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Thursday, September 20, 2012


For Immediate Release
September 5, 2012

Alycia Aldrich
Utah State History

Geoffrey Fattah 
Communications Director
Utah Department of Heritage and Arts
(801) 245-7205 or gfattah@utah.gov


SALT LAKE CITY – The spotlight will shine on noted author Val Holley as he kicks off  the 60th Annual Utah State History Conference with the keynote speech, “Krewes, Cowboys, and Cultural Conundrums:  Ogden’s Mardi Gras of 1890” Thursday, September 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the Fort Douglas Post Theater.

Plucking this event out of the  archives of history, Holley retells the story of Ogden’s first and last Mardi Gras extravaganza, created to lure land speculators and developers from across the country.  A special train carried the New Orleans mummery and royalty to Ogden for the occasion with the famed Louisiana Rifles in tow. 

“This virtually forgotten event deserves to be resurrected and relished.  The ‘Rocky Mountain Carnival’ of 1890 surely attracted one of the most diverse assemblages in Utah history,” Holley said.  

At the conclusion of the keynote address, Board of State History chair Michael W. Homer will present this year’s Utah State History Awards.

“ENCOUNTERS: Moments of Change” is the theme of the conference hosted by Utah State History, in partnership with the Fort Douglas Military Museum, September 20-23.  Special workshops at the Rio Grande Depot on Thursday will train historical researchers and writers and organizations who wish to digitize their historical records. 

At history sessions at historic Fort Douglas on Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, the public can explore topics such as Navajo oral history about the Anasazi, cooperative societies, how to preserve family artifacts and stories, Danes, Chinese, radicals, protest movements, election polling in Utah, the Avenues, the Civil War in Utah, and much more. On Saturday, the public is invited to bring family heirlooms and memorabilia to consult with experts on how to care for and display them. 

On Sunday, September 23, the conference ends on a dramatic note when Fort Douglas Military Museum hosts a day-long field trip to the Bear River Massacre Site.  

The theme expresses how critical encounters among people, ideas, and cultures can be.  “Encounters are at the heart of history,” said State History director Wilson G. Martin. “When people, ideas, cultures or groups encounter one another, important shifts can happen.  And today, when we encounter history through stories, buildings, sites, or artifacts, we learn and understand more deeply.”  

All history sessions are free and open to the public.  To explore the full complement of conference sessions and workshops – or to register -- visit www.history.utah.gov.

The Bear River Massacre Site field trip is $65, and includes transportation, box lunch and a field trip booklet.  To reserve visit www.fortdouglas.org or call 801-581-1251.

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State History serves the citizens of Utah by helping to make history accessible, exciting, and relevant—and integral to the economy and culture of the state. State History is a division of the Utah Department of Community and Culture (www.community.utah.gov).   

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