Valentine’s Day Art Conversation explores history of love and marriage, Honeymoon Trail

ST. GEORGE – A Valentine’s Day Art Conversation on Saturday, Feb. 14, will feature Dr. Doug Alder who will discuss Pioneer Love Stories and the Honeymoon Trail. Beginning at 1 p.m. at the St. George Art Museum,  Alder will share the traditional day of romance with wit, wisdom and historical knowledge gained during nearly three decades in university classrooms. From the podium, the college professor will lead a lively discussion about love and matrimony in the earliest days of Southern Utah’s settlement. A few of his stories are taken from pioneer journals, but many, passed from generation to generation, are well known and have become local folktales.

Alder will also discuss the history of the Honeymoon Trail, 400 miles of rugged, desert terrain which one traveler described as, “no place fit for a human being to dwell upon.” But, the trail – a symbol of faith and endurance – was the conduit of travel for hundreds of brides and grooms from the Little Colorado settlements to the St. George Temple where their “happily ever after” began.

Patrons in attendance for this Valentines Day event are also invited to share love stories from their own family history, as part of the program.

Douglas D. Alder is a historian who has lived in St. George since 1986 when he and his wife Elaine moved to “Utah’s Dixie” to assume the duties and responsibilities of president of Dixie College. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts degrees at the University of Utah and holds a doctorate from the University of Oregon. Following a year of research at the University of Vienna in Austria he taught at Utah State University for 23 years. In St. George he has written books on the history of the area, including “The History of Washington County, From Isolation to Destination” with Karl Books. Another focused on the history of the St. George LDS Temple and a third book explored the history of the medical community in the county. More recently, he compiled 30 lectures honoring the late local historian Juanita Brooks.

Also part of the program, JJ Abernathy, an English teacher and lover-of-Shakespeare, will share some of her favorite sonnets written by the Bard.

Art Conversations are adult gatherings of art lovers interested in more information about artists and their mediums. The art conversation program is free of charge.

The St. George Art Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 47 East 200 North. According to the museum’s mission statement, the city-owned and operated facility exists “to educate … through quality exhibitions from all periods, cultures and media … and to collect, conserve, inventory, exhibit and interpret art and artifacts from Utah and the West.”

For more information about this and other Art Conversations, the “Here Comes the Gown: 150 Years of Wedding Dresses” and the “In/Visible: Weddings and Immigration” exhibits both currently on display, or the upcoming Soup N’ Bowl fundraising event on March 6, 2015, call the St. George Art Museum at 435-627-4525.

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