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Category Archives: About History

State History – Internship

YMCA_Gym_GroupInternship Opportunities

The Utah Division of State History (UDSH) and the Utah State Historical Society (USHS) offer internship opportunities for select university or college students. Hours for interns are dictated by the sponsoring institution, but the schedule of those hours can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.  Applicants are encouraged to be at least in their third year of undergraduate work. Recent college or university graduates or master’s students are also encouraged to apply. Interns are not paid but may receive college credit.

To apply for an internship at the UDSH, work through the sponsoring institution.

Candidates must submit their information by December 1st for the winter term (January to April), by April 1st for the summer term (May to August), and August 1st for the fall term (September to December).

For more information or to answer questions, please contact Kevin Fayles at 801.245.7254 or


Commitment and Reliability

UDSH/USHS internships can substantially benefit from a professional internship experience; State History depends greatly on interns to enhance the programs of the UDSH. Once you have accepted an internship, you become an integral part of State History. It is important that you commit to the internship.

Essential Functions

  • Work closely with and assist UDSH staff and other interns.
  • Plan and implement assignments or projects.
  • Regularly recording and reporting of your activities.
  • Interact with staff, interns and the public in a courteous, prompt ad professional manner.


  • Commitment to the many fields and professions in and around history, archaeology, historic preservation, library and archives.
  • Flexibility to make changes and support the programs as needed.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills.
  • Commitment to the state schedule.
  • Maintain a professional appearance and attitude.

Brief Descriptions of Internships

Archaeology Section: Interns for this program are generally limited to those students interesting in pursuing a career path in archaeology or anthropology. Past intern projects included summarizing the known archaeological information for select counties into a publishable paper, pulling together and summarizing thematically linked archaeological information (such as Uranium mining in Grand County or prehistoric use of the Great Salt Lake islands), assisting with archaeological National Register nominations, records management, and a host of other topics.


Interns for this program will provide support to State History’s administrative staff in a wide variety of tasks and special projects. Examples include assisting with meetings and special events, including the annual history conference. Interns will also assist in gathering historical information and photographs to enhance communicating State History’s programs.

Cemeteries & Burials

Interns for this program will help gather data from cemeteries through approved sources.

Historic Preservation

Interns for this program will help develop resources related to researching, surveying, designating and treating historic buildings and structures.

Library & Collections

Interns in this program will assist  staff in using resources to answer customer questions, refilling collection materials, update records, assist with collection processing, and preparing materials for public access.

Utah Historical Quarterly

Interns will assist with fact-checking and researching historiography for articles, drafting book notices, developing online resources, pursuing marketing and partnership efforts for the UHQ, and assisting with special events.

Utah History Day

Interns will assist with preparing materials and problem-solving for regional and state student competitions as well as the state competition.

State History – Annual Themes

Bingham_Canyon_Utah2016 – Rural Utah and Western Issues (1896 to 2016 anniversary)

2017 Utah Pioneers and the Value of Local Museums

2018 Utah’s Archaeological Past

2019 Transportation and the Utah Landscape (We will celebrate the 150th anniversaries of both the transcontinental railroad and John Wesley Powell’s exploration of the Colorado River.)

2020 Water and the Utah Environment

State History – Annual Goals

Forest_SchoolAnnual Goals 2015-2016

  • Annual Statewide History Focus: Document rural life, local governance, and public lands in Utah
  • Improve E-workflow, digitization and databases to increase information sharing
  • Re-envision the role education plays in State History’s programs
  • Evaluate the possibility of a proposed Center for History, Heritage and Arts

State History – Geographic Names Committee

State_of_DeseretUtah Committee on Geographic Names

The Utah Committee on Geographic Names role is defined by the 2005 Governor’s Executive Order for the State of Utah.  The Committee is tasked with reviewing and providing recommendations regarding geographic name proposals in Utah submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.  The Committee is composed of eleven members, including five Ex-Officio and seven-at- large members.

What Are the Best Principles for Naming a Geographic Feature in Utah?

The most appropriate geographic names are ones that have evolved organically over time from local usage.  Names which describe the feature often garner the most support, while commemorative names are often the most problematic.  Both the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) and the Utah Committee on Geographic Names follow the BGN’s Principles, Policies, and Procedures document which defines the protocol used in the Committees decision making process.  Included in this document are constraints regarding naming in designated wilderness areas, limitations on commemorative naming, limitations on derogatory names, and guidelines for changing existing names.  Please review this document closely if you plan to move forward with a proposal. 

How to Propose a Name

Any natural geographic feature in the United States can have a name proposed.  The U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) has outlined key principles, policies, and procedures for naming geographic features (found here).  These guidelines should be followed for any geographic name proposals or risk denial by vote.  Proposals are submitted online through the BGN website (found here).  You will be provided with a temporary login to the BGN database where you will be walked step by step through the submission process.  Be prepared with background research on your submission, including:

  • Location (Latitude and Longitude)
  • Landowner name (e.g. Bureau of Land Management)
  • Documentation of local support (if any)
  • Documentation of landowner support (if any)
  • Historical use of the name (if any)
  • Names in local use
  • Detailed biography of person being commemorated (see below)

Please note – if the feature is being named for a person, please include evidence of direct association with the feature as outlined in the BGN’s Principles, Policies, and Procedures document (found here).  Also note, the person for whom the feature is being named must be deceased for at least five years

The process following the proposal can be followed through this chart here (link to GeoNames_WorkFlow_20151119.pdf).  Once submitted, the BGN will review your proposal and, if no issues are found, forward it to our Committee.  Our Committee will then review the proposal at the next quarterly meeting and begin efforts to research and verify key aspects of the proposal, including landowner, tribal, and county support.  As the Committee only meets quarterly, proposals can take significant time in review.

Once research and vetting is complete, the Committee will vote whether to support the proposal and then forward the results of the vote to the BGN.  The BGN then again reviews the proposal and makes a final, binding vote.  If you encounter trouble with your proposal, please contact the BGN (contact information here).  Proposals can also be made directly to our Committee but are directly forwarded on to the BGN for review.

How to Research Existing Geographic Names

There are some limited resources available for researching existing geographic names.  John Van Cott’s 1991 book Utah Place Names is a valuable reference.  This includes names in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) and background on non-geographic feature names (such as cities).  For geographic names found on USGS maps, a great resource is the GNIS query tool (found here).  Certain results will include the original name proposal documentation or original survey documentation where the name officially originated.

Current Committee Membership

The Committee is composed of eleven members who include five Ex-Officio and seven at large members.  Members are reviewed and appointed by the Governor and generally serve a four-year term.  Interested in becoming a Committee member?  Please apply here.   Current members can be found below.  Membership expiration dates can be found here:

Dan White                           Committee Chair, at large
Kelli Bacon                          Ex-Officio, representing Utah Department of Transportation

Zachary Beck                      at large member

Dina Blaes                           Ex-Officio, representing the Utah Board of State History

Gen Green                         at large member
John Larsen                        at large member

Arie Leeflang                     Ex-Officio, representing Utah Division of State History, Executive Secretary
Katherine Staley               at large member
David Vincent                    Ex-Officio, State Cartographer, U.S. Geological Survey
Grant Willis                        Ex-Officio, representing Utah Geological Survey
Quarterly Meeting Minutes and Agenda

The Committee posts upcoming agendas and past meeting minutes to Utah’s Public Notice Website (found here).  Please reference this site for upcoming agenda and previous meeting minutes.  Or please contact the Executive Secretary for additional information at 801.245.7246 or

Outside Resources

U.S. Board on Geographic Names website
U.S. Board on Geographic Names’ Principles, Policies, and Procedures document
U.S. Board on Geographic Names recent meeting minutes including Board vote results
How to apply for Utah Committee on Geographic Names membership
Utah Committee on Membership’s Executive Order and current membership

Mignon Richmond

Mignon Richmond #1a

Courtesy of the Mignon Richmond family

Mignon Richmond was an activist and community leader that left her mark on Salt Lake City, yet her name is fading from the minds of Salt Lake’s current residents. Utah State history has dedicated space to tell her legacy through photographs, artifacts, and even her voice. Come to the Rio Grande and learn the story of Mignon and pass it on.

Rio Grande Depot
300 S Rio Grande St (450 W)
Salt Lake City, Utah

Listen to audio excerpts from Mignon Richmond’s Oral History and find more information on our historical spotlight display.


State History – Trails Consortium

Hole in the Rock Trail

Hole in the Rock Trail

Utah Historic Trails Consortium
The Utah Historic Trails Consortium is formed to cooperatively identify, preserve, mark, and promote historic trails in Utah for public education and enjoyment and to avoid inaccuracy, duplication, and other non-productive efforts.  Historic trails are defined as paths and routes used by people during the historic period and may be used today; are eligible for the state or national register; which paths or routes have historic tangible or documentary evidence. The Utah Division of State History coordinates the quarterly meetings of this organization at the Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Objectives of the Historic Trails Consortium are to:

  • Identify trails that have significance to Utah history;
  • Promote preservation and encourage maintenance and protection of historic Utah trails:
  • Encourage public recognition of and interest in historic trails for educational and recreational purposes;
  • Work to make historic trails more visible and accessible to the public by:
    • accurately identifying the route of each trail and important sites along it; and
    • accurately mapping each trail, noting conditions of public access, and making
    • these maps available; or
    • marking the routes with easily identifiable signs and trail markers; and
    • encouraging landowners, public and private, to allow access to trails and trail sites on their property.
  • Facilitate marking and interpretation for improved public enjoyment and enlightenment of historic trails by:
    • identifying existing trail markers, their text and location to better promote existing resources;
    • collecting information on significant trails sites and events from which to develop interpretive texts;
    • developing unified and improved marker design so Utahns and visitors will easily identify Utah trails;
    • marking, and encouraging others to mark Utah historic trails. The marking of national historic trails and trail sites is to be consistent with the policies and guidelines of the National Park Service.
    • reviewing new trail marker locations and proposed interpretive texts for appropriateness and accuracy;
    • encouraging effective maintenance programs so markers remain informative and attractive in perpetuity;
    • encouraging publications of accurate material that will guide travelers along the trails and help them gain a heightened appreciation of the experience; and
    • finding ways to promote research on the subject of historic trails, their founding and use.

Current members of the Utah Historic Trails Consortium include:

  • National Park Service, Long-Distance Trails Office
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • United States Forest Service
  • Mormon Trails Association
  • Utah Crossroads Chapter, Oregon-California Trails Association
  • National Pony Express Association
  • International Society Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
  • National Society Sons of the Utah Pioneers
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church History Department
  • Morgan County Historical Society
  • Utah Division of State History
  • Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation

Utah Historic Trails Consortium By-Laws

For questions please contact Chris Merritt 801-245-7263

State History Directors

Utah State History Directors

P. Brad Westwood 2013 – to present
Wilson G. Martin 2011 – 2013
Philip F. Notarianni 2003 – 2011
Max J. Evans 1986 – 2002
Melvin T. Smith 1971 – 1985
Charles S. Peterson 1969 – 1971
Everett L. Cooley 1961 – 1969
A. Russell Mortensen 1950 – 1961
Marquerite L. Sinclair & Dale L. Morgan provided critical leadership during the 1940s
J. Cecil Alter 1926 – 1941
Jerrold R. Letcher 1898 – 1916

State History 1897 to present

Pioneers_GatheredIn 1897, public-spirited Utahns organized the Utah State Historical Society in order to expand public understanding of Utah’s past.  Today, the Utah Division of State History administers the Society and, as part of its statutory obligations, publishes the Utah Historical Quarterly, which has collected and preserved Utah’s unique history since 1928. The Division also collects materials related to the history of Utah; assists communities, agencies, building owners, and consultants with state and federal processes regarding archaeological and historical resources; administers the ancient human remains program; makes historical resources available in a specialized research library; offers extensive online resources and grants; and assists in public policy and the promotion of Utah’s rich history.

State History Support

Green_River_BridgeAcknowledgement of Support

The activity that is the subject of this website has been financed in part with Federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and administered by the State Historic Preservation Office of Utah. The contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior or the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior or the Utah State Historic Preservation Office.

Nondiscrimination Statement

This program receives Federal financial assistance for identification and protection of historic properties. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age in its federally assisted programs. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office for Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.