Suzi (k00kaburra) wrote,

Fremont Indian State Park

I went up to the Fremont Indian State Park today. It seemed like a good idea, since I'm applying for the curator position, to find out what the museum looks like and what exactly I'll be working with.

Fremont Indian is about two hours north of Anasazi, near the town of Richfield. Richfield's still pretty small, but compared to hamlets like Boulder and Escalante, it's pretty civilized. They have some chain stores, like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, but certain essentials of city life are still missing, like Starbucks and Target. The only Asian food in town is one Chinese restaurant, and from outside it looked like they served a fairly standard Panda Express type menu. I was initially excited to see a satellite campus for Snow College, but when I looked at their website all the courses listed are trade school certification classes for auto repair and nail technicians. That's really not what I had in mind.

The park itself is much larger than Anasazi; in addition to the museum they have hiking trails, ATV routes and campgrounds. So there might be a fair amount of outdoor labor in addition to normal curatorial duties. The first thing I did when I arrived was go through the museum. It's a hodgepodge of exhibits, scattered in a frankly haphazard manner. There's no obvious narrative or path to follow, so you learn about the Fremont in a very fragmented way. Certainly, the exhibits are more sophisticated than what we have at Anasazi, with multiple large dioramas that show the interior of a Fremont home or a mannequin of a Fremont woman based on a real skeleton. But they were also look old and dated; the museum looks like it was made in the 1980s and has only had surface updates since.

However, there is a really great children's area. They have a replica Fremont house (indoors) that kids can climb in, tables set up for weaving demonstrations, and plastic foods and weapons. Even cooler is a mock archeologist's office where the kids can practice using microscopes or studying replicas “like a real museum curator!” There was even a decent-sized library of picture books for the kids to read with parents, or if a volunteer wanted to run a storytelling workshop.

So if I were to magically get the curator position, there'd be a lot to do here. I'd really have to find out more about the park manager and the park's finances before I could make a decision, though. The museum needs to be updated, but I'm sure funding is unavailable. If the park manager is essentially satisfied with the museum's current state, I could see myself slowly going crazy every time I walked by a display that I want to change, but can't.

After studying the museum for a good chunk of time (and noting the lack of foot traffic) I went outside and did several hikes. Most of Fremont's hikes are short, often a mile or less, and each trail has tons of petroglyphs and pictographs, so it was really neat! I just kept going and taking pictures. This is what would make working at the museum exciting!

Here are some of the best pictures I got.

From a distance the cliffs don't look like much, but up close they're plastered in petroglyphs.

Dorky self-portrait.

Replica pithouse

I also met the park manager briefly. I didn't tell him that I was applying for the position, only that I was the intern at Anasazi and wanted to see what his park was like. He seems like a nice enough guy. I'd have to talk to him more to really determine what a working relationship with him would be like, but I'll worry about that after (and if!) I get an interview.
Tags: anasazi state park, hiking, internship, native americans, southwest, travel, utah

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