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Harvey Leake presents at Museum Exhibition Opening for “The People’s Tapestry”
by Moab Museum Staff

Harvey Leake, the foremost authority on his Southeast Utah pioneer ancestors, John and Louisa Wetherill, will deliver opening remarks at 6:30 pm at the Moab Museum during the exhibition opening reception for “The People’s Tapestry.” Leake will share “A Passion for Beauty: Slim Woman and Her Navajo Blankets.”

Several members of the Wetherill family ran trading posts in the Navajo (Diné) territory in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was during the classic period of Navajo textile creativity, and a time when rare specimens of their earlier handiwork could sometimes be obtained. Harvey Leake’s great-grandmother, Louisa Wade Wetherill (known as Slim Woman to her neighbors), lived with the People for over forty years and was intensely interested in understanding and documenting their traditional ways of life.
Harvey Leak
She and her husband John displayed many outstanding Navajo textiles in their museum-like house in Kayenta, Arizona. Prior to their passing in the mid-1940s, they bequeathed some of their woven treasures to their granddaughters, several of which are displayed in the new exhibit.

Louisa and John Wetherill also preserved thousands of historic photographs, taken down through the decades, which provide a visual record of their remarkable story. Mr. Leake will provide an illustrated narrative of his great-grandmother’s growing appreciation for the exceptional beauty of her friends’ creations and the significance of some of the weavings she collected.

About the Exhibition:
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 on June 22nd from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be provided alongside opening remarks from Museum staff. The exhibition features contributions from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums’ (UDAM) traveling exhibition, Navajo Children: Weaving the Future. The UDAM exhibit addresses the threats modern lifestyles pose to this important art from and touchpoint within Native American culture and economy.
“Tourism, and economic development from ‘Adopt an Elder Program’ have given this art form renewed interest. Adopt an Elder Program sponsors rug sales directly from the weavers who get one hundred percent of the profits. Young and talented Navajo children living in the Navajo Nation did all the rugs and blankets in this exhibit. The collection is on loan from Adopt an Elder Program,” (UDAM).

First on display beginning in 2018, Weaving the Future has appeared at the Chase Home Museum, Orem Public Library, Willow Elementary in Grantsville, Weber State University Library in Ogden, and the Layton Art Museum throughout late 2022 and early 2023.

The People’s Tapestry is designed to celebrate the local Navajo community by highlighting their weaving tradition, share the storytelling and spiritual roots of weaving, and nod to the traditions that are still alive today. 

The exhibition will be on display through mid-September 2023. Several programs will be included alongside the exhibition throughout July and August, featuring demonstrations and presentations from Navajo master weavers, Anita Hathale, Maxine Nez, and Joe Lee Benally, as well as a textiles and Navajo Churro sheep presentation by local livestock farmer, Sam Cunningham of Cunnington Farms.

About Utah Arts & Museums and the Traveling Exhibit Program
Utah Arts & Museums’ Traveling Exhibit Program is a statewide outreach program that provides schools, museums, libraries, and community galleries with the opportunity to bring curated exhibitions to their community. This program is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on participating in the program, please contact Fletcher Booth at or call 801.532.2617. For media inquiries, please contact Josh Loftin at or 801.245.7205.

Utah Arts & Museums is a division of the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (DHA). To enrich the quality of life for the people of Utah, DHA creates, preserves, and promotes Heritage and Arts. The Division provides funding, education, and technical services to individuals and organizations statewide so that all Utahns, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or economic status, can access, understand, and receive the benefits of arts and culture. Additional information on the programs and services can be found at

Museum admission is required to attend exhibition openings. For current Moab Museum Members, admission is always free. To become a member today please visit:

Museums for All to increase accessibility of high-quality museum learning resources
by Moab Museum Staff

The Moab Museum announces access program for low-income families Museums for All to increase accessibility of high-quality museum learning resources.

Today, the Moab Museum announced that it has joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits. The program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits visiting the Moab Museum for free admission, with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at more than 850 museums across the country. Museums for All is part of the Moab Museum’s broad commitment to seek, include, and welcome all audiences.

Museums for All helps expand access to museums and also raise public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities. More than 850 institutions participate in the initiative, including art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more. Participating museums are located nationwide, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)

The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. With more than 460 members in 50 states and 16 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. Learn more at

To become a member today please visit:

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


Regional Museums Tell Our Stories
by Moab Museum Staff

During this Utah Museum Month, we encourage you to take a break from the hiking, biking, rafting, Jeeping (and heat!) to stop in at any of the air-conditioned (Yes!) museums in Emery, Carbon, and Grand counties. Collectively, they create a “museum row” through the land of coal, castles, and canyons that orient traveling visitors to the geologic and human history of southeastern Utah. Learn how the ground on which many of us play came to be: How the ebbs and flows of an inland sea shaped this awe-inspiring landscape of arches, fins and swells – and the large and tiny life forms that lived here.

When exploring outside the museums, geologists and rockhounds will find themselves in an outdoor amphitheater of stratigraphic beauty. And it doesn’t even matter if one doesn’t know the difference between this formation and that formation (or the correct period or epoch), they can learn about the living organisms present at that time. A fan of paleontology can view track slabs and skeletons of various creatures that lived in this area millions of years ago, and the marine fossils that lived millions of years before the T-rex and Gastonia stomped across the land.

Those more interested in the people, places and events that shaped the communities of today, these museums are places to learn about the indigenous people to live in and around the region – and its exploration, settlement by Euro-Americans (missionaries, stockmen (and women!), prospectors, miners, and adventurers), the uranium boom and bust, and the emergence of tourism. Each museum shares stories about how its community was formed, the pivotal events that changed its local character and economy, and how it has adapted to changes in demographics, environment, and culture. Check them out:

Museum of the San Rafael (Castle Dale) introduces its visitors to the early Fremont culture, travelers passing along the Old Spanish Trail, and the late 1900s arrival of missionaries who homesteaded and farmed in Emery County.

Helper Museum and Museum of Western Mining & Railroad (Helper) show how a farming and ranching region was transformed by the discovery, mining, and shipping of coal, with an internationally diverse workforce recruited to work the mines.

Prehistoric Museum (Price) began in 1960 with a single allosaurus skeleton, but now features large halls dedicated to paleontology and archaeology that include a Utahraptor skeleton and objects of the Fremont people. Some visitors are lucky to be able to observe paleontologists conducting research and/or prepping dinosaur specimens from a federally-certified repository.

The John Wesley Powell Museum (Green River) is named for the first non-native person to explore the Grand Canyon. The Museum interprets the history of Colorado Plateau exploration, river ecology, river running and boatmen, and Powell’s legacy – and hosts a variety of water-related traveling exhibits.
Moab Museum introduces traveling visitors to the geology and fragility of this beautiful landscape, and the effort of early settlers to build community in a small, remote town. Exhibits and programs interpret the indigenous people who lived or passed through here, how residents confronted Moab’s hard times, booms, and busts, and how the past has informed the present.

What could be more enticing than an air-conditioned travel back in time to learn more about southeastern Utah? Oh, there’s one big hang-up: Museums typically won’t let you bring your picnic basket inside!

Moab History 101: For Guides
by Moab Museum Staff

The Moab Museum and KZMU History Hour host Blaine Reniger have developed a collaborative, customized training to assist Moab area guides effectively communicate Moab cultural history information to their guests. This program will introduce guides to numerous facets of Moab history, better equipping them to have positive, educational interactions with their clients.

This two-and-a-half-hour program is designed for local guides, outfitters, and other tourism-facing staff to help staff in their knowledge about the Moab Valley and beyond. Reniger and Mary Langworthy, Public Programs Manager at the Moab Museum, will kick off the program with an hour-long tour of the Museum talking about big picture stories and key touchpoints throughout Moab’s history. The introduction will include first peoples, an intro to contemporary regional Native communities, exploration by Euro-Americans, ranching and agriculture, mining, the tourism economy, the National Parks, and finally, current events.

The second half of Moab History 101 features a customized history lesson dedicated to the specific needs of guiding companies with a short lesson on communicating history, capped off with an exploration of the Museum archives.

“Obviously not everything one would want to know about the Moab Valley can be learned in 2 and a half hours, but part of that is plugging guides into resources so they can request images from the Museum Collection. There’s fantastic books at the Museum library, at the Grand County Library, and Back of Beyond that can be further reading, etc.,” Langworthy said.
For years, Langworthy and Reniger have seen the appetite and need for a history-specific program, much like Science Moab’s “Science Certified” training. For the past few seasons, the Moab Museum has addressed specific guide and federal land management agency needs on a case-by-case basis, teaching one-off programs. Moab History 101 aims to provide formality and structure to these courses, while educating the community on the resources available through the Moab Museum.

Blaine Reniger, a local guide originally from Asheville, North Carolina in his fifth season with Navtec Expeditions in Moab, came to Utah in 2019 with a deep interest in the history of the broader southwest. Reniger began a history show on KZMU radio, which he dubbed “The History Hour” to share stories from the area with other local guides. This year, “The History Hour” takes on a programmatic form at the Moab Museum.

Throughout the three-year lifespan of “The History Hour,” Reniger has been tutored and guided by John Williams, owner of Navtec expeditions, and grandson of the well-known Doc Williams, Tug Wilson, son of Bates Wilson, and Linn Ottinger of the Moab Rock Shop and owner of the first guiding company in the Moab Valley.

“Guides love to make stuff up just to get a laugh or make something more interesting. But Moab has plenty of interesting and hilarious history. So, if you really learn the history you’ll have that information [to tap into as a guide],” Reniger said.

To sign up for Moab History 101: For Guides, contact Mary Langworthy at to schedule a time and date and please relay desired topics for the customized history lesson. The cost of this program includes Museum admission for all attendees, program materials, and instruction. Prices also include 5 free admission passes (a $50 value) for any of your staff to use at a later date for a follow-up museum visit. Prices begin at $250 for a group of 10 and under, $450 for groups of 20 and under. Contact the Museum for a custom quote for groups of over 20.

To become a Member today please visit:

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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