For some people, the way to understand a new place is to learn what the locals consider as art.
With that in mind, here’s a roundup of prominent museums and art galleries in Utah — primarily in the Salt Lake City area, but not exclusively. It’s not a comprehensive list, but is enough to get someone started in exploring Utah’s art scene.
Brigham Young University Museum of Art, North Campus Drive, BYU campus, Provo; moa.byu.edu • Among the major items in BYU’s art collection: Works by the Danish artist Carl Bloch and the American Western painter Maynard Dixon, some Rembrandt etchings and Albrecht Dürer prints, 17th century Japanese woodblocks, and paintings by such noted Latter-day Saint artists as C.C.A. Christensen and Minerva Teichert.
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University campus, 650 N. 1100 East, Logan; artmuseum.usu.edu • With some 5,000 artworks in its collection, the museum at Utah State has an emphasis on art of the American West.
Springville Museum of Art, 126 E. 400 South, Springville; smofa.org • Springville’s nickname is “Art City,” and this museum — the oldest art museum in Utah — is a big reason why. It has an impressive collection of Utah art and, weirdly, the largest public collection of art from the former Soviet Union in the western United States.
Utah Museum of Fine Art, 410 Campus Center Drive, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; umfa.utah.edu • Block out a whole day to take in the pre-eminent art museum in Utah, and holder of the state’s official art collection of nearly 20,000 works. UMFA permanent exhibitions run the gamut from ancient artifacts to modern works.
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City; utahmoca.org • Wedged between the Salt Palace and Abravanel Hall, UMOCA specializes in what’s new and now in the state’s art scene, bringing in exhibitions from around the world and supporting Utah artists through residency programs.
UVU Museum of Art, 260 W. 1800 South, Orem; uvu.edu/museum • This museum opened in May 2023, in a 39,000-square-foot mansion once owned by Melanie Bastian (ex-wife of billionaire and WordPerfect co-founder Bruce Bastian) and converted into six rooms of gallery space for Utah Valley University.
Major art galleries
Hours vary for these galleries, and some may be open only by appointment. Best to check ahead before visiting.
• A Gallery, 1321 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City; agalleryonline.com.
• Bountiful Davis Art Center, 90 N. Main St., Bountiful; bdac.org.
• Current Work Contemporary Art, 826 S. 500 West, Salt Lake City; currentwork.art.
• Finch Lane Gallery (Salt Lake City Arts Council), 54 S. Finch Lane (1340 East), Salt Lake City; saltlakearts.org.
• 15th Street Gallery, 1519 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City; 15thstreetgallery.com.
• Gallery MAR, 436 Main St., Park City; gallerymar.com.
• Horne Fine Art, 142 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City; hornefineart.com.
• Julie Nester Gallery, 1280 Iron Horse Drive, Park City; julienestergallery.com.
• Kimball Art Center, 1251 Kearns Blvd, Park City; kimballartcenter.org.
• Mestizo Gallery, 631 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City; mestizocoffeehouse.com.
• Modern West Fine Art, 412 S. 700 West, Salt Lake City; modernwestfineart.com.
• Ogden Contemporary Arts, 455 25th St., Ogden; ogdencontemporaryarts.org.
• Old Towne Gallery, 580 Main St., Park City; oldtownegallery.com.
• Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City; phillips-gallery.com.
• Southam Gallery, 7160 S. Highland Drive, Cottonwood Heights; southamgallery.com.
• Urban Arts Gallery, in The Gateway, 116 S. Rio Grande St. (455 West), Salt Lake City; utaharts.org.
History and science museums
Church History Museum, 45 N. West Temple, Salt Lake City; history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/museum • For those curious about the historic and cultural histories of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this museum — across the street from Temple Square and the Salt Lake Tabernacle — is a must-see. It’s also next door to the FamilySearch Library.
Hill Aerospace Museum, 7961 Wardleigh Road, Roy; aerospaceutah.org • Adjacent to Hill Air Force Base, this museum features dozens of planes and other aircraft, capturing the rich history of aviation in Utah. (Currently expanding, the museum is scheduled to be closed through Nov. 3, possibly longer.)
The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City; theleonardo.org • Like its namesake Leonardo da Vinci, The Leo straddles the line between science and art, and examining where they intersect. Its most notable object is a C-131 cargo plane that fills much of the main exhibition space. (A new exhibition, “Future in Flight” — a collaboration with Utah State University’s College of Engineering — is scheduled to open Nov. 4.)
Museum of Ancient Life, Thanksgiving Point, 2929 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi; thanksgivingpoint.org • Among the attractions at Thanksgiving Point is this museum, with one of the biggest collections of mounted dinosaur skeletons in the state — 60 of them — along with hands-on exhibits for young explorers.
Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City; nhmu.utah.edu • Not just dinosaur bones — though it has lots of those — but thoughtful, engaging and downright fun displays that explain the natural world, specifically in Utah and the Intermountain West. The museum’s Rio Tinto Center also is an amazing building, and offers an incredible view of the Salt Lake Valley.
Pioneer Memorial Museum, 300 N. Main, Salt Lake City; isdup.org • Maintained by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and across the street from the Utah State Capitol grounds, the museum features artifacts dating from Mormon settlers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley in 1947 to the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869.
Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, 444 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City; discoverygateway.org • A wealth of exhibits — including a massive beehive and a decommissioned medical helicopter — invite children to explore, learn and have fun.
Museum of Natural Curiosity, Thanksgiving Point, 3605 Garden Drive, Lehi; thanksgivingpoint.org • This museum boasts more than 400 hands-on exhibits, including Kidopolis and a re-creation of a rainforest.
Treehouse Children’s Museum, 347 22nd St., Ogden; treehousemuseum.org • A friendly place for children to play and learn, loaded with interactive exhibits and spaces.