Zion National Park’s museum collection preserves and protects over 290,000 objects that represent the natural and cultural history of the park. Since the park's establishment in 1909, rangers have gathered objects for the museum collection. Some of these are on display at the Zion Human History Museum, most, however, are stored in a facility at the park’s headquarters. Far from being sterile specimens, these objects are first hand evidence of our nation’s history, stories of human struggles and triumph, and the amazing and dynamic natural world. It is a living collection used by scientists and educators, and is always expanding with new research and discoveries.
Approximately 22,500 objects are housed in the natural history collection at Zion. Study skins of mammals and birds, insects, paleontology specimens, and plant herbarium represent the biodiversity found in Zion National Park. The incredible diversity of plants and animals found in Zion is one of the unique and significant features of the park. These specimens provide baseline information about the natural environment of the park. This helps scientists and park managers understand how plants, animals, soil, and water were managed in the past and how best to manage them in the future.
The collection of cultural history artifacts provides a window into the lives of the people who have called Zion home. Over 30,000 artifacts tell the story of prehistoric settlement of the region by native Americans, early pioneer settlement and development of the canyon, the historic lodge and the Union Pacific Railroad, projects completed during the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the planning and implementation of the park’s shuttle system. The cultural history collection also includes historic and contemporary works of art of Zion National Park. Significant pieces include paintings by Howard Russell Butler, Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh, Anton Rasmussen, and William Henry Jackson.
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