Meghan Wallgren | Lehi Free Press
Lehi’s John Hutchings Museum is set to embark on a new year of exciting community events and exploration. The museum is unique in its size and scope for a community museum. “The collection is a gem. It’s amazing what we have here,” said Museum Manager Leah Stutz. The museum’s experienced leadership team is working to guide the museum forward with new programs and activities, along with the continuing old favorites in the coming year.
“We’re happy to keep moving forward and have new activities,” said Stutz. She is a 13-year veteran at the museum, first working as an intern while pursuing her degree in public history at Utah Valley University. “Part of the beauty of the job is learning and helping other people learn about the passion we have and the wonderful things we have here,” she said.
The live animal shows, a visitor favorite, continue this month. Shows will be held December 26 and 27 at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. The interactive show is an excellent activity for families over the school break.
A new lecture series starts in January featuring Utah artifact and document collector Brent Ashworth. Titled “Insights from Artifacts,” the lecture series will be held on the third Thursday of every month starting January 18. “He has an amazing collection, and we’re excited to bring people in to share it and his insights,” Stutz said.
The museum will also sponsor summer camps during June and July of 2024. “During the week-long camps, each day will focus on different areas of the museum, such as geology, paleontology, nature, and history,” said Stutz. Sign-ups will be available online in the spring.
Another way the museum is moving into the future is through its 3D digital archive project. Museum workers and volunteers take hundreds of pictures of a single item. A computer program fashions those pictures into a 3D digital artifact model, and viewers can see the object online. “People from anywhere can get a detailed view and study the artifacts. It’s a neat way to preserve artifacts,” Stutz said.
Currently, 30 artifacts are available for study online, with 50 more 3D models in the works. Most of these items are Native American artifacts. “I love the Native American artifacts. They’re very old and have a lot of stories to them,” said Charlie Larsen, the museum’s Digital Media Manager.
The Native artifacts, like most of the museum’s offerings, come from the personal collection of John Hutchings. “Eighty percent of what is in the museum comes from John Hutchings’ personal collection,” said Stutz. “His collection was started just in his home, in his garage.” The first museum was built in 1955, where the Lehi Arts Center now stands. It moved to its current location in 1995. “The Building itself is an architectural treasure and a beautiful piece of Lehi history,” said Stutz.
According to museum curator Nancy Bentley, the collection ranges from prehistoric fossils and rocks to modern history into the 1950s. Along with what Hutchings collected, many other Lehi residents have donated artifacts. The museum houses Lehi’s Veteran’s Memorial Hall, and military donations of any era are welcomed. Anyone interested in donating an artifact is welcome to contact the museum to have it evaluated.
Along with donations, the museum relies heavily on volunteers. Opportunities include:• Working as docents.• Helping with school field trips.• Helping with community activities like live animal shows.• Research.• Digitization for online exhibits.
The museum is currently holding a sale in its gift shop. Patrons receive 20 percent off the entire purchase until December 30, plus huge markdowns on most inventory.
More information can be found on the museum website: www.jhutchingsmuseum.com. Follow the John Hutchings Museum on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for news and events.