Tuesday, May 31, 2016

John Hutchings Museum of Natural History

  This little local museum is housed in beautiful, 1920s, Spanish mission style building orginally built as a veteran’s memorial hall, city hall, and public library. The museum has a little bit of everything – local history, Native American artifacts, dinosaur bones, and a very good mineral collection.

  It’s not everyday that you can hold a 2 million year old piece of dinosaur poop!
  The sidewalk is sloped and the entry door opens out so entering the museum is a bit akward. Some of the exhibit in the cases are too high to easily view. One room of the museum is accessed by steps only.

  RVs can be parked on the street or in the large lot behind the museum.
Museum    40.38865, -111.85013

Monday, May 30, 2016

BYU Museums

  We visited three of the four free museums located on the BYU campus. They’re so small that it’s easy to view all of them in one afternoon.
             Bean Life Science Museum   40.25389, -111.64707
   As much as the exhibits in this museum focus on conservation and habitat restoration it’s impossible to ignore the fact that most of the  mounted animals are obviously trophy kills. Since the animals are the main attraction and viewing them is sad and painful, we spent very little time in the museum. Everything is accessible.

          Museum of Peoples and Cultures    40.26307, -111.65689
  Two small rooms make up the whole museum so even though the exhibits are interesting it only takes about 1/2 hour to see all of it. Everything is accessible.

                 Museum of Paleontology    40.2561, -111.65689
This is the largest of the three with the most displays which include dinosaur bones, fossilized fish and fossilized plants, all collected by Dr. James A. Jensen and his crews. Jensen was an interesting man of many talents. He was a high school dropout, an artist, sculptor, house framer, machinist, welder, and paleontologist who worked at BYU for 23 years. He was granted an honorary doctorate in 1971.

  RVs are not permitted in the campus visitor parking lots but each of the museums has a dedicated lot with enough room for RVs. There’s also a large lot behind the Museum of Paleontology where RV parking is allowed. It’s about 1/2 mile to each of the other museums from this lot. We did not visit the Museum of Art because of road construction.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Springville Museum of Art

   The works of Utah artists make up the major portion of  the collections in this museum so don’t expect to see any old masters although, strangely enough, there is a large collection of Russian art. It’s a fun museum with talented artists and imaginative artwork.
  One small room of the museum can only be accessed by a couple of steps but the rest of the galleries are accessible.

  The parking lot is large enough for RVs.
Museum    40.16052, -111.60747

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fairview Museum of History and Art

    Two buildings make up the museum. A glass fronted modern building houses a few history exhibits, the works of local artists. and a 95 % complete cast of a mamoth skeleton that was discovered in a nearby canyon. The other building is a 115 year old former school which also served as a studio for sculptor Dr. Avard T Fairbanks. Three of Fairbank’s sculptures are in the US Capitol. The museum inherited many of Fairbank’s large plaster casts which are on display in both buildings.

   Donated items used by the early settlers are exhibited in the school building. Large farm equipment and vehicles are located outside. We’ve found that many of these small town museum often lack written information but usually the volunteers and staff are very friendly and will attempt to answer any question. We really enjoyed talking with everyone here. :- )
    The newer building is accessible. The school building is accessible on the first floor. The second floor is accessed by steps only. The outside exhibits have paved walkways and are accessible.

  RVs will fit in the parking areas.
Museum    39.62939, -111.43731

Price Canyon Recreation Area Campground

  This small BLM campground is accessed by a very steep 1 1/2 lane paved road with pull offs to allow oncoming traffic to pass. It’s not suitable for large RV or long trailers. Most of the parking areas are small and slanted. Amenities include a vault toilet, picnic tables, fire pits, and trash cans.
The accessible site has a table with one bench seat cut down to accommodate a wheelchair and an elevated fire pit. It’s also has a path to the toilet but rough, loose gravel makes traveling along it difficult.
Campground    39.7602, -110.91651

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Western Mining & Railroad Museum

  Helper, named after the engines which helped haul westbound trains over the mountains to Salt Lake City, is located in the middle of the rich Utah coal fields. After coal was discovered in Carbon County in the 1880s small, isolated mining communities sprung up along many of the canyons. Miners and their families had a hard life contending with mine explosions and the loss of husbands, fathers and income; company housing; scrip (instead of money) which could be only used at the company store; low wages; and labor disputes. Since the coal company owned everything and the communities were so isolated miners had no control over their lives. Little is left of many of these communities. Mines closed, buildings were moved to other locations, and families moved on to the next good coal seam.

  Helper, with a mixed ethnic population of almost 3,000 people by the 1930s, was a lively town in contrast to the staid Mormon cities on the other side of the mountain. Three blocks of Main Street housed bars, speakeasies, back room gambling, and brothels. Illegal gambling and brothels brought business to the town well into the 1970s. Today many of the building are closed and empty but artists are moving in with the hope of revitalizing the downtown. 

  The museum is located in the Old Helper Hotel building and the hotel rooms serve as museum galleries. The exhibits are kind of uneven with very good displays in some rooms and piles of donated items in others. Many old photographs of the mining communities show both everyday life and the tragic aftermath of mining accidents. Two displays of mining equipment are located outside, one in the museum courtyard and another in a little park at the museum parking lot. A paved trail starts at the parking lot and follows alongside Price River.

  All four floors of the museum are accessible but a few of the rooms have tight spots. The exhibits in the little park are accessible. We didn’t visit the courtyard displays because the sidewalks were in the process of being replaced. The trail is accessible but there are steep spots so wheelchair users may need to have help.
  The parking lot is too small for RVs but they can be parked along the side streets.
Museum    39.6827, -110.85492

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nine Mile Canyon Rock Art

  Nine Mile Canyon has the greatest concentration of rock art sites in the U.S. Many petroglyphs can be easily viewed from the road but spotting them is a little hard and there are few pull offs. Fortunately hardly anyone lives along the road and it’s possible to go very slowly. We did the drive on a Sunday to avoid truck traffic from the oil and gas companies who are drilling at the end of the canyon.

  The road, starting from US 191, is actually about 50 miles long. The first petroglyph can be found around mile 25. The BLM website is a bit out of date and their map doesn’t have a lot of the sites marked but this site has a pretty good map - American Southwest.  The drive along of the road is very scenic with old homesteads, green pastures, and towering cliffs. Other things to see include a small Fremont village and granary ruins. Even if  you don’t take the time to search for all of the petroglyphs you’ll still be able to see some of the best examples. Daddy Canyon Picnic Area has a short trail and petroglyphs that can be viewed from the parking lot. The Great Hunt panel at mile 46 is a wonderful scene of a bighorn sheep hunt by the Fremont culture (AD 300 – 1350).

  The oldest petroglyphs are by the Fremont but there are also some by the Utes and early pioneers. Sadly a few have been marred or destroyed by gunshots and recent visitors adding their names and drawings.

  The road is completely paved and can be driven with a RV. There are two picnic areas but dispersed camping is prohibited. It is allowed two miles off of the canyon road but opportunities to exit the canyon road are few.

  It isn’t necessary to leave your vehicle to see many of the petroglyphs so this is a fairly accessible attraction. The Fremont village is not accessible due to a steep trail. The trail at Daddy Canyon is not accessible. The trail to the Great Hunt is accessible with help. It can also be seen from the road.

Canyon   39.54271, -110.68822

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Prehistoric Museum

  The museum has two sections, one focusing on the many types of dinosaur fossils found in Utah and the other on Native American artifacts and lifestyles dating from 13,000 years ago. Both are very nicely done.

   The museum is accessible with an elevator to the 2nd floor.

    The parking lot has long bus/ RV spaces.
Museum   39.60052, -110.8081

Sunday, May 22, 2016

John Wesley Powell River History Museum

  In mid-July 1869 when John Wesley Powell and his crew of explorers reached this spot on the Green River they were almost halfway through their mission to investigate and map the paths and canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers. They had already lost one boat, 1/3 of their supplies, and one man had quit but Powell pushed on to finish the journey on August 29 at the mouth Virgin River in Nevada.

  The museum has a very good exhibit about Powell’s life and his geographic expeditions. Other exhibits cover early explorers of  southern Utah, the history of Green River, dinosaurs, and river runners. Green River is famous for it’s sweet, juicy watermelons – don’t miss the giant melon outside!
  The museum is accessible.

  The parking lot is large enough for any RV.
Museum   38.99366, -110.14065

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve

  A one mile trail loops through a wetland ecosystem that supports over 200 species of birds, amphibians, and aquatic mammals. The trail is boardwalk and finely crushed stone.  It’s accessible but one short section follows the powerline road which may be muddy or rough making backtracking necessary.

 The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Park as close to the trail entrance as possible because the parking lot is surfaced with large, loose gravel.

Preserve   38.57336, -109.57082