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Museum News: Engen Museum Opens Renovationi



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Museum News: Engen Museum Opens Renovationi

By Connie Nelson

Three years in the making, museum unveils a dramatic facelift and new exhibits.

This past December, after three years of fundraising and design work, the Alf Engen Ski Museum completed its latest renovation, featuring ten brand-new or redesigned exhibits.

On display are interactive tributes to Utah’s most celebrated Norwegians, Alf Engen and Stein Eriksen. The Engen exhibit includes a vast trophy case containing around 100 of Engen’s trophies and plaques, plus innumerable medals.

A new exhibit about avalanches and the history of avalanche-control work is built around the interior of a ski patrol shack, circa 1940. It includes the story of Monty Atwater’s research center in Alta, and an early M20 recoilless rifle is on display.

A series of display cases highlights the evolution of snowsport equipment, including dedicated installations for snowboards, freestyle skis, cross country skis, and various flavors of Alpine skis, all with their corresponding boots.

The 10th Mountain Division is an important part of this area’s ski history. This exhibit features World War II artifacts, including camouflage jackets, pants and skis, “trigger finger” gloves, snowshoes, a hat and goggles.

Interactive electronics drive two key exhibits. First is the spectacular three-dimensional topo map of the Wasatch Range, showing the locations of each of the Salt Lake area’s ski resorts. The map features an integrated touch screen which allows museum visitors to learn about any topic related to skiing in Utah, from resort statistics to weather conditions and historic events and people. Ski areas and backcountry access points are projection mapped directly onto the scale model’s surface.

The second electronic marvel is the greenscreen photo booth. Visitors pose for a camera and can choose from a variety of projected scenic or action-oriented backgrounds for their souvenir photo, which is then texted to their mobile device to share with family and friends.

Celebrating its twentieth anniversary in May, the museum is located at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, and educates more than 500,000 visitors annually. The museum’s building began life as the press center for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and today houses not only the Alf Engen Ski Museum, but also includes the Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum. Admission to both museums is free.

The 1,800 sq. ft. hall was designed and installed by Ogden-based Unrivaled, Inc., a digital and three-dimensional design agency and exhibit producer. 

Connie Nelson has been executive director of the Alf Engen Museum since 2004 and is a former director of ISHA.

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