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Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum Rating: None

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The Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum?s history from a letter, written by Arthur G. Nord of the United States Forest Service in 1942, which convinced the Governor of the State of Utah to create a museum that will showcase the natural history of the state, considering most natural history museums in the country acquired their artifacts from the nearby Uinta Mountains and Uinta Basin.

Three years after, the Utah State Legislative ratified the Senate Bill 141 authorizing the construction of a state-owned museum that will collect, preserve and display natural history pieces including fossil remains of ancient life, among others. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Vernal Lions Club and other members of the Vernal community, the city now has its own museum that showcases the eastern Utah's geologic past and natural history. To start the building of the museum, Governor Herbert B. Maw made the funds available in 1946, and the Utah Field House opened two years later. From its conception to October of 1998, the museum had accommodated more than 6 million visitors.

What makes a visit to the Field House worthwhile are the prehistoric geological, anthropological, and natural history artifacts gathered from the nearby Uinta Mountains and within the Uinta Basin, dating back billions of years ago, which are artistically displayed in the 2,000-square-foot building divided into three exhibit halls and on the garden outside of the museum.

The three exhibit halls are named the Natural Hall, the Anthropology Hall, and the Geology Hall. The Natural Hall displays samples of animal life indigenous to the area, set along a mural that demonstrates how the environment looks like from the highlands of the Uinta Mountains descending into the lower Uinta Basin. The highlight of the Anthropology Hall is the life of ancient and recent Native Americans who inhabited the area, most specially the Fremont Indians who dwelled there from about 700 to 1250 AD. There are also reproductions of local rock art flaunted around the hall, together with Ute handicrafts and cultural pieces emphasized in a special section in the room. The Geology Hall features fossils ranging from algae to dinosaur to more sophisticated mammal fossils which are discovered from rocks that have been existing for more than 600 million years of antiquity. Paintings illustrating the geology of the region are displayed throughout the museum.

The most amazing part of the tour of the museum is the 17 full-sized replicas of prehistoric animals displayed on the Dinosaur Garden outside the museum. Emphasized in the garden are two Moschops, a Stegosaurus and a twenty foot tall Tyrannosaurus. These are among the sculpture works of Elbert Porter acquired by the state of Utah in 1977 for the Fields House. These animals, including the newly added model of a Coelophysis (obtained by the museum in 1993), represent the Pennsylvanian to the Pleistocene eras depicted in the museum. The Field House became a state park in 1959.
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