Museums collect, preserve, study and interpret natural and cultural materials that have been assembled according to a collections plan. The vast majority of holdings in National Park Service (NPS) museums are derived from within the park boundaries or from areas closely associated with the parks. NPS museums collect objects specific to the mission of the individual parks and interpret those collections in their original context. The collections pertain to a particular NPS site. A strong association with place continues to distinguish park museums and collections.
Another distinguishing characteristic of NPS museums is that they are part of a larger NPS museum system. The NPS museum system provides broad representation of the heritage of the United States. The scope of the system is wider than most public or private institutions. The NPS museum system is the largest such system in the world.
Arches National Park Museum Collection
The purposes of a cultural resource collection are to preserve a portion of our nation's cultural heritage, to increase knowledge through research, and to provide for exhibits and ranger programs.
The cultural collection from Arches National Park is divided into archeology and history. We do not have an ethnology collection, but an ethnographic study of Arches National Park was recently completed. Cultural collections are desirable only if they have a primary association with the park—originating from within park boundaries or associated with a person or persons significant in park history.
The purpose of the natural history collection is to establish a permanent database of the indigenous and exotic plants in the park for interpretation and research purposes; and to collect and preserve endemic or locally significant animal specimens (skeletal, skins, etc.) for specific interpretation and research purposes. The Arches Natural History Collection consists primarily of specimens for geology, paleontology, significant wildlife specimens, and a herbarium.
The Arches National Park museum collection is primarily housed in Moab, Utah, and Tucson, Arizona. Researchers interested in using the Arches collections should contact the collections manager to find out what we have and where the items are located. Email is the best form of communication.