A Grand Heritage: Stories from the Oral History Archive
The Moab Museum’s temporary exhibition A Grand Heritage: Stories from the Oral History Archive features first-person accounts from Moab’s pre-uranium history, built around oral histories between the late 1880s and the early 1920s. The exhibition will be on display through the end of April 2023.
The year 2022 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Grand Memories, published by Moab’s Daughters of Utah Pioneers, which chronicled histories of some of the first Euro-American settlers of the region. To celebrate this anniversary, the exhibition invites visitors to dive into the Moab Museum’s Oral History Collection for some more memories of Grand County residents, recently digitized as part of the Community History Program, which is supported by Utah Humanities.
Stories and oral histories are some of the most rich and valuable resources in any museum’s Collection. They can also be a treasured part of a family’s keepsakes. For community members interested in learning about collecting oral histories or recording audio of friends, family, or community members, the Moab Museum team held several hourlong sessions, where we introduced the basics of oral history collection, shared some interview tips for recording compelling stories, and provided examples from the Museum’s Oral History Collection. We also introduced participants to the Moab Museum’s Listening Stations, user-friendly mobile recording units that are available by loan to help community members capture and share stories.
This free hourlong introductory workshop was held at the Moab Museum on Wednesday, March 29th and April 26th, 2023 from 5-6 p.m. Keep an eye out for future Community History Workshops!
"What was the landscape like back then?"
History is far more than names and dates—it’s a rich and complex web of stories and memories that provide depth and texture to our understanding of the past. The Moab Museum has over 150 oral histories, interviews, and conversations with Moabites from nearly a century ago to the present, that are a part of the Collection.
A Grand Heritage is organized around several frequently asked questions in the Moab Museum: “what was the landscape like back then,” “how did settlers get here,” and “what did people do to make a living before the uranium boom?” These questions are directly answered by stories from the oral history archive and first-person accounts from people who lived in the Moab Valley from 1880-1920.
Though the temporary exhibition will be on display from March through the end of April 2023, many of the oral histories featured within the exhibition can be found on the Moab Museum website. Even more, still, can be viewed in the Moab Museum’s research library by appointment with guidance from the Museum’s Curatorial and Collections Manager.
Special thanks and acknowledgments:
This exhibit is a culmination of years of efforts from staff and volunteers. The oral histories themselves were originally on cassette tapes or scanned copies, which needed digitizing to make the stories publicly available and long-term viable. The Museum’s goal with the Community History Project is to bring these oral histories back into the public eye, many of which have not been listened to since they were recorded on tape, decades ago.