Our Mission is to share stories. We seek to educate and inspire our community about the cultural and natural history of Moab and the Canyonlands region.
During the great uranium boom of the late 1950’s, long-time and new Moab residents began to consider the value that a museum might bring to the town. Here was a region with a past rich in geological change, paleontological remnants and a human history that stretched from pre-historic cultures to Mormon pioneer families to out-of-town investors and miners with families. Yet, there was nowhere for those fascinating stories could be preserved, exhibited and interpreted.
In 1957, a group of civic leaders began to plan for a city museum and in February 1958 the museum was incorporated as the Southeastern Utah Society of Arts and Science. Housed in a County building on Center Street, the private archeological collections from Dr. J.W. “Doc” Williams and Ross Musselman provided objects for initial exhibits, with more donations provided by citizens. During its first 14 months the museum hosted more than 6000 visitors.
By the mid-1980s, the museum had outgrown its original building and, in 1986, Dan O’Laurie, an associate of Charlie Steen and generous contributor to various civic projects, agreed to finance construction of a new building. The current building is Dan O’Laurie’s legacy to the community. On August 20, 1988 – some 29 years after the Museum first opened its doors – the Center Street facility was dedicated as the Dan O’Laurie Museum of Moab.
In 2007 Grand County and the Museum Board agreed to transfer governance and management of the Museum to its non-profit Board of Trustees. Several name changes later – Moab Museum, Dan O’Laurie Canyon Country Museum, Museum of Moab, and Moab Museum of Natural and Cultural History – the Museum has adopted a new identify as the Moab Museum. The new name identifies where the museum is located, but also communicates that the stories the Museum tells are the stories of community and people across the Colorado Plateau.
Land Acknowledgement Statement
We acknowledge the land we currently identify as the Moab Valley to be the traditional and ancestral lands of bands of the Nuutsui (Ute) and clans of Ancestral Pueblo People. We pay our respects to all their elders, past and present, and choose to honor and acknowledge the original stewards of this land in hopes of building mutual respect and understanding across all cultures – those that reside here and those that pass through here today and in the future. The Moab Museum intends to foster a mutual understanding among and between cultures to produce stronger and more effective civic interactions among citizens of, and travelers across, the Colorado Plateau.
To change how we see the world around us, from here to beyond, for everyone who calls here home or is just passing through, building pride, compassion and humility along the way.
We believe in people in every way.
The community of the staff and leadership, the community of Moab, the community of folks that lived here or travelled through in the past. We believe in connecting with each other and the value those connections bring to everyone’s life. We’re empowered by the community and hope to empower them.
Trust, Respect & Inclusion
We believe in balanced perspectives and presentation of multiple and diverse voices.
We’re inclusive and accessible, embracing respect for others. Through thorough and thoughtful research, dialog and partnerships throughout the community, we build expertise as a shared experience with others. We hope to earn trust through our actions both behind the scenes and through public engagement.
Joy, Reflection & Inspiration
We believe in creating joy and energy in everything we do.
We appreciate the thrill of good challenge, the excitement of wonder, and the need for reflective contemplation. Through compelling, thought-provoking engagement we share our inspiration with one another and the community, being inspired in return.
The Moab Museum is a steward of stories; its mission is to collect, preserve, and pass on narratives that stimulate a greater appreciation for the efforts of all who contributed to this region’s heritage.