The Museum of Moab’s exhibits on display before the museum closed in September. It will reopen this year as Moab Museum with refreshed exhibits and expanded education programs. [Moab Sun News file photo]

Moab Giants and Moab Museum (formally known as the Museum of Moab) will both reopen this year after temporary closures.

Moab Giants, an interactive dinosaur attraction featuring a paleocamp, dinosaur trail and prehistoric aquarium located about 9 miles north of Moab at the intersection of state Route 313 and U.S. Highway 191, announced on social media in late December that it is closing for the winter. It is scheduled to reopen on Feb. 15.

The Moab Museum, 118 E. Center St., will remain closed for the first half of the year.

Dennis Brown, president of the board of trustees for the Moab Museum, said the decision was made to change the museum’s name at a recent board meeting.

A full renovation of the museum is taking place, with new exhibits to be installed in August. Brown said Moab Museum’s reopening is tentatively scheduled for September, depending on the renovation progress.

He said a private donor gave $1 million in unrestricted funds to the museum in 2017, spurring the board of trustees to look at ways to improve its operations.

“We’re focusing on becoming not just the history of Moab, but the history of this region of the Colorado Plateau,” Brown said.

The Moab Museum closed in September and the museum’s inventory was moved to an off-site storage facility. Brown said Henderson Builders is completing the museum’s renovation. The museum opened its doors in 1958.

“It’s just been a typical small-town museum,” Brown said. “In May of last year, we hired a museum consultant to conduct a community engagement assessment.”

After 30 interviews, a key recommendation in the assessment was to change the exhibits. Brown said the museum’s board hopes the refreshed exhibits will entice Moab locals to visit the museum.

“If nothing ever changes, there’s no reason for them to go back,” Brown said.

The new exhibits will tell stories of the land and of human history, he said, and artifacts will be used to enhance the storytelling experience.

Education programs, including a video about the Old Spanish Trail, are among the museum’s future plans for developing its community outreach, Brown said.

Moab Giants closed through Feb. 15; Museum of Moab re-branding as ‘Moab Museum’