Museum of History and Art in Utah

Dr. Avard T. Fairbanks, artist. Photo by REK Sculpture of Peter and Celestia Peterson who were married for 82 years and both lived into the 100s.
Dr. Avard T. Fairbanks, artist. Photo by REK Sculpture of Peter and Celestia Peterson who were married for 82 years and both lived into the 100s.

A Sentimental Journey

I recently went on a sentimental journey with my father to Sanpete County in Utah. He wanted to drive to where he was born, raised, married and worked. My husband came along, and we taped my father as he recalled places, dates and people that had influenced him through his life. Mother passed away a few years ago, and my father often thinks about her and the relationship they had.

We began our journey in Orem, where my father now resides. He has lived there since I was four years old, so nearly sixty years ago. I must have made this trip from Orem to Sanpete County hundreds of times during my life. But, as I age, I notice different things. The mountains really impressed me this time, with their freshly fallen snow. It was a beautiful sunny day with blue sky and moderate temperatures.

We stayed on Utah’s Heritage Highway I-89 for the first half of our trip and returned on I-15. Founded in 1859, nestled at the northern end of historic, pastoral Sanpete Valley, Fairview is the gateway to Huntington-Eccles Canyons National Scenic byway, I-31. We spent several fun summers up in the Fairview Canyon with my grandparents.

There is a museum in Fairview, housed in two imposing buildings; the 100 year old stone, former school (where my father attended all of grade school), and the Heritage building and more contemporary Horizon Building. This museum is a real treasure. It contains ninety works by world renowned artist Dr. Avard T. Fairbanks.

Giant Mammoth Bones in Fairview Museum Photo by REK
Giant Mammoth Bones in Fairview Museum Photo by REK

Mammoths once roamed Sanpete County

A Life-size cast replica of a skeleton unearthed in 1988, 18 miles east of Fairview at Huntington Reservoir is a Columbian Mammoth. The discovery of this forerunner of our modern elephant, was hidden in the earth for 15,000 years. It has been preserved well. There are also hand carved and crafted historical coaches and carriages. American folk artist Lyndon Graham, is one of the founders of the museum and created many of the displays.

The Heritage Building Photo by REK
The Heritage Building Photo by REK

The Museum Mission

1. is to preserve pioneer and historical artifacts, histories and cultural collections

2. to provide an outlet for creative talent

3. to be an educational center and a source for wonder and vision.


The Museum Goals are

1. to build a strong and stable endowment

2. to create and improve exhibits and cultural exhibitions

3. to improve collections management, and 3) to further develop museum buildings.

The Heritage Building Photo by REK
The Heritage Building Photo by REK
My Grandfather Anderson who was mayor of Fairview.
My Grandfather Anderson who was mayor of Fairview.

Meeting My Relatives

As my father took us through the Fairview Museum of History and Art, there were many pictures on the wall of citizens in the area. He remembered many names, and some of them were our relatives who came from Scotland, and came to receive religious freedom and settled many of the little towns in Sanpete County. My grandfather used to be the mayor of Fairview. He also helped to build many buildings and other structures in the town.

The Museum is open year-round Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. It is located at 85 North 100 East, P.O. Box 157 Fairview, Utah 84629. You don’t expect to see a quality museum in a tiny town like Fairview, but here it is for all to enjoy.

© 2014 Elayne

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billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Thanks for the tour. I love all things related to history.

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