Moab Happenings Archive
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Online Events Drew Crowds, Clicks, and Community in 2020 by Mary Langworthy, Membership & Community Outreach

Aerial photo of Moab’s Main Street in the 1960s

COVID-19 threw a wrench into nearly everything during 2020, but as the Moab Museum reflects on the challenges and accomplishments of that wild year, we’re proud to have engaged thousands with virtual programming. With a little persistence and ingenuity, the Museum was able to adapt and present an extensive array of live events for COVID-safe, online delivery. Now, a new decade is opening, and hopefully the doors of the Museum will be open this year as well. But in this first month of a brand new decade, we’d like to say goodbye to 2020 forever with a few of its highlights.

During 2019’s exhibit redesign and reconstruction, the Museum offered the popular Tuesdays with the Museum programs, a speaker and events series featuring a wide range of local voices and topics. Keeping the same caliber of exciting and varied programs in mind, the Museum presented six unique online events on Zoom and Facebook Live during August through November 2020. Speakers covered topics exploring the many facets of our region’s past and present, and inticed viewers from all over to participate.

In September, the Museum’s Christy Williams-Dunton hosted author and historian Christian Wright for a conversation about the history of mining and organized labor in southeast Utah. Attendees brought great questions and comments, and community members viewing the conversation later reached out offering their personal stories and histories to complement Wright’s research. “Awesome stories,” wrote one live Zoom attendee. “I had no idea that there was anything to know about organized labor in this region’s history—and [Wright] wrote a whole book about it!”

Ore cars move uranium from the Radium King Mine, date unknown.

Events explored contemporary topics as well. In October, the Museum welcomed Carey Dabney of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, who provided information for voters pertaining to the 2020 election. Dabney also provided historical context and shared valuable resources to help people get registered, access information about candidates, and otherwise promote high voter turnout.

On November 17th, our last event of the year featured a conversation with pilot and lifelong local Tim Martin, as well as a screening of jaw-dropping footage from Tim’s hundreds of airplane flights through many of the region’s iconic arches. With nearly 200 live attendees and thousands more subsequent viewers, Martin’s stunning film and stories elicited a lot of enthusiasm from the community and beyond. As Martin recounted his grand adventures, close calls, and a lifetime spent exploring southeast Utah from the sky, the comments poured in. “Loved getting the chance to learn to fly with you,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “And you taught me many more lessons while growing up. Love ya, Tim!”

While 2020 has not been the year that anyone would have hoped for, we’re grateful that we were able to reach over 600 live viewers and thousands more folks who tuned in to our events. Recordings of the Live events remain available for viewing on the Museum’s Facebook page. Visit and look under the Events tab.

Go to the Museum’s Facebook page, and click on Events to see the events archive.

Happy New Year from all of the staff at the Moab Museum, and many thanks to our community for tuning in and supporting us! We look forward to bringing you enriching programming during the coming year.

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Movie & Western Memorabilia Museum at Red Cliffs Lodge

Indiana Jones PosterRed Cliffs Lodge, on the banks of the mighty Colorado River, is home to the Moab Museum of Film & Western Heritage. The lodge is built on the old George White Ranch, a key location for nine of the big westerns including Rio Grande, Cheyenne Autumn, Ten Who Dared, The Commancheros, and Rio Conchos.

The late George White was founder of the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission, the longest ongoing film commission in the world.

In the museum one can learn more about film locations, how the sets are built, and how the filming process is managed on nature’s own sound stage. On display in the museum are production photographs, movie posters, autographed scripts, props from the many pictures filmed in the area, and displays about the western ranching heritage. For information, call Red Cliffs Lodge at 435-259-2002.

Rio Grande Through the magnificent landscapes of southeastern Utah, writers have been inspired and stories born here. Zane Grey, the famous western novelist, traveled through the area in 1912. His visit inspired him to write his book Riders of the Purple Sage. The book was made into a movie starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, and filmed on locations around Moab.

A partial list of stars that have made movies in Moab
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Henry Fonda, Lee Marvin,
Rock Hudson, Jimmy Stewart, Richard Boone, Anthony Quinn,
Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Crystal,
Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Bill Murray, Jack Palance, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Ted Danson, Tom Cruise, and many more.
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