Pioneer Museum Rocks Utah’s Past

The Pioneer Memorial Museum on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City honors pioneers who first settled in the Salt Lake Valley. Most newcomers were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in search of a place to birth a homeland of their own.

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Located at 300 North Main Street, the Pioneer Memorial Museum is housed in the former territorial Governors’ Mansion. It was built in 1855. The building is a historic landmark, and the stately structure has hosted the museum since 1957. The collection includes exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of Utah’s pioneer era and beyond.

This sculpture outside the Pioneer Memorial Museum depicts Eliza R. Snow, one of the most celebrated female pioneers of the 19th Century. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Headquarters is located at 300 N Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103.

Whether you live in Salt Lake City or are just visiting, the museum is a great place to start. It is located in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood and across a narrow street from the Utah State Capitol. The historic Council Hall is within easy walking distance of both.

Council Hall is a decadent red sandstone building with a backdrop of the Wasatch Mountains. The building was originally located downtown as a city and territorial government office. In 1960, the building was moved to Capitol Hill. Today, it houses the Utah Office of Tourism and the ZNHA Bookstore.

A picture is worth a thousand words at DUP Museum

Primarily Native Americans inhabited the peaceful valley until the pioneers arrived. The first wagons entered the Salt Lake Valley through Emigration Canyon on July 21, 1847. Their leader, Church President Brigham Young, entered on July 24. Utahns still celebrate July 24 annually with parades, picnics, devotionals, and fireworks. 

The Days of ‘47 Rodeo at the Utah State Fairgrounds allows for plenty of hoopin’ and hollerin’ just like cowboys did in the days of the Wild West (some think it’s still pretty wild out here).

Why do people still celebrate July 24 in Utah?

Stalwart believers sometimes treat July 24 as a religious holiday. Many Utahns have tracked their lineage back across the mountains and plains to where their ancestors were persecuted fiercely for their religious beliefs. Their love of family history and genealogy brings them close to their ancestors. Their studies help them develop connections to their pasts. Their love for tough and tender pioneers runs deep. July 24 is a state holiday.

Others celebrate the creation of a vibrant city ever-growing and ever-changing to meet the needs of the people.

Some just love a good excuse for a party and here’s to them!

Most of them treasure a rough and rocky history that eventually resulted in their own personal promised land.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers Preserve the past

All of this explanation brings me to the Pioneer Memorial Museum. The history of a culture is vital to its present-day success. The International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers (ISDUP, DUP) is one organization that keeps Utah’s history alive. The museum houses artifacts relevant to the state’s history. That is a story nearly impossible to write without the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

DUP is not a religious organization. It’s not political either. The ISDUP official website proclaims, “We are dedicated to honoring the names and achievements of the men, women, and children who founded Utah. We seek to encompass a broad scope of services, ranging from the preservation of historic landmarks to the education of thousands of school children and adults about their pioneer forebears.”

The museum’s permanent exhibits occupy three floors. Each honors a different aspect of Utah’s history:


Exhibits on the first-floor detail the pioneers’ journeys across the plains. The exhibits include original artifacts like covered wagons, tools, and clothing. Here, you can watch multimedia presentations that bring the story to life.


Exhibits on the second floor illustrate the development of a small settlement into a major metropolis. Utah plays a major role in the United States of America and the artifacts here visually demonstrate its importance to the American West. Here you will find photographs, documents, and displays that bring to life:

  • Utah’s role in the development of the American West
  • Construction of the transcontinental railroad
  • The founding of the University of Utah
  • The emergence of the mining industry


On the third floor, the work of local artists, musicians, and writers is in the spotlight. The exhibits celebrate diversity and Utah’s rich cultural heritage.

One visit is not enough

You will want to come back to the museum again, and again as the DUP offers temporary exhibits throughout the year that educate, entertain, and enrich the collective understanding of Utah’s history.

Cruise past the coveted homes of Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is a charming and historic neighborhood. The streets are lined with mature trees. The landmark ambiance feels fitting for Utah’s power center. Capitol Hill homes are a unique blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences. The neighborhood boasts stunning views of the city and the mountains, making it a desirable location for residents and visitors.

We hope you visit and decide to stay

The Pioneer Memorial Museum on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City houses Utah treasures. Its exhibits and programs give visitors a glimpse into the past and a deeper appreciation for the struggles and achievements of those who came before us. Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about Utah’s past, the Pioneer Museum is a must-visit destination that will leave a lasting impression.

Call me, maybe

If you have questions about Salt Lake City real estate, you can rely on me to provide you with the answers you need. Call or text me, Joel Carson, at 801-673-3333.

Joel Carson - Utah's # real estate agent

Joel Carson is the President and Principle Broker of Utah Real Estate with over 30 years of experience buying and selling real estate in the greater Salt Lake City area.

Have questions? Call or text me at 801-673-3333

Article Last Updated: October 26, 2023

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