Our Goal Is To Inspire and Foster An Understanding of Our Region’s Natural and Cultural History
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.