Heritage & Arts Divisions
The Impact of Our Work
The Division of State History works to strengthen Utah’s economic health, particularly in rural areas. We make communities better places, where people feel at home and grounded in heritage. We foster individual learning, understanding, and excitement about their heritage. We provide tools and assistance to agencies and local governments to help them do their jobs more efficiently. We preserve knowledge and resources for future generations. We provides all services and information as a non-regulatory, business-friendly agency. We are State History.
Preserving and Sharing Utah's Past for Present and Future Generations.
- Awarded $165,100 in matching grants, generating more than $323,000 in historic preservation activity. While mandated to pass-through 10 % of the division’s federal budget to these communities, State History has consistently targeted 20 % of our federal allocation, primarily to rural communities.
- Awarded $25,000 to rural cemeteries to put burial records online.
- Wrote new cemetery grant guidelines to ensure equal access to rural areas for matching grant requirements. New guidelines align with state agencies that fund rural projects.
Utah Historical Society
The Utah Historical Society’s 67th conference keynote analyzed the spread of virus from animals to humans. The journal’s research included public lands in the American West, creating the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in Utah, and Depression-era Navajo photography. The Society commissioned a biographical essay on Henry Sherwood, an early cartographer in the Utah Territory. The Society’s newsletter for the public is quickly growing.
- Uploaded over 49,000 records of all holdings (books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and photograph collections) into the WorldCat databases.
- Received over 725,000 visits to our online collections.
- Moved the cemetery grant process to an online format to increase its efficiency.
- Created a Covid-19 memory project for students.
- Added over 14,000 individual burial records to the database, which now has over 710,000 records.
- Digitized 4,482 archaeological sites and surveys and 15,198 archaeological records.
- Scanned 4,634 historic building records.
- Staff completed two digital exhibits, “Glen Canyon Dam” and “An Enchanted Place: Saltair, 1893-1925” and an online Utah Postcard Collection .
- Worked with the University of Utah to publish on-line the Juanita Brooks Manuscript Collection (24,720 images).
Utah History Day
Statewide, Utah History Day reached 5,226 students, who did their own historical research and then created exhibits, documentaries, performances, papers, or websites. UHD shifted to a virtual model and continued in spite of the pandemic. The State competition hosted over 400 4- to 12-grade students. Native American students from San Juan High School researched the Navajo Code Talkers, persevering through a lack of internet access to submit their documentary to the state and national contests.
Served 5,511 patrons. Processed 228.25 linear feet from 63 collections. Physically shared 177 artifacts, digitally shared 3,243, and accessioned 264 items. Contacted 101 donors. Catalogued 632 new items and removed 496 others. Padded and boxed over 400 textiles that had been on hangers. Identified and organized over 250 sets of architectural drawings. (There can be one to 30 drawings in a set.) Shared artifacts through the "Role Call: Fearless Females in Utah History" exhibit at the Downtown Library, State Capitol, and State Archives.
Created the Utah Public Archaeology Network (UPAN). Accessioned eight sets of ancient human remains and recovered 21 sets of remains and trained 40 law enforcement personnel on ancient human remains recovery. Held six virtual events and eight virtual “watch parties” as part of Archaeology & Preservation Month. Created 25 archaeological and historic building-related videos that have been watched over 8,500 times.
The performance measures tracked by State History are intended to ensure the division continually provides exceptional customer service, engages local historical societies and heritage groups, and shares the state's collection of historic artifacts.
Percent of Section 106 reviews completed within 20 days annually. GOAL: 90 percent.
Percentage of collection digitized and available online, including photographs and artifacts.
Currently under review
The percent of Certified Local Governments actively involved in historic preservation by applying for a grant at least once within a four year period and successfully completing the grant-funded project. GOAL: 60 percent of active certified local governments.
Programs & Budget
State History administration provides the organizational infrastructure for State History and Utah State Historical Society programs and activities. Administration interfaces with federal, state, and local agencies, universities, schools, businesses, and citizens to collect, preserve, document, and steward history, pre-history, history research, and historic preservation as integral parts of economic ecosystems. Annually, State History provides customer access to the library catalogue, historic photograph and artifact collection, cemetery burial database, archaeological resource services, National Register listings, tax credit program, community heritage development tools, and on-line history publications.
Library & Collections
Established in 1897, the Library and Collections program cares for historic documentary materials and artifacts held in trust for the citizens of Utah. These include the state’s collections of 1.5 million photographs, 52,376 books and pamphlets, 9,000 manuscript collections, 380,000 newspapers pages, 48,500 pages of historical publications, and 33,327 maps. Currently patrons have access to 65,000 items through the online catalog along with over 275,000 photos and pages online from 31 separate collections. The Research Center serves 8,000 patrons annually via customer walk-in visits, phone, mail, and e-mail requests.
History Projects and Grants
In 1997, the Utah State Legislature created a mandate for the Division of State History to create and maintain a digital record of all cemeteries and burial locations in the state. State History offer small grants to cemeteries to help digitize their records. Grants are limited to $5,000 maximum and require a 50/50 match, which may include a monetary match or donated goods and services. Final products from the grants may include a database of all burials in the cemetery, a computerized GIS map of the cemetery, or a successful transfer of the cemetery’s database to the Utah Burials Database. In the past year, the burial records of nearly a dozen rural cemeteries were digitized through the grants.
Historic Preservation and Antiquities
The Historic Preservation and Antiquities Programs carry out duties identified in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as well as other related regulations, rules, and policies. Program duties include consulting with agencies and other parties regarding historic and archaeological protection, monitoring work on state and federal tax projects, monitoring other work related to historic preservation and antiquities in the state, and cultural resource management. The program assists communities and individuals with applications for listing in the National Register of Historical Places, which allows access to grants and tax credits. The program works with state and federal agencies, multi-county, county, and municipal governments on grants and technical assistance regarding historic and archaeological sites, areas, and recovery and analysis of ancient human remains. The program provides grants and technical assistance to over 90 local governments that have certified historic preservation programs. The program facilitates community and economic growth and provides quality of life for our citizens by sharing the knowledge of the past obtained from archaeological and historic resources. The program manages historical and archaeological records. By law, all agencies and individuals are mandated to check this data prior to initiating development projects on state and federal lands. All archeological site records are being digitized in order to expedite natural resource and economic development projects.
Public History, Communication, and Information
The Public History, Communication and Information program educates the public about Utah’s vibrant history and the division’s programs. This includes production of Utah Historical Quarterly, published since 1928, and the online publication of the Utah Historical Quarterly, Beehive History, Preservation Magazine, county histories, History Blazer, Utah Archaeology, antiquities selected papers, History of Utah Indians, and 13 other published books on Utah’s history. The program manages the Cemetery Burial and the Markers and Monuments databases. Each year, researchers and members of the public access nearly 675,000 burial records from more than 600 participating Utah cemeteries, and more than 1,200 marker and monument records for genealogical, personal, and commercial research purposes. The Markers and Monuments database support heritage tourism. The program also fulfills the state’s digital government initiatives by providing information and tools on three content-rich websites and by providing needed online tools and database development.
Utah Historical Society
Utah State Historical Society, founded in 1897 and placed under the authority of the Utah Division of State History, is granted authority to solicit memberships, charge dues, and receive gifts, bequests, and donations for the benefit of the state’s history.