smithsonian tour

The Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, with 19 museums and the National Zoo in the District of Columbia —has brought one of their many traveling exhibits to Southern Utah.

“The Way They Worked” opened on Saturday, September 16 and will run through Saturday, November 4 at the Cosmopolitan building in Silver Reef, a former boom-and-bust mining town near Leeds, UT which at one time was bigger than St. George.  This display tells the history of technology and transportation in America and the role each played in shaping communities, including Utah’s part in the establishment of national parks and the colonization of the west.

Companion exhibits, a requirement for host museums displaying “The Way They Worked,” includes the opening of a new mining exhibit in the basement of the Silver Reef Museum where local artists and mining experts have come together to create a faux silver mine.  Visitors will begin their make believe experience of traveling deep into the red rock desert at the shaft entrance.  Low-wattage lighting will illuminate the way following a re-created seam of silver ore to the first stop at which visitors will experience sound effects of an actual mine shaft as well as tools used by the miners.  Along the way you’ll also see a miner at work, thanks to the creativity of artist Jerry Anderson.

Other side exhibits – part of the Washington County Works collaboration with the Smithsonian – can be seen at 10 other local museums such as the DUP Museum in downtown St. George and the St. George Discovery Site, St. George Art Museum, St. George Public Library, St. Childrens Museum, the Sears Art Gallery at Dixie State University, all designed to help visitors to and residents of Southern Utah better understand the origins of our communities.

Free Washington County Works lectures, discussions and activities will be held at the Electric Theater, Dixie Academy building, the Pioneer Courthouse and Museum, the Eccles Fine Art Center at DSU and at Leeds Town Hall.

The Smithsonian, with a mission focused on “shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world,” was founded in 1846 with funding from Englishman James Smithson (1765-1829).

We know we haven’t made the same impact on the world as the Smithsonian Institute, but if you are looking for beautiful, affordable home-away-from-home vacation resort rental register online today at for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  You’ll find comfortable living spaces, fully stocked kitchens with all appliances; free-use laundry sets in every  unit; and resort amenities.  Your keys will be waiting!

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