Moab Happenings Archive
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Moab Museum Features Community History & City Walking Tours
by Moab Museum Staff
A Navajo Churro sheep at Cunnington Farms pre-spring shearing.

This June, the Moab Museum takes an extended dive into conversations about heritage breeds from May programming to the traditional application of animal fibers. Join us for a new exhibition opening on June 22nd and related programming, including a plethora of weaving demonstrations by skilled members of the Navajo Nation from July through November. 

The People’s Tapestry: Weaving Tradition in Navajo Culture
The People’s Tapestry: Weaving Tradition in Navajo Culture will be on display at the Moab Museum beginning in mid-June with an opening reception for Members from 6 pm to 7:30 pm on Thursday, June 22nd. The exhibition features contributions from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums’ traveling exhibition, Weaving the Future. The People’s Tapestry celebrates the local Navajo community by highlighting the Tribe’s weaving tradition and features authentic storytelling as well as the spiritual roots of weaving, and highlights a deeply symbolic tradition that is still alive today. 

Shearers are few and far between in Southeast Utah, and those who know the practice are highly sought after. Pictured here is a Navajo Churro sheep being shorn in the late winter of 2023.

Portions of the exhibition will outline the deeply symbolic variation of rugs, blanket, and garment styles, the history embedded in the styles, and how weaving sustains the Navajo Nation culturally and economically today more than ever.

Anita Hathale Weaving Demonstration in July
On Thursday and Friday, July 13 and 14, from 10 am – 4 pm, master weaver, Anita Hathale will demonstrate her weaving technique in the Moab Museum’s South Gallery. Anita was born for the Water People Clan and to the Water Edge Clan and was raised in the traditional Navajo way. When Anita first began weaving, she sought guidance from her father who would perform a Beauty Way Ceremony for her with a “rainbow prayer.” Anita now weaves up to 11 and 12 hours a day and her style has evolved from  traditional patterns to her own original motifs. Anita is unique from other weavers for her open designs – large areas of one color. Stop by the Museum to observe Hathale’s process and hear her speak about the significance of the art form. 

Navajo Churro Sheep and Southwestern Textiles Presentation
Sam Cunningham, owner of Cunnington Farms in Spanish Valley, which is home to a number of heritage sheep breeds including the Navajo Churro, will be giving a presentation titled “The Legacy of Joe Ben Wheat: Internationally Renowned Archaeologist and Expert on Southwestern Textiles” on Friday, August 18th at the Moab Museum. Keep an eye out on the Moab Museum website and through social media for more details down the road.

To learn more about Museum membership, programs and exhibits, and to read the Museum’s blog and explore online archives and collections, please visit
118 East Center Street, Moab, UT • 435-259-7985

The Museum is pleased to announce a semi-permanent exhibition entitled Spirit & Grit, which has recently opened at the Dead Horse Point State Park visitor center. Spirit & Grit tells the story of settlers who pieced together a hardscrabble living in early Moab, from the 1870s onward. Visitors to Spirit & Grit experience a window into the lives of some of these early settlers through this immersive satellite exhibit.

Spirit & Grit, an extension of stories told at the Moab Museum, was curated by Tara Beresh, Moab Museum’s Curatorial and Collections Manager, in collaboration with the Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage (MMFWH) and with assistance from lifelong Moabite and local historian Mark Beeson. Featuring historic photographs, objects, stories, and a life-sized cow camp, the exhibition paints a vibrant portrait of ranch life in the area of Canyonlands at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Moab Museum joins Blue Star Museums

Beginning May 20th, Moab Museum will become a Blue Star Museum: a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Blue Star Families, Department of Defense (DoD), and museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families each summer. The Moab Museum has offered a 20% discount for active-duty personnel and their families for the past several years, but intends to increase financial accessibility through this partnership.
The annual program, in its 14th summer, begins on Armed Forces Day (May 20) and runs through Labor Day. The Moab Museum will extend this program as a year-round offering. The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military—Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force, members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), DD Form 1173-1 ID card or the Next Generation Uniformed Services (Real) ID card for admission at the Moab Museum.
Forrest Rodgers, Executive Director of the Moab Museum noted, “becoming a Blue Star Museum is one way of acknowledging the men and women of the uniformed services and their families -- and a first step toward sharing more stories about the Southeastern Utahns who have contributed to our national defense.” Additional information and a complete list of participating museums is available at To receive free admission through the Blue Star Museum program, speak to Museum staff during operating hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. To become a member today please visit:

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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