‘Snapshot 1880s’ explores the way pioneers worked, paves way for Smithsonian exhibit

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ST. GEORGE — The Arts to Zion Showcase invites the public to join them on a collective journey to explore the way residents of Washington County worked over the last 150 years with a unique exhibit entitled “Snapshot 1880s: The Way Our Pioneers Worked in Washington County.” The exhibit will run from July 13 through Aug. 12 at the Arts to Zion Showcase/Gallery 35, located at 35 Main St., St. George.

The “Snapshot 1880s” exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Silver Reef Museum and the St. George McQuarrie Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum and features some of the pioneers of Washington County. It is the kickoff for the Arts to Zion Showcase year-long series of collaborations with Washington County arts and cultural organizations in preparation for the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street – or MoMS – traveling exhibition “The Way We Worked.”

Brought to Washington County by Utah Humanities, “The Way We Worked” will be hosted by the Silver Reef Museum in Leeds from September to November 2017.

The “Snapshot 1880’s: The Way Our Pioneers Worked in Washington County” exhibit will display the surprising inter-relatedness of the pioneer communities of St. George, Harrisburg, Leeds and Silver Reef and explore how these communities not only co-existed but flourished as a result of those community relations. Displays of photographs and the life and work histories of many of the 1880s pioneers also will be presented.

The exhibit will expose the public to both the Silver Reef Museum and the St. George McQuarrie Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum as resources to learn more about the Southern Utah community and how the work lives of the area’s pioneers contributed to that community.

In keeping with the theme of the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” exhibit, Silver Reef Museum and Arts to Zion will be collaborating with all of the history museums and organizations in Washington County, gathering pieces of the story of how work influenced life in the Southern Utah community over the past 150 years. Special exhibits will be presented throughout the coming year in various Washington County locations in preparation for “The Way We Worked.”

Along these lines, Silver Reef Museum is seeking artifacts, photographs, historic industrial equipment, oral histories and volunteers to develop a more in-depth history and companion exhibit to accompany the actual Smithsonian exhibition in 2017.

“Snapshot 1880’s: The Way Our Pioneers Worked in Washington County,” as well as programming at Silver Reef Museum and McQuarrie Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, have been supported in part by the Washington County Recreation, Arts and Parks tax.

“The Way We Worked” has been made possible in Utah by Utah Humanities. The exhibition, created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

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