Construction on the Hyrum City Museum’s expansion project is close to completion as the museum looks forward to the arrival of a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution next spring.
Museum Director Jami Van Huss said the expansion efforts, which started two years ago after receiving funding through the county’s Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos tax, have been going well, converting previous storage space into permanent exhibit space.
“We’re really close to it being completed,” Van Huss said. “The electrical work is nearly done, and after that we would just need to get the Sheetrock moving forward and painted. We will definitely be ready when the new exhibit comes to us.”
The traveling exhibit, a feature on the many facets of the American workforce titled “The Way We Worked,” is a part of the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program. The program’s exhibits are first featured at the institute’s national archives and then rotated around the United States to be featured at museums in rural areas. Each year, four or five states feature a traveling exhibit as part of the program, with Utah’s turn to host coming in 2017.
The opportunity to host the exhibit was a primary motivator for the museum’s expansion, Van Huss said, and has been a motivator for fundraising efforts. The museum’s Hot Wheels and Hot Dogs car show earlier this month performed well enough for the museum to fund the remainder of the expansion.
In addition, Van Huss said the expansion has also inspired work on a companion exhibit, “Tradition and Innovation Working Together in Hyrum,” to be featured alongside the Smithsonian exhibit this March.
“I’ve been going to monthly workshops since February, working and researching to get this exhibit together,” Van Huss said. “As visitors come in to see the Smithsonian exhibit, it will flow right into our own local contribution that will fit in with the rest of the museum’s exhibits. This whole opportunity has been a catalyst to bring this research to the top of my to-do list, because I’ve had a reason and a deadline to get it together.”
Van Huss said the museum received a grant through the Utah Division of Arts and Museums to hire an additional part-time worker for the museum to help handle the logistics of hosting the exhibit.
“This is the kind of project that usually takes about five or six people to really make happen, so we’re trying to do the same thing with fewer people,” she said. “We’ll always be looking for volunteers.”