histories, portraits, and even crayon drawings, all of which will be digitized and hosted by Utah State University and available in the Mountain West Digital Library.
The USHRAB’s grant program is funded by a State Board Programming Grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives. The USHRAB assists public and private non-profits, as well as non-Federal government entities throughout the State of Utah in the preservation and use of historical records.