Collections from Utah National Parks

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from every national park museum collection in Utah. We invite you to explore museum collections from Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Natural Bridges National Monument, Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Zion National Park.


Sheep and cattle grazing was an economic mainstay of the Moab, Utah, area for over 100 years, beginning in the late 1870s. Numerous corrals, line shacks, fence remnants, and sheepherder inscriptions dot the landscape of what is now Arches National Park, attesting to the area's importance as a grazing allotment prior to its inclusion in the NPS. This sheep bell was found about a ½ mile east of the Window's section of the park, and is another reminder of the extensive range of these domestic herds.

Arches National Park, ARCH 1218


The small ceramic figurine was collected at an alcove site located within Capitol Reef National Park, It is a classic example of a Fremont Cultural Period ceramic figurine. The unfired ceramic object is composed of pale red sandy clay. The nose of the figurine is characterized by a prominent ridge which extends to the top of the head resulting in a parrot-or owl-beaked form. The eyes are punched circular clay disks placed toward the top and sides of the head. A concave depression extends down the chest.

Capitol Reef National Park, CARE 5066

Beginning in 1925, when Bryce Canyon Lodge was first opened by Union Pacific Railroad's Utah Parks Company, this manual printing press was used by lodge employees to print dining room menus for lodge guests. Because the menus changed daily, dining room patrons were encouraged to take menus home as souvenirs. A luncheon menu from September 1, 1931, is pictured, featuring the daily special: boiled smoked ox tongue. By 1948, this press had been replaced with an electronic press, but dining room menus continued to be produced daily by lodge employees.

“After working all night at the reception desk, my job wasn’t finished until the day’s menus had been printed, the type and printing press had been cleaned, and the used type returned to the proper bins for use in the following day's menus. Only then could I get my much-needed sleep!”

Bryce Canyon National Park, BRCA 6541

This artifact was discovered in a remote part of Canyonlands National Park. Not wanting to unwrap it, the park enlisted the help of Allen Memorial Hospital in Moab, Utah, to X-ray the object to determine the nature of the cordage that was wrapped in a woven Scirpus mat. The cordage turned out to be two separate nets, most likely used as rabbit snares. This roughly 800 year old snare bundle demonstrates how modern technologies and partnerships are opening a new window into the past.

Canyonlands National Park, CANY 34492

Cedar Breaks National Monument highlights a huge natural amphitheater eroded out of the variegated Pink Cliffs of the Claron Formation. Millions of years of sedimentation, uplift, and erosion have created a deep canyon of rock walls, fins, spires, and columns that span more than three miles and 2,000 feet deep. The rim of the canyon is more than 10,000 feet above sea level and a welcome cool retreat in the hot summer months of southern Utah.
This photograph documents the significant park visitation in the mid-1900s, particularly at Point Supreme, the most visited point in the monument. Visitors have been enjoying the spectacular views and the high elevation environment of Cedar Breaks from Point Supreme for decades. Today, Point Supreme is closed to vehicular access, but the view is still fantastic!

Cedar Breaks National Monument, CEBR 659

Dinosaur National Monument is a time machine that we can use to visit the long lost world of dinosaurs. The great fossil bone quarry at Dinosaur National Monument is world-renowned as a place for ongoing scientific and interpretive discovery. The monument was established in 1915 specifically to protect and preserve this great paleontological site. The quarry is an ancient river deposit containing the abundant remains of twelve species of fossil reptiles entombed in a 149 million year-old sandstone. Between 1909 and 1924 the remains of over 450 dinosaurs were excavated from the quarry. During those historic excavations, the exact positions of each of the thousands of bones uncovered were recorded on quarry maps, which are now preserved in the monument's archives. The image shown here is a small part of one of those maps. It records the position of a skeleton of Allosaurus fragilis, the apex predator of its time, as it was unearthed. The grid lines represent four feet on a side. Collected in 1924, the nearly three foot long skull at the top center of the map can be seen on exhibit in the Quarry Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur National Monument.

Dinosaur National Monument, DINO 3007 (map), DINO 2560 (skull)

This ancient sandal, which is possibly up to one thousand years old, was found by a visitor in 2011 while hiking near the edge of the Colorado River Canyon. This physical remnant of ancient people represents the long lasting importance of the river to indigenous people who traveled long distances to commune with this sacred place. Glen Canyon and the Colorado River remain significant for many descendant communities, providing opportunities for people to connect with cultural values and associations that are both ancient and contemporary.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, GLCA 24204

The accurate recording and monitoring of time was of great importance to critical personnel working for the railroads. Track was shared and the precise monitoring of time meant safety. This American Watch Company pocket watch is an 1857 model manufactured circa 1867 and popular with railroad workers. The key wind and set are from the William Ellery movement. The movement describes the specific type of working mechanism, or gears, used in the watch, which included jewels to reduce friction inside the watch. This model of watch included fifteen jewels indicating it was of high grade. The outer case of the watch, which protects the inner mechanisms, is silver. Markings on the case include: DUEBER / COIN / 366346 / with a hallmark of an anchor in a shield.

Golden Spike National Historic Site, GOSP 579

The three large bridges that make up the main attraction at Natural Bridges National Monument have been assigned a number of names through the years. This sign bears the name Edwin, which was an early name for what is now called Owachomo Bridge.

Natural Bridges National Monument, NABR 108

Concessionaires sold soda at the cave entrance during the early 1900s and kept the bottles in the 45-degree cave to keep them cool. This one, found in the cave decades later, must have been misplaced and has been housed in the park collection for years. The American Fork Bottling Works was a nearby business that closed in the 1930s. It is likely the LAST soda still available from this company, and even thought the green color makes us wonder about the flavor, there are no plans to taste it.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument, TICA 3049

Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh (1853-1935) spent the summer of 1903 painting Zion Canyon and the paintings were exhibited in the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Dellenbaugh wrote an article about Zion Canyon titled “A New Valley of Wonders” in the January 1904 issue of Scribners Magazine. Dellenbaugh was both an artist and writer. He served as an assistant topographer with Major John Welsey Powell's second expedition of the Colorado River. In 1876, he left the U.S. to study at the Royal Academy in Munich, Germany, and the Academie Julien, Paris, France. His paintings, article, and other works contributed to U.S. President William H. Taft's proclamation creating Mukuntuweap National Monument, which would later become Zion National Park, on July 31, 1909. ZION acquired this painting in 2008 and in celebration of the park's centennial year in 2009, used it as a centerpiece in an art exhibit highlighting the importance of art in the history and development of the National Park Service.

Zion National Park, ZION 38105

Credits: Story

Park museum staff from: Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Natural Bridges National Monument, Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Zion National Park.

National Park Service, Museum Management Program Staff: Amber Dumler, Stephen Damm, Ron Wilson, and Joan Bacharach.


Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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