The Park City Museum
We are a permanent 501 c (3) nonprofit organization which studies and celebrates Park City’s history through exhibitions, research, preservation, and educational events. We believe that protecting our history helps bridge cultural differences, honors our forbearers, improves our town’s economic vitality and nurtures a shared sense of belonging.
The mission of the Park City Museum is to PRESERVE, PROTECT and PROMOTE Park City’s history and heritage.
The purpose of the Park City Museum (PCM) is to:
- Professionally interpret Park City and regional western history through engaging exhibitions and lively educational events;
- Actively research and record the history of Park City and its environs; and
- Promote and advocate the preservation of Park City’s important history and historic sites
History of the Historical Society & Museum
The Park City Museum is an important part of Park City and the historic landscape of Main Street. The Historical Society was incorporated in 1981 and began with a membership of 15 people. The story of the Museum began with two women: Tina Lewis and Patricia Smith. Tina, a City Council member, persuaded the city to fund a Centennial Exhibit (Park City was incorporated in 1884). Patricia, a local artist, was hired by the city to design and create the exhibit. Many people saw the Centennial Exhibit, which turned out to be a great success.
In 1984, the Historical Society and Museum boards merged to make the Park City Museum a permanent facility on Main Street. In 1988, the Museum offices moved from the gym of the Marsac Building into the upstairs of the historic City Hall building. The 2002 Winter Olympics proved the popularity of heritage tourism and historic destinations, as 25,000 tourists visited the Park City Museum during those 10 days. During strategic planning meetings for the Park City Museum after the Olympics, plans were made for major Museum renovations. A successful fundraising effort raised $8.95 million which led to a two year renovation and expansion.
In October 2009, the Park City Museum opened its doors once again and the Museum continues to receive rave reviews about its first class exhibitions. From its beginnings in 1984 until today, 1.6 million people have visited the Museum. Membership has grown from the original 15 to over 500 active members today. But the work isn’t done at the Park City Museum! We are continually working to create first-class exhibitions, deliver engaging educational programming for diverse audiences, and provide a place the community can call its own.
History of the Building(s)
The Museum is housed, in part, inside the historic City Hall which was built in 1885, one year after Park City was incorporated as a city, at a cost of $6,400. Main Street was flourishing in the late 1880s and many buildings were being built around that time. The City Hall also housed the police and fire departments and the Territorial Jail. The Great Fire of 1898 destroyed much of the building, except for the façade, some walls, and the Territorial Jail. The town rebuilt after the Great Fire at a cost of $1,600. The Whistle Tower was built in 1901 to warn the residents and the volunteer firemen of fire in the area.
Uphill from the historic City Hall, John Diem operated a saddle and harness business. He rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1898, but eventually went out of business in 1909 because of the automobile. Frank Andrew Furniture occupied this building for a brief time. The Horseshoe Bar opened in the building in 1914, but only lasted until 1919 when Prohibition put an end to their business. That same year, the Park City Library moved into the building and stayed until 1982. Today, this building is the entrance to the Museum and Museum Store.