Museum of Moab Director John Foster and museum marketing director Sarah Sidwell browsed through the museum’s archives in preparation for its 60th anniversary celebration. Members of the public are invited to the free anniversary party on Saturday, Jan. 20. [Photo by Murice D. Miller / Moab Sun News]

Changes are in the works for the Museum of Moab, which opened on Feb. 4, 1958. To celebrate its 60 years of existence, the museum is hosting a free anniversary party on Saturday, Jan. 20, from noon to 5 p.m., and the public is invited.

There will be cake, plus special activities throughout the day, including a scavenger hunt, opportunities to see behind-the-scenes lab work, and a chance to take selfies with life-sized photo cutouts of prominent historical Moab characters.

Scavenger hunters will be tasked with searching through exhibits for various items and answering questions about those findings. Museum exhibits include Native American, geology, dinosaur, prehistoric and popular recreational activities– such as rock climbing and biking. There are also exhibits about Moab’s uranium legacy, the National Park Service, cowboys who settled in the Moab area, the Old Spanish Trail and the Elk Mountain Mission of 1855, when Mormons moved into the area.

The scavenger hunt is for all ages, said museum education program coordinator Andrea Stoughton, a Moab educator for 30 years, before she became museum education director six years ago. She said she would often bring her elementary students to the museum.

“We’re really going to have a good time,” Stoughton said.

“It’s 60 different objects in the collections – one for each year; it’s a fun exercise,” museum director John Foster added.

Scavenger hunt participants who discover all 60 items will win a grand prize.

Foster said that the anniversary celebration will be a good opportunity to learn about everything that the museum offers.

“We’ll probably have some collections out from behind the scenes, including dinosaur fossils,” plus fossils from the lab that scientists are working on, Foster said. “There will be all kinds of things.”

Through January, the museum’s Fran and Terby Barnes Gallery is featuring an exhibit of historic photos showing how Moab has changed throughout the years. The “Museum of Moab Past, Present and Into the Future” exhibit includes old photos, more recent historic photos and aerial photos taken before Moab’s Main Street was built.

“People may notice in the old photos, before the route became a state highway, there used to be big, old cottonwood trees lining Main Street,” Foster said. “They’re all gone now.”

The trees were cut down when the street became an official state highway, he said.

“Just now, the trees that were planted then are starting to get bigger,” noted Foster, who said he never quite understood the reason for cutting the trees in the first place.

The museum’s oldest members will also be present at the celebration, museum marketing director Sarah Sidwell said. She wouldn’t say who they are – only that people need to come to find out.

As for the changes in store for the museum, a remodel is planned starting next winter, for an expected completion by April 2019. Last fall, the museum added two additional full-time employees. Prior to that, there was only one full-time employee.

Come celebrate 60th anniversary on Jan. 20

What: 60th Anniversary Party

Where: Museum of Moab, 118 E. Center St.

When: Saturday, Jan. 20, from noon to 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Information: 435-259-7985;

For more information, call 435-259-7985, or go to: