USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum Gearing Up to Celebrate 60 Years


Photo by Jeff Barrett

The USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum is proudly celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and will be launching an exhibit in June that will revolve around the history of the institution and its evolution.

Tim Riley, Director and Curator of Archaeology, stated that the museum covers much of the history and culture from all of the objects surrounding Eastern Utah.

“We tell the history of life on Earth,” stated Riley.

Eastern Utah is famous for rock art, cliff dwellings and dinosaurs, and the museum is fluent in the storytelling. Riley credits it as a great place to orient oneself before going outdoors and enjoying the monuments and state parks.

Riley shared that they are constantly updating the floor plan in the hall of archaeology and have created a timeline from the end of the Ice Age all the way until the arrival of the Spanish. Museum-goers are able to walk through a number of new exhibits there, highlighting the material culture that people left behind as well as the people themselves.

A great highlight to the museum is the dino pit with one of the densest bone beds. Some new exhibits are in the works, also focusing on the history of life on Earth and the history of underwater species.

While COVID-19 presented a struggle as the museum closed for nearly six months, missing out on school tours and heavy visitation times, Riley said they persevered. Thankfully, with USU Eastern, there is a great support system for the museum and they were able to weather the pandemic storm.

The museum is now mostly re-opened to the public with masks required, though the children’s prehistoric explorer’s corner remains closed and touchable exhibitory is off limits. Guided tours are also currently at a standstill, though self-guided tours are welcomed.

There is a number of pricing options with the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum. General admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children. There is also a family rate of $17 for family members of the same household. Groups of five or more can pay $5 for adults and $2.50 for children and there is also an option for a military rate.

USU Eastern staff and students are admitted free of cost and there are also membership rates available for those that wish to frequently peruse the museum. The rates come with exclusive members-only events and discounts in the gift shop. Those rates are $40 for a family and $25 for an individual. For that price, members are invited back the entire year.

Riley stated that the museum is what it is and is in the area because of the community.

“Most of the time when you go to the museum, you’re seeing stuff from all over the world,” shared Riley. “But, most of the stuff you see in this museum is about 100 miles within Price.”

Riley wishes for people to remember that it is part of the community and the staff loves when families bring in their children and visitors from outside the area.

“It’s also been a community center for 60 years.” said Riley.

The USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum is located at 155 East Main Street in Price and can be reached by calling (800) 817-9949.

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