The Park City Museum, original known as the Park City Historical Society, is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve, protect, and promote the city and region’s history. A visit to the location, established 40 years ago, allows for the exploration of the historic City Hall, which was built in 1885, just a year after the founding of the city. Since its founding and the city’s growth, this building housed the police and fire departments, the territorial jail, and city government offices.
In 1898, the Great Fire roared through the city, creating significant damage to many of the buildings along Main Street, including this one. The rebuilding began immediately, and today, the historic property is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1901, the community added the Whistle Tower to work as a way to warn citizens of fires.
After the 2022 Winter Olympics, the community recognized the value of researching and building up its museum as a way to showcase the region, as the historic downtown area saw a significant amount of tourism. In just 10 days during the Olympics, the small location saw 25,000 visitors. In 2009, an $8.9 million restoration project was completed, which extended the building., now allowing for 130,000 visitors each year.
The property is also home to the Education & Collections Center, a gathering place for lectures and special events. It’s also where many of the historical items owed by the museum are to remain in storage.
The final component of the museum is Glenwood Cemetery, a 5-acre historic resting place for the city’s first families. There is also work occurring in the area to help restore the Park City Ski Mining History.
Admission & Info
Today, visitors can walk through the Park City Museum to encounter a wide range of exhibits through a self-guided tour. The visit takes about an hour or more.
Admission is free for members, though others pay a fee. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, except for a handful of days during the year. There’s also a research library to visit, but it requires an appointment to do so.
It is possible to book a guided tour with a one-month advance reservation. The museum is ADA accessible. There are also educational opportunities designed for school and youth groups, as well as various history presentations and teacher resources available.
Park City Museum also hosts various events throughout the year, including a historic home tour, lectures, and summer walking tours.
The museum has numerous permanent exhibits and others that change often. The exhibits paint the picture of the city from the first discovery of silver in 1868, allowing mine owners in the area to make their fortunes while miners barely made a living. After silver values fell, the city reinvented itself as a ski resort town, which it maintains today.
From Around the World
One of the first exhibits is an opportunity to learn about the Kimball Stagecoach, which helped people move throughout the city. Visitors get to sit in a recreated railcar while they watch a short film about the city and the frontier West. Then, as they exit the display, they can meet people who are just arriving in the city from around the world.
Mega Mine and the Days of Ore
This exhibit has numerous hands-on activities, all of which show what a late 19th century mega mine looked like. There are numerous informative signs and tools that show visitors how explosives were used during the mining and how the work was done. Numerous artifacts exist here, telling the story of the men who built their living mining for silver.
The Dungeon: Park City’s Territorial Jail
Those who visit also have the opportunity to step into the basement of the City Hall building to explore the jail. Numerous wanted posters exist, along with the stories of some of the guests that spent some of their time in this area, including several dangerous criminals.
This area also houses the Cell Theater, where guests will get to learn about the city’s fraternal organizations, which many miners joined before unions were formed. This was a controversial topic during that time. The exhibit paints the picture of that time through wall graffiti.
Skier Subway Theater
One of the final exhibits is the Skier Subway Theater. Guests will get to climb into a Skier Subway, which was once used to help move people from the base of the hills to the top. They will watch a short film about how the city transformed from a mining to a skiing town.
Numerous other exhibits exist here, including those that depict what life was like living in Park City. There’s a fire truck on display, as well as an exhibit that examines the Great Fire of 1898.
- Full access to all museum exhibits.
- Self-guided tour.