SUU Special Collections Opens Exhibit on Southern Utah's Railroad History

Published: July 25, 2023 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 3 minutes

Railroad history exhibit dressSouthern Utah University Special Collections has opened a new student-curated exhibit called "The Iron Horse Comes to Southern Utah: The History of the Railroad in Southern Utah". The exhibit was created by senior history student Keith Wilson as part of the Career and Professional Development Center’s internship program. Designed to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the railroad arrival in Cedar City, the exhibit will run from June-December 2023.

“We wanted to show that, yes, the train did come, but it was more than just its arrival,” said Wilson. “It was a journey that brought it here and that journey continued well after the railroad stopped bringing passengers. Overall this exhibit is for those who enjoy a quick informative history lesson with visuals unique to southern Utah.”

The exhibit showcases the railroad's journey from northern Utah to Cedar City. Through the participation of various organizations with several items on loan from the Frontier Homestead State Park  and individuals from the community, Wilson gathered information and displayed items to highlight those who brought the train into town. Wilson’s work also showcases the impact the Utah Parks Company had on Cedar City and on the growth of the National Park Service in southern Utah.

This project not only displays the community's heritage and builds collaboration between SUU and the cultural heritage community, but it also provides students with practical experience in cultural heritage management, exhibitions, research, and graphic design.

Amaia Garate, graphic design student at SUU, collaborated with Wilson on the promotional materials and overall design of the exhibit. 

“Working with Amaia was really helpful for the execution of this project and I really enjoyed putting this exhibit together,” said Wilson. “It gave me a chance to see what can be done with archival work as well as researching different aspects of local and public history.”

The Professional Internship Program is a great opportunity to learn the specifics of a field of interest while in a friendly environment. Mentors are always open to all questions and are happy to help students grow. Feedback is an important part of the communication aspect throughout the program to ensure that students learn new skills.

“I wish that more people knew about the Professional Internship Program,” said Wilson. “It gives students a chance to participate in their field of choice or see if they want to continue their education in a specific direction, without giving up a semester to intern for no pay and have another job on top of the internship.”

The SUU Professional Internship Program is designed to provide students with opportunities to engage in paid internships. The Career and Professional Development Center has partnered with on-campus employers to provide internship opportunities like this to SUU students. T-Birds interested in the program are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Career Center.

The Barbara A. Matheson Special Collections and University Archives collect, protect, and make accessible the records of the university as well as rare and unique collections that support the university and community's teaching, research, and service. This exhibit can be viewed in the Gerald R. Sherratt Library June-December 2023. 

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences History Career Center

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