Saturday, October 8, 2011

Visiting the Great Basin Museum

The Great Basin Museum is located in Delta, Utah.  It contains an eclectic mix of local nostalgia, geology, and national history.

Trilobites in the Great Basin Museum collection

Delta is near many world-class rock, mineral, and fossil collecting sites.  Trilobite beds and Topaz mountain are just a few miles away.  The museum houses samples of trilobites, ancient plant fossils, and an interesting grouping of glowing rocks.  One of the museum docents switched off the lights and showed us the neon colors that appeared in different spectrum lighting.  This is a great stop for the rock hound in your family.

Statehood Flag

This flag was created to display on Utah's Statehood Day - January 4, 1896.  It has 45 stars, as Utah was the 45th state.  At the museum, it hangs near a replica doctor's office featuring items from Dr. Bird's practice.  He was a long time Delta resident and physician.

X-ray machine

After you pass the exhibits about local mining and beryllium, you round the corner and find this oddity.  This x-ray machine was used to see if your shoes fit.  Really!  A child would try on a pair of shoes, and then stand with his/her feet in the machine.  The machine would x-ray, allowing the store clerk (and parent) to see if the shoe really did fit the child's foot!  At some point, someone decided exposure to radiation while shoe shopping was probably not a good idea, and now the machine lives here in the Great Basin Museum.

Another view of the x-ray machine


This switchboard was used for telephone service in town.  A 1949 phone directory is also on display, and my husband had fun locating his grandfather's phone number on it.


Vintage equipment such as typewriters, cash registers, and sewing machines are also on display.  You can stroll past the general store or look in an old school room while you are here as well.

General  Store display - Great Basin Museum

Seeing so many everyday items preserved makes one think at what point is something "museum quality" and when is it "old junk?"  This place gives a snapshot of an era, and perhaps that is what all museums do.  After all, is it really that different to look at tools found in an archeological dig, or tools your great-grandfather used?

Folk art piece

These sculptures made from old hammers were fun to look at.  This museum has a little bit of everything.  Once you are through browsing the interior, take a walk outside.  The exhibits continue behind the museum building.

Farm equipment

Outside, old pieces of farm equipment are artfully arranged.  This area of the museum also houses a barracks from the Topaz Relocation Center where 8,300 Japanese Americans lived during World War II.  

Steampunk Zen Garden?

Where's Superman?  Phone booth at the Great Basin Museum

If you are in Delta, the Great Basin Museum is located at 328 W. 100 North.  It is open Monday through Friday from 10 - 4, and on Saturdays from 1 - 4.  It is also open Memorial Day and July 4, but is closed on other major holidays and Sundays.  This is a great stop to explore a little local history, both prehistoric and recent!

1 comment:

  1. What a fun trip. It brought back memories of my childhood visits to Delta.