Monday, May 9, 2011

Day at the Museum

One of my "Project Me" goals is to get out and do what I want to do - without talking myself out of it.  I'm not sure why but Thursday I spent sometime online looking up local museums.  I made a list and planned to visit a couple of Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) museum.  Friday morning and early afternoon was busier than anticipated and then I needed to make a trip to Lehi.  But I still wanted to visit a museum.  Lehi has a pretty good natural history museum that I thought my 5 year old nephew would love.  I called my sister and offered to take her son for the day.  Of course she said "Yes" and he and I were on our way.

After a long drive to Lehi, courtesy of I-15 construction, and a quick errand we found our way to the John Hutchings Natural History Museum.  The last time I visited the museum was on an elementary school field trip so I wasn't sure what to expect.  The museum exceeded my expectations.

Tracer in front of the museum
In 1955, John Hutchings and his wife, Eunice, donated their collections of rocks, minerals, fossils, shells, stuffed birds, eggs, Native American artifacts, pioneer items, Wild West guns and other memorabilia to the non-profit Museum corporation to be held in trust for the people of Lehi (Hutchings Museum Pamphlet). The collection continues to grow as others have donated their collections.

The museum is very inviting and kid friendly and well worth the price of admission - $4 for adults and $3 for children.   There are thirteen different displays so there is a little but of something for everyone.  Having an inquisitive five year old with me made the trip fun. Even though I probably missed about 40 percent of the items on display, his wonder and excitement were contagious.

Checking out the Caterpillars in the Butterfly and Insect Hall. 

Signs showing a hand print means the exhibit is "Hands On" - allowing the kids to touch items on display.  In the Bug Hall magnifying glasses are available to help the kids see all the icky bug details.

Petting an Armadillo shell as we walk into the Bird and Egg Room

Comparing his hand to an Allisaurus Claw in the Fossil and Shell Room.
Little Paleontologist
Trace loves dinosaurs and wants to be a Paleontologist so this exhibit was perfect for him.  This activity display was finished the day before our visit and Trace was the first kid to try it out.
With a Camarasaurus bone.
In the Pioneer Room.  He wouldn't go in the cave because there was not a "Hands On" sign.  
Grinding corn (above) and tapping out a beat on a drum (below) in the Native American Room.

In the Wild West Room, I met an interesting man who was looking at the Porter Rockwell* exhibit.  I took a picture of him next to the exhibit and will mail it to him but did not get his permission to post.  The man studies all things Porter Rockwell related and owns the brand Porter Rockwell used for branding his horses.  In a twenty minute conversation, I learned quite a bit about Porter Rockwell, more than what was depicted in the display.

I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  I have been to larger, more expensive, and fancier museums but this one is high on my list of favorites.  I would love to visit again.  To the readers in Utah, I highly recommend taking the kids. You can find directions and more information at HERE.

As we were leaving Trace exclaimed "This is the best day ever!" 

* Porter Rockwell is a colorful and controversial character in the history of the West and the LDS church.  He was characterized as a gun-man and religious zealot.  He was reputed to be the Mormon "Destroying Angel".  He was a lawman and  bodyguard to Brigham Young.  He operated the "Hot Springs Brewery Hotel" ( He is a legend in LDS history and the history of the West.


just call me jo said...

That was a great tour. I'm glad Trace had such a good time. I learn something new every day. I've heard of Porter Rockwell, but didn't know exactly what he did.

M-Cat said...

Years ago, My MIL took us and the kids to that museum. She comes from Hutchings and wanted to share some of her heritage. It was awesome and extremely meaningful. At least to the adults. My kids were brats and thought it was boring.