Schae Richards, community editor
Cache Valley is full of activities to do and places to visit, especially during the summertime. Why not spend a day immersing yourself into the culture of Cache Valley? Consider taking a day-trip to the American West Heritage Center Heritage to see everything they have to offer.
The American West Heritage Center is a historical museum in Wellsville that focuses on providing an “educational and entertaining environment” that preserves the history and culture of Cache Valley. The staff accomplishes this largely through events and other activities like their annual Pioneer Day Festival.
This year’s festival will be Saturday, July 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for 3 years and older. The festival will have lots of fun activities for families to enjoy. Attractions will include a pie-eating contest, historic quilt and gun displays and the Cache Valley Mountain Man Rendezvous.
Additionally, the event will feature all of the Historic Adventures activities, which they offer during the summer months Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Families can visit various sites, mine for gold and jewels and enjoy train and pony rides.
Annalise Christensen is a program assistant for the American West Heritage Center, and coordinates many of the activities and events the center offers throughout the year. She plays a huge part in the Historic Adventures event.
“This year, we’ve had fun expanding our activities on Saturdays where we offer an additional activity for our guests to participate in,” Annalise said. “Our activities coming up are pine needle basket weaving, tissue paper flowers, rope making and more.”
The American West Heritage Center holds a Valentine’s Day Concert in winter, Baby Animal Days in the spring (their largest fundraiser of the year) and lots of fun fall events like the Haunted Hollow, Corn Maze on the Farm and the Fall Festival. Annalise runs the Haunted Hollow every year. The center also offers story times, summer camps and field trips. Annalise helps coordinate field trips and school groups in the fall and spring.
“These are hands-on, educational learning experiences for children of different ages,” Annalise said. “Summer camps are a fun way for young campers to connect with the past. Year-round story time is a weekly, free activity for preschool age children and their parents. Field trips take what students have been learning in the classroom and turn it into a hands-on experience.”
They also offers programs like trek groups, bison tours, traveling trunks and team-building courses. People can also host events, such as corporate functions and wedding receptions.
Annalise is in her seventh season at the American West Heritage Center. She said being able to see people learn about and remember their own family history is the most rewarding part of her job.
“Telling someone about a certain site, (e.g. the pioneer dugout) and having mom, dad, grandma or grandpa tell everyone ‘Did you know Great Grandpa built and lived in one of these when they came to Utah?’” Annalise said. “Or talking about the wood burning stove in the farmhouse kitchen, (which we use each day we’re open) and someone knowing how it works and having a personal history, remembering Grandma using a stove like this one.”
Annalise encourages everyone in Cache Valley to utilize these wonderful resources. If you visit regularly, you can receive discounts and special offers year-round by purchasing an annual Gold Individual Membership for $50, Gold Family Membership for $80 and Grandparent Membership for $150.
“We learn about (the history) in school, then we forget it,” Annalise said. “In a high-tech world, there is so much going on. The American West Heritage Center is a little peace and quiet — to come and enjoy and remember our past.”
To learn more about the American West Heritage Center, visit their website at awhc.org, call them at (435) 245-6050 or visit their administrative office Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.