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The Uintah County Heritage Museum was founded in 2004, and is host to many rich and detailed exhibits that dive into the lives of those who created the area. This is not an ordinary history museum, because it describes and highlights the lifestyles and culture of those who lived here, creating a true display of heritage. Anything from the Native people who cultivated this land for hundreds of years, to the pilgrims and ranchers who founded the Uintah Basin in 1869, can be found on display at the Museum. One key attraction to the institution is its flexibility. Though there are displays that are constant, museum curators such as Lana Fulbright and LeeAnn Denzer are frequently bringing in new and interesting pieces such as Native American beadwork, stories of the old west and Butch Cassidy, or art works from locals within the Basin. The museum also features scavenger hunts designed for the younger audiences, in hopes to get them more interested in the history. The full and diverse heritage of this area is truly pulled together within this collection.

(One of the most interesting displays at the museum includes this Bell AH-1 Cobra gunship, or Hueycopter, suspended on the lawn.)

Aircraft, Rotorcraft, Flag, Helicopter

(This map shows the natural gas and oil deposits found in Uinta county and the surrounding areas.)

Blue, Green, Yellow, Colorfulness

(this display holds some of the most intact original and recreated Ute artifacts dating back to to the early 16th century.)

Interior design, Display case, Ceiling, Collection

(Here Josie Bassett is pictured at her cabin in Cub Creek around 1940. Notice how her hair was kept short, and she wore overalls which were both traditional traits of working men in the Midwest.)

Flowerpot, Garden, Vintage clothing, Houseplant

The Uintah County Heritage museum was founded with the intention to truly collide the past with the present. For example, The economic struggles of man in this area can be found on display, as it highlights not only the booming times of fur trapping and sales from the 1820’s to the 18040’s, but also the discovery of gilsonite in 1868 which is still contributing to the economy of the area today. Most recently however, the museum showcases the area's dependence on crude and refined oil, creating a very boisterous economy and unpredictable economy. The most recent bust of the economy could be seen in 2014. 

The culture of the Native American people of the area is another large highlight of the museum. One area shows the lifestyles and relics of the ancient Ute and shoshone people, who frequented this area regularly for hunting and fishing purposes. With the arrival of the first white settlers to the midwest, the Basin was set aside as one of the largest Native American reservations and is still host to the Ute people. The artifacts at the museum include ancient beads and ceremonial woven clothing, ancient pottery, tapestries, as well as arrowheads and spearheads. These historical objects give an insight to the habits and lifestyles of the Ute people, and will be cherished within the museum for many years to come. 

Alongside the interesting history of the Ute and Shoshone, we find exhibits highlighting the lives of the first ranchers, prospectors, miners, and even outlaws throughout the building. One of the local favorites is the exhibit on Butch Cassidy’s gang, and how they frequented the lands throughout Cub Creek, and even associated with the local celebrity Josie Bassett. Bassett was not the picturesque woman of the pioneers, tending to laundry and raising children as was most often the case for women during this time. Josie Bassett was a full time ranch hand throughout her early life with her family, and also had the opportunity to be educated formally through boarding schools. This made Josie a hard working, strong, independent, and quick witted woman. Though she was quick witted and a hard working woman, that does not mean she was all to honest with her labors, as history claims she can often be referenced as a hide out for the Wild Bunch gang, and perhaps even had an affair with the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy. Some sources even claim that Butch Cassidy may have never died in South America as is usually told, but that he may have returned to the Uintah Basin to see Josie later in life. This is just a small window into the complex lives of the ranchers and lawmen throughout our local history, and is all on display at the Uintah County Heritage Museum. 

 Anything from cattle rustling to Native American artifacts can be found at the Uintah County Heritage museum. Through diverse means this establishment has effectively brought together the cultural and economical heritage over many different walks of life. To top off all of these amazing exhibits of culture, the museum has created interactive and fun ways to involve children in history. Anything from scavenger hunts to word puzzles and riddles can be found within the museum, and one of the best parts, it all comes at everyone’s favorite price; free! (with donations being greatly appreciated). The Uintah County Heritage museum is a must stop for any family visiting the area or couples looking to have an interesting and educational date. The business hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Thursday. (Some hours adjusted on account of COVID-19.)

, Filip. Women of the Wild West: Josie Bassett Morris, Discover All Corners. August 7th 2020. Accessed December 9th 2020.

Fuller, Craig. History of the Uinta Basin , Uinta Basin Information. Accessed December 9th 2020.

Fullbright, Lana . Uintah County Heritage Museum. June 29th 1991. Accessed December 9th 2020.

Lieck, Alison . Ute Historical Background , Accessed December 9th 2020.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Personal Photograph

Uintah Basin Oil and Gas

Uintah County Heritage Museum Website

Uintah County Library Regional History Center