Programming Summary 2007

Our Mission

The mission of the American West Heritage Center is to educate, entertain and enlighten our audiences by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the heritage and history of the American West, 1820 – 1920 by providing “slices” of life-ways and experiences from the perspective of individuals and families that lived in the Great Basin and Intermountain Region. The Heritage Center is an outdoor museum of history and folk life. One of the greatest resources of any nation is the shared history of its people. The American West possesses rich and varied traditions, but these are currently in danger of being lost in the chaos and confusion of our contemporary lives. The American West Heritage Center exists to collect, preserve and foster these traditions and to create interest in our history among the younger generations by providing hands-on, interactive “living history” experiences, lively demonstrations, engaging exhibits, and other programs. The cultural, generational and ethnic diversity of the United States contributes greatly to the quality of American life; when we explore our diversity, we learn more about each other, and ourselves and as we learn, we become stronger. Through the Heritage Center’s research efforts, public performances, relations with the media, educational programs, on-site exhibits and the associated documentation that we keep concerning these historical projects, we further our mission: To keep the history of the American West alive and, through community education and entertainment, to encourage inter-generational and inter-cultural communication and understanding.

Our Vision

The American West Heritage Center stands on the threshold of becoming one of the most important living history museums both in Utah and in the United States as a whole. The Heritage Center will develop as a source of regional pride, and will become a national educational resource for the study of the history and diverse cultures of the American West. The Heritage Center will become a “destination,” attracting tourism to the state of Utah and helping build the local economy. The Heritage Center’s relationship with its major partners, the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and Utah State University, provides powerful connections with both the area’s indigenous people and with an institution of higher learning that is recognized around the world.

To accomplish its mission of educating, entertaining and enlightening visitors about the West from 1820 – 1920, the American West Heritage Center has several programs in place for wide and specialized audiences, and for formal and informal learners.

General Philosophy

Programming includes any ways in which the American West Heritage Center interfaces with the public. Through activities and exhibits, the programs we undertake serve to educate, entertain, and enlighten visitors.


First and foremost, the Center’s programs evolve around education. The historic venues and programs work to educate visitors about the peoples who made up the American West, particularly the Intermountain West region, between the years of 1820 to 1920. The programs are designed to engage people in an entertaining atmosphere to help them recognize the importance of this time period, and the significance of learning the life ways of peoples of the past. Visitors can construct knowledge for themselves through our historical reenactments and demonstrations, workshops, lectures, school outreach, and exhibits.


Research has shown that entertainment is an important factor in today’s learning process. We have found that people will learn more if done through an entertaining atmosphere. More and more museums are facing the challenge of finding ways to integrate entertainment in their programming. The AWHC was founded on the premise of experiential education, or “edutainment” as it has come to be called. Hands-on learning, actual games and pleasant activities, and the arts all contribute to ways in which entertainment is incorporated into our programming.


Just as important as entertainment is to the education process is the emotional connection visitors can build with curriculum material. By educating visitors in ways that connect with them emotionally, enlightenment can take place. We encourage scholarly discussion, hands-on learning, and life-changing experiences. Visitors are our products where they have the opportunity to construct knowledge, be entertained, simply enjoy the aesthetics of the heritage Center, or have a total immersion or escape experience. Through this process, we can help create an emotional experience for all types of learners.

History and Heritage

There are two main categories into which programming activities fall: history-oriented and heritage-oriented activities. History-oriented activities seek to portray and communicate historical events and activities using authentic and/or vintage tools, devices and methods. Heritage-oriented activities seek to portray and communicate life ways and methods that recall the life ways and methods of the past with or without the use of vintage or authentic tools, devices and methods. While the making of holiday ornaments using vintage tools and methods would be history-based, the mere act of making one’s own holiday ornaments is heritage-oriented, since the activity was frequently done in the past. Both are appropriate for the programs here at the Heritage Center, and both are vital in the creation of educational, entertaining and enlightening experiences. In most cases, the two categories overlap. Certainly, many of the strongest of our programs would include both history- and heritage-oriented components.

Formal and Informal Learning

There are two major categories of visitors to the Heritage Center as well: informal and formal learners. Formal learners visit the Heritage Center with the deliberate intention of learning something. Programs that tailor themselves to formal learners are often deliberately formal in their educational premises as well, such as programs for school classrooms, special workshops, lectures, and other activities in which there is a formal “teacher” and “learners.” Informal learners certainly appreciate building knowledge for themselves, but learning that takes place for these individuals is not as structured. Our programming for 2007 will include activities for both informal and formal learners. Formal learning activities will include workshops, lectures, and our new Heritage Ways Conference, as well as the perennial school groups and summer camps. Informal learning will take place during festivals, daily programming, and other activities.


Management Cooperation & Planning

The approach to any of our programs follows a model that includes each Heritage Center director in the process. While the Program Director usually drives the process by initiating ideas for plans and activities (“This is what we will do…”), the Education Director makes sure a pedagogical component is clearly articulated and achieved (“This is what we will learn…”). The Site Director also adds vital input on any program by initiating the determination of the look and feel of the program as well as the artifacts that will be used (“This is what it will look like, and these are the artifacts that will be used…”). The Development Coordinator or Finance Director, inquires as to how the program could or should be funded (“This is how much it will cost and this is where the funding will come from…”). These four directors working in cooperation with each other will then determine the best possible ways and means for initiating, accomplishing, and improving major programming tasks. Finally, the Executive Director oversees the general process in its entirety and is responsible for procuring support and resources for approved projects and programs and for the Heritage Center as a whole from major partners, stakeholders, sponsors, supporters, and other sources.

Chains of Venue

One of our objectives in our planning is to ensure that the things we do at the Heritage Center is on a clear chain of venue, proceeding from our four main interpretive areas and becoming more specialized and in-depth within these areas: Most of our activities will ultimately be linked to our 1917 Farm, Pioneer area, Fur Trade area or Native American area. Occasional programs that might not fit in these areas might include topics or themes such as ancient Native American lifeways or other folk life areas such as mining or railroading. As activities or events become more specialized, we understand that our audience becomes narrower. Expecting this allows us to use resources responsibly and engage in better planning processes. Festivals have the broadest appeal, but even these large events will usually be linked to our four main areas of interpretation.


Daily Adventures

Daily Adventures, the everyday programming found at the Heritage Center, is arguably the most important program we offer the public. As an outdoor museum of folk life and heritage ways, Daily Adventures is the program that meets the goals of our mission most effectively, and as such, becomes the Heritage Center’s raison d’etre. It is the “face” of our programming, since it is the most visible and regular occurring throughout the year to tourists and local visitors. Through living history demonstrations, visiting fine and folk artists, presentations, hands-on experiences, and other engaging activities, visitors are immersed in an experience that recalls the life ways of the past.

Daily Adventures has been made up of four distinct sites, with a fifth to be added (as a pilot program) in 2007: (1) the 1917-based Jensen Living Historical Farm; (2) a pioneer site, exploring the period of the 1850s and 1860s; (3) a fur trade site, representing the ways of the so called Mountain Men; (4) a Native American site, in which life ways of American Indians from the region are presented; and (5) a frontier town, where myths of the west will be uncovered and explored, including gunfighters. This last site will be new for 2007 and will only operate a few key hours during any week, usually during bus tours; as a pilot program, we intend to see how popular and well received it will be.

For 2007

New to 2007 is the formal acquiring of fine and folk artists and other guests. These individuals will demonstrate and workshop fine and folk arts. Folk arts and crafts from the period are being sought, but the fine arts are a remarkable and effective means of accessing and interpreting the past. Visiting Artists and Guests will generally present two workshops/demonstrations per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon to reach as many visitors as possible. As these artists become anticipated by the community, we feel confident that we will see a greater turnout of local visitors and repeat visitors. These artists will also greatly enhance the Heritage Center’s reputation as a place of excellence and learning.

Visitors will receive a daily program of events and a map of the site to help guide them in finding activities and other things to see and do. As visitors are led to various events and activities throughout the day, this will allow us to use staff and resources more effectively, and at the same time allow visitors to feel a sense of being taken care of. Children will receive a “Pastport,” a small book filled with activities and places for “Pastport” ink stamps to help engage them and encourage them to see everything—even if it takes repeated trips.

Eventually, we would like Daily Adventures to be “The Festival of the American West—Everyday,” and so be festive, active, fun, entertaining, and pedagogically centered.

Each site will feature several essential elements.
  1. Historic interpreters will present material to visitors in both formal and informal ways based on a script of possible topics to cover. These interpreters will be using a story-based and activity-based approach to help visitors discover the past. As they tell stories of real people and events, and as they actively demonstrate living history using authentic, vintage tools and artifacts, visitors are engaged and entertained while being enlightened and educated.
  2. Visitors will also have the chance to do some kind of craft, skill, and/or artistic activity to help engage them further and to help them construct knowledge about the life ways presented.
  3. On a rotating basis, each site will host a daily celebration of some kind, such as a tea party, a handcart trek, a tipi party, pioneer games, or some other festive mini-event where festive heritage-oriented activities will take place.
  4. Each site will have some kind of animal interaction appropriate to its theme.
  5. Interpretive and directional signage will accompany each site, making it possible for visitors to construct knowledge in several ways and augmenting the live interpretation. Signage also makes it possible for a site to be at least partially explored when interpreters cannot be present.
  6. Throughout the season, visiting guest artists or craftspersons will, in their combined totality throughout the season, represent each site with equivalent frequency.
  7. Each site will be family friendly and appeal to a wide age range.
Visitor Scenario

The experience of the visitor to Daily Adventures will be dynamic, varied through time (to encourage repeat visits), informative, and fun. Long term goals for Daily Adventures include operating the sites listed above.

The visiting family, as an example in this case, first parks and notices the well-maintained plant beds there, with antique machinery peppered amongst the shrubs and flowers. Upon approaching the Welcome Center, the family stops at the kiosk near the main walk and notes the upcoming events and activities to take place there. Family members also make note of upcoming events in the community. As the family enters the Welcome Center, the visitors go to the reception desk and purchase tickets for the day. Upon purchasing tickets, they are given a daily schedule and a map of the site. The children are given a “Pastport,” listing things to see and do, and containing fun activities—as they experience the Heritage Center’s various sites and activities, they can get their “Pastport” stamped. The receptionist enthusiastically calls attention to the special events of the day, and perhaps her favorite areas to explore. She might circle these on the map or schedule. Seeing the kids, she may also suggest a few activities that would particularly interest them. She also notes upcoming events at the Heritage Center, such as a festival, special event, and/or Big Horse Adventures.

The visitors are then guided to the rear of the Welcome Center where they move through the exhibit hall area, noting displays about Native Americans, the Fur Trade, early Pioneers and early 20th century farming and agriculture. These exhibits relate directly to the sites they will soon visit. (Visitors who came for only a few minutes would be able to see what the Heritage Center was all about through these exhibits). They also pause at other displays; one was created by a local 5th grade classroom about early settlers of Cache Valley, another is a brief exploration of heritage cheese-making. The family would spend several minutes exploring the larger rotating exhibit, which at this time is a collection of photos and text about Barrier Canyon style Native American pictographs. The kids enjoy looking at the interactive computer display on the large flat screen. They pull up onto the screen several towns in northern Utah and read information about them. They are especially interested in their town’s history, so they spend an extra few minutes reading and examining old photos.

Upon exiting the rear doors of the Welcome Center, the visitors encounters several displays that show the Wellsville Mountains, which they can clearly see, and they enjoy reading brief stories about them. They then instantly see the Native American area to the south, overlooking Rendezvous Creek. A nice archway frames the path and identifies the site and time period of exploration. They can also readily see some of the sponsors of that particular site posted on attractive, oversized arrowheads on the archway posts. An interpreter greets the family warmly as they enter. He is building a drum from natural materials, using skills and techniques of the past. He explains what he is doing, and shows the family a finished drum, which he plays adeptly. He invites the visitors to play it, too. The interpreter then points out various tidbits of family life for a Shoshone family in the first half of the 19th century, and tells several short stories about a particular family from that era that help to ground the visitors’ experience. As he explains the roles of various family members, he invites the children to participate in those roles to try them out. They do so and find great fun with the activities. The interpreter then invites the visitors to do other activities, such as throwing a tomahawk or doing some beadwork or other craft (that they can make for a nominal extra fee). The entire process is finished in about 30 minutes or longer, depending on the visitors’ interest and activities, and the family moves on down the path to the east, where it encounters a fur trade encampment.

A mountain man greets them. He is working on sewing some clothes with sinew; he is making a new coat for the upcoming winter. Like the Native American interpreter, he tells stories about the fur trade, and especially about a few specific individuals that made their mark in the northern Utah/intermountain area. At his suggestion, the family goes down the hill to the river, where they set traps in the water. The kids enjoy getting their feet wet. He also invites the visitors to engage in activities and crafts that enlighten them to the ways and life of a fur trader. Again, some of the crafts can be made with an extra nominal fee. The fur trade experience also lasts about 30 minutes, or longer, depending on the visitors’ interests and activities.

The visitor and her family are ready to go to the next site: the pioneer village, but they notice on their daily schedule that a visiting artist—a storyteller—is giving a special workshop. This sounds fun, so they move past the pioneer village and to the 1917 farm where the storyteller is getting ready to begin in a lovely shaded area on the lawn. There are benches, but the children seem to want to sit on the grass near the storyteller. After telling a few short stories, the storyteller helps the family build storytelling skills in a hands-on, fun workshops using drama and storytelling games. When the workshop is over, the visitors notice that it’s time for lunch. Luckily, lunch is being served right there at the farm in addition to the nice café on the site. To their delight, they have to grind their own peanut butter and smash their own berries to make jam for their sandwiches, which they enjoy immensely.

During lunch, the family had noticed several picnic tables in the shade by the small creek. The mother makes a mental note to use the picnic facilities on some later occasion. For now, however, they are content to eat in the shade by the farm house.

Once lunch is finished, the family continues down the path once again and soon comes upon the pioneer village where pioneers, apparently, have only recently settled. A covered wagon is still there, as well as a few handcarts. Structures are made from logs and are soundly build, though a bit rustic to be sure. The family has fun exploring these structures. Similar to the Native American and Fur Trade sites, the interpreters at the Pioneer site tell stories of a specific pioneer family and engage the visitors in activities of the period congruent to the visitors’ interests. Once again, they are given the opportunity to make crafts at a nominal charge.

The kids want to ride on ponies at this time, so they make their way back to the farm and do so. When they are finished, they remain at the 1917 farm and clamber into the house. An interpreter there is making cakes for the upcoming Tea Party. The family helps her make some finishing touches to things before she puts them into the oven. She tells the family all about the old kitchen and gives the visitors a quick lesson on how to use the wood burning stove. She tells stories about the Wyatt family to put things into context. The family has fun exploring the house, and the interpreter is on hand to tell more stories and give friendly explanations about life in 1917. Once again, the family has the opportunity to do a craft that they can take with them. They go outside where a demonstration of an antique tractor gets their attention. They watch as it puffs and steams—and plows a furrow on a demonstration field. They also notice another tractor. This one isn’t running, but a gentleman is there painting it. As the family investigates, he explains that the tractor is currently being restored. He shows photographs of how it should look when he is finished.

It’s still about a half hour until the Tea Party begins, so the family decides to head on over to the Frontier Town. There are a couple of gunfighters there, and the visitors are greeted with a smile. Unlike the other sites, the Frontier Town seems to be a mixture of Hollywood and reality. The gunfighters explain how the myth of the Old West was created and communicated and how it built over time. After explaining the value of the myth of the Old West, they then tell stories of real gunfights that occurred that seem more mythic than can possibly be in real life. The visitors are given a chance to shoot some guns in a safe arcade, get photos of themselves taken in jail or in front of one of the Frontier Town’s facades, and do a number of other activities such as send a telegraph message or pan for gold.

The visitors make it to the Tea Party just in time. The children are taught Victorian manners, and they have snacks and play games. It is enjoyable to learn about the life ways of the past, even when playing.

When the Tea Party finishes, the families sees that another workshop by the visiting artist is to take place. They sit as before and listen to the storyteller spin some tales, give more storytelling tips, and play more drama and storytelling games.

It was not hard for the family to notice the amazing playground, which looks like a miniature Heritage Center. They decide to go explore it and discover that it is made up of several mini-areas that seem to mimic the sites they have visited throughout the day. A Native American area, Fur Trade, Pioneer, and Farm area are all there with representative structures and play equipment, plus a large, log fort to climb all over. Swings, slides, monkey bars and other apparatus are ingeniously mixed into the structures. The kids especially think this playground to be truly unique, and they play here for quite some time.

After the playground, the family, examining the map, decides to explore the animal petting area. There are more animals here than at each of the sites, and the children have fun seeing so many different kinds animals in one place.

The visitors, having had a full day, are tired, but fulfilled at having seen five venues, made their own lunch, explored some static exhibits, rode ponies and enjoyed some workshops. As they leave, they move back through the Welcome Center, where they purchase a few souvenirs. They leave with smiles on their faces and a desire to return to see a different artist in the future, enjoy more pony rides, and explore the various sites further. The parents make a note to visit the restaurant on site for a date in the near future. As they head back to their car, they make note of a few events on the kiosk and then scan the Heritage Center through the trees, recalling many happy memories.


The festival events found at the American West Heritage Center give it a chance to present extra sites and venues and the opportunity to market its other programs. Festivals are organized to appeal to the widest audience possible, while still retaining a commitment to the mission statement. There are two large festivals scheduled for 2007. They create curricular “bookends” for the Heritage Center’s summer season.

  1. Baby Animal Days takes place over Easter weekend. This festival focuses on the roles of animals in the life ways of the past. Certainly, it must be admitted that many family come just to snuggle with baby animals. However, each year we try to amplify the pedagogical objectives of this festival to better comply with our mission. This festival provides an excellent opportunity for marketing our coming season.
  2. The Spirit of '47 Pioneer Jubilee is almost a festival; it is certainly a special event that features amplified programming in the pioneer area. It is held near Pioneer Day in July.
  3. Fall Harvest Festival takes place over Utah Education Association (“UEA”) Weekend, which becomes a school holiday for Utah students. This festival easily meets our mission as harvest activities are demonstrated in lively ways. We partner with the Bear River Heritage Area, which provides vendors and demonstrators of heritage-oriented goods and services. The Corn Maze, described below, runs concurrently, and visitors can purchase a “combination” ticket to experience both attractions.
  4. A Winter Frolic Frontier Christmas Event is a smaller festival that features holiday music, Christmas crafts, Christmas living history, and other components such as March of the Socks, the Victorian Christmas Feast and the Winter Ball.
  5. A Native American Arts & Stories Festival may be planned in cooperation with the Northwest Band Shoshone and will be, for all intents and purposes, an arts festival featuring Native American works of art and performances. The intent of this festival is to have a national scope and appeal.

Special Events

As special guests visit and/or partnerships occur with the Heritage Center, it is often possible and desirable to organize special events around these guests and partners. As such, these Special Events are in direct correlation to the various interpretive venues that make up Daily Adventures, becoming an extension of them in many ways. Special holidays and other regionally significant dates may also prompt a special event. Some examples of previously held special events are the Annual Horse Parade, American West Art Show, American West Heritage Quilt Collection Show, the Old Time Heritage Fiddle Contest, Historical Fashion Show, and music and storytelling concerts. These events would usually play to a narrower audience than a festival, but they could include formal or informal learning, or both.

Bus Tours

The Bus Tour program at the Heritage Center allows visitors a chance to see multiple sites and engage in several interpretive venues with or without the addition of lunch and a wagon ride. Visitors on a bus tour often desire a more formal, planned presentation at each venue, though we have noted that some free time is also appreciated. For 2007, we will be including a Frontier Town/Gunfighter venue for some bus tours. All venues comply with the descriptions given in the Daily Adventures area above. An exciting development in bus tours is the increasing tendency for these tourists to stay in the area for the evening, with the Heritage Center often acting as a booking agent for local lodging. These bus tours have the flexible advantage of attending some of our other events such as Big Horse Adventures or other special events that may be taking place. The increase of bus tours is one of the Heritage Center’s goals for the future. What we offer is of great value to these tourists who are touring for the express purpose of exploring the West.

Heritage Ways Conference

New to 2007, this conference will focus on heritage ways of the past and emphasize their relevance and practicality in our contemporary lives. Speakers, scholars, and experts will present papers, workshops, and other sessions in order to educate and enlighten participants. A specific theme will be chosen for the conference each year. Presenters will be asked to provide papers or summaries or a video document for online publication on our website so others can benefit from their expertise. The intended audience is wider than a purely scholarly conference, though certainly not as wide as a festival. It will be mostly for adult formal learners.

Corn Maze

The Corn Maze is a favorite attraction at the American West Heritage Center through October. We have established a new model for this attraction that includes inviting other non-profit groups to team with us in producing it and related attractions such as a Haunted Hollow, Scarecrow or Ghost factory, vintage horror movie theatre, etc. We also partner with the Halloween Light Park, which will display over 200 special light fixtures for the event.

The Corn Maze itself features two mazes, a large maze spread out over several acres and a smaller maze for young children. To meet our mission, our large maze for 2007 will feature not only a fun maze design, but also interpretive displays and pioneering structures such as rope and log bridges and zip lines to traverse pits and crevasses. A “hay mountain” will be found in its center, with tunnels and safe climbing areas. It will also feature pioneering “rides” in its center such as a tipi swing and timber carousel. The smaller maze for children will begin by winding its way through a field of grain, coming upon a center similar to the larger maze with a timber and lashing playground and hay fort through which children can tunnel and on which they can climb.

Big Horse Adventures

This wagon ride/dinner theatre is a partnership with Big Horse Adventures. We’ve simply taken the name of the partner for this activity. Big Horse Adventures takes place weekly during our summer season, and by special reservation. It includes a wagon ride through the Heritage Center grounds for visitors, an exciting robbery reenactment, a dutch oven dinner, and entertainment. Local bands and cowboy poets have often supplied the entertainment for Big Horse Adventures. In 2006, the Heritage Center added the Rendezvous Creek Players, a small theatre troupe that performed short comedy melodramas based in the Heritage Center’s period of exploration. We anticipate that the Rendezvous Creek Players will be a standard option for Big Horse Adventures, and that the Heritage Center will be able to use these performers in other ways throughout the summer season as well.

There are several goals and standards associated with Big Horse Adventures:

  1. The food must be of the highest quality
  2. The entertainment must be a good value: it must be excellent and affordable.
  3. Safety must be stressed for the wagon rides and other activities and only qualified drivers may drive the wagon teams.

Handcart Treks

Certainly, the handcart pioneers made an indelible impact on the legacy of the old West. Our Handcart Trek experience simulates for larger groups the experiences of these pioneers—without the tragedy that accompanied a few of the handcart companies in the past. We provide handcarts, trained staff, a challenging course, food, and other options such as speakers and re-enactors to groups wishing to participate. Most instruction during the treks is given by the participating groups. Treks can last from 2 to 5 or more days. They are tailored to a relatively narrow audience.

There are several goals and standards associated with Handcart Treks:

  1. Safety must be stressed for all participants. (a) While we indicate to participating groups that we do not provide first aid supplies, we need to supply them anyway as a back up. (b) the Trek course should be challenging, but it should also be reasonably safe; clear safety guidelines must be given to participating groups and then followed. (c) Our staff needs to be attuned to the participants’ levels of activity to ensure safety and remind group leaders to be aware of each individual’s needs. (d) Our staff needs to ensure that participants behave in a safe manner.
  2. While groups usually provide the more spiritual aspects of Handcart Treks, our role is to provide infrastructure and free times so groups may do their own activities.
  3. We need to be flexible to the needs and desires of each participating group.

Overnight Adventures

Similar to Handcart Treks, we provide lodging infrastructure for groups wishing to participate in Overnight Adventures. Tipis or tents, fire pits, and a lovely setting are established and maintained; groups can then lodge for an evening or more. Groups can optionally take advantage of the re-enactors, speakers, demonstrators or other presenters to whom we have access.

Education Programming

School Groups

As an open-air museum of history and folk life, the American West Heritage Center is in a unique position to offer an experiential historical learning environment for students Pre-12th grade. Through this program students explore the culture and history of the Shoshone tribe both before and after white settlement, the life and traditions of early Utah explorers and fur trade traders, an 1860s pioneer settlement, and a World War I era family farm. Each venue offers an experience-oriented interpretation of a major developmental period important in the settlement of Northern Utah and the West.

Annually, this program serves almost 10,000 students in a 125 mile radius from the Heritage Center and has become and invaluable resource to the 86 participating schools that represent 12 different Utah and Idaho school districts, as well as a number of private and home schools. Each program’s curriculum has been carefully designed to address Utah Core Curriculum standards and to be a resource for teachers who find themselves with increasingly less time to cover social studies elements in their classrooms.

In an effort to increase resource accessibility to teachers and to reach schools outside of the feasible travel distance, the American West Heritage Center is developing its first-ever Education Outreach Program. The Outreach Program will offer four thematic curricula that correspond with the American West Heritage Center’s four historical venues and will consist of three outreach components: an interactive CD-ROM, a Lending Box, and Visiting Classroom Specialist. In 2007 the Education Department will work closely with the NW Band of Shoshone and other partners to execute the first stage of the Outreach Program development. This will include a Shoshone Lending Box, a Classroom Specialist, and content development for the interactive CD-ROM, as well as a Fur Trade Lending Box and Classroom Specialist.

Summer Camps

Summer is the best time of the year to explore the American West Heritage Center, and at our week long day camps, kids ages 6-12 get to do just that – explore. Not only do kids explore history as they participate in one of our three historically themed camps, but also the world around them as they learn about and try edible plants, discover characteristics of wild animals and domesticated farm animals, experiment with cooking over an open fire, and try their hand at any number of crafts and games.


The “Professional Academy for the Teaching of History in Schools” (PATHS II) is a partnership among Logan City School District, Cache County School District, Early College High School, Utah State University and the American West Heritage Center dedicated to improving the quality of American history instruction in their schools and in other public schools across the state of Utah through an engaging program of teacher professional development. PATHS II 2007 schedule includes:

  • Democracy in America -The video course comes from the Annenberg Project. It is composed of 15, half-hour episodes dealing with topics on American government.
  • Columbia American History On-Line E-seminar on Eisenhower and the Stable Fifties
  • 2007 Summer Academy— The Summer Academy consists of a two-week History Survey Course, a one-week seminar, and a one-week special-topics course. All three session will focus on teaching history through literacy.


Exhibits provide an introduction to the American West Heritage Center and further fill the mission of helping visitors explore the many facets of life that made up our period of exploration. Exhibits can be found in the Welcome Center or at any or all of the historical sites we interpret. There are several types of exhibits that make up our exhibit program.

  1. Historical exhibits introduce visitors to topics or themes associated with specific events, movements, or activities from the past.
  2. Heritage-oriented exhibits introduce visitors to materials and methods that recall the life ways of the past but that still have value today.
  3. Fine and Folk Art exhibits help to interpret historical and/or heritage subjects through the lens of artists’ points of view. The great role of art is one of interpretation and invitation, and these exhibits provide great value to what we do.

Exhibits can be created from artifacts from our own collection, or can be borrowed, rented, or acquired in other ways. In 2007, we will partner with other organizations to create some of the exhibits that will be shown at the Heritage Center. Examples are local classrooms, businesses, local city councils, artist groups, and others.

Workshop/Lecture Series

Regularly held workshops and/or lectures will be held at the American West Heritage Center at least once per month. These will center on historical or heritage-oriented topics appropriate to our period. Experts will visit and present material on a wide range of topics, however, the intent is to provide further exploration of one of our sites through these lectures and workshops. Workshops and lectures vary in length depending on the presenter and subject matter.

Heritage Day Tours

A pilot program we will be starting, the American West Heritage Center will be organizing two Heritage Day Tours in 2007. This will involve providing a driver/tour interpreter who will drive visitors to various locations in the area as a day trip, giving participants in-depth history about local places and topics. A heritage food-ways tour, for example, might visit local food artisans to see how these heritage foods are processed. A heritage church tour would visit many of the historical churches and religious buildings in the area. Likewise, a Native American sites tour would visit sites significant to Native Americans in the area such as the Bear River Massacre site and other sites.

Outreach Programs

In our efforts to be a resource for the community, the American West Heritage Center will embark on a vigorous outreach program in 2007. We will visit schools, classrooms, senior groups, and other organizations in order to bring our knowledge to the people. The Education Department is planning a “Traveling Trunk” with artifacts that help the Heritage Center engage learners and listeners while “on the road.” Other material will also be used such as historical games and activities, simple lectures, storytelling, reenactments, Chautauqua performances, and other methods, depending on the audience.

Key Strategic Focus Areas

1. We must continue to add and enhance sustainable revenue streams such as activities, events, services and products that continually generate revenue for the center and continue to develop new ideas for development.

2. We will continue to create and develop outstanding programming and visitor experience that encourage repeat sales.

3. We must continue to use the brand for the center that has been established that identifies, sets apart and establishes the American West Heritage Center as a one-of-a-kind heritage destination experience.

4. We will work to increase our market share of Utah’s visitors, school groups, tour bus groups and conferencing opportunities and create and implement pricing strategies that will both increase our market share and financial strength.

5. We will work to improve our customer service through better training of our staff and work to ensure that our customers have the best experience available and that they leave with a desire to come back and also recommend the Heritage Center to others.

6. We will work to maintain our facilities and grounds to make the Heritage Center an attractive place to visit.

7. We must accelerate our investment in our most important asset, staff, through competency development, fair compensation, and increases in productivity.

8. We will continue to invest in the infrastructure and physical facilities as capital is raised and monitor the needs on an annual basis.

9. We must continue to look for opportunities to increase net worth as an organization through development. This includes memberships, annual giving, capital campaigns, endowments, planned giving, sponsorships, grants, managing and expanding constituent base, estates planning and in-kind donations.

10. We must continue to attract quality trustees, committee members, and national advisory council members to promote the Center as spokespersons within their communities and environment.

Key Success Factors

Key Success Factors are resource programs or products that the AWHC must have in order to succeed in this industry.

1. Unique, authentic and culturally exciting products

  • Stimulating programs, including specifically designed programs to attract children
  • Appealing and well presented exhibits from our collection and other reputable sources
  • Comfort services
  • Variety of options including overnight opportunities and adventures
  • Beautiful and well-maintained facilities and grounds
  • Food Services
  • Shopping opportunities
  • Accessibility
  • Signage (interpretive & directional)

2. Development and Funding

  • Constituent database and management
  • Viable membership program
  • Increased donor base
  • Increased government, corporate and individual giving
  • Implemented planned giving programming
  • Increased sponsorships

3. Marketing and Sales objectives that will develop and implement the best growth strategies

  • Market research and identification
  • Develop a customer database and tracking system
  • Customer Feedback
  • Well trained and highly productive staff
  • Strong network with tourism industry
  • Develop and implement new products
  • Advertising and public relations that motivate purchase

4. Information Systems

  • Reservation system
  • Upgraded computers
  • Network capabilities
  • Upgraded Financial Software with backup capabilities

5. Effective management training and continuing education

6. Human Resources

  • Pleasant, courteous and friendly employees
  • Effective labor supply
  • High level of labor productivity
  • Experienced managerial know-how
  • Fair compensation for staff and visiting artists and guests
  • Highly trained and extensive volunteer base and system I
  • Internships, projects, work-study and other USU student services
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