Schae Richards, community editor
Cache Valley native Jami Van Huss loves history and enjoys her job as the director of the Hyrum City Museum.
Jami has turned her passion for history into a career and a way of life.
She attended University of Utah and earned her undergraduate in history. She then lived in Washington D.C. for four years while her husband served in the military.
About 12 years ago, she moved back to Cache Valley with her husband and attended Utah State University where she earned her master’s in history.
Jami said, “good timing” was what brought her to the Hyrum City Museum. Prior to being hired on at the museum, she was doing freelance editing from home while raising her young family.
At the encouragement of a professor, she applied for a job with the Utah Division of State History, but it was full-time and in Salt Lake. So, she was actually relieved when she didn’t get that job and the very same day saw an advertisement for a “part-time museum director” in Hyrum and knew that was the position for her.
“It was perfect,” she said. “I have absolutely loved it here.”
Jami has worked part-time for the Hyrum City Museum for nearly six years. She said one of the best things about her job is that each day is different. She can spend her days performing various activities, like giving tours, developing exhibits, writing grants, helping interns, planning events, or interacting with visitors.
Jami said the purpose of the Hyrum City Museum is to preserve the cultural, historical, and artistic heritage of Cache Valley. The museum features interpretive exhibits that tell stories through the artifacts of people from the south end of the Valley (mainly Hyrum, Nibley, and Wellsville) to make personal connections with visitors.
While many of the artifacts and exhibits are tied to people from Hyrum, Jami said there is something for everyone at the museum.
“You don’t have to live in Hyrum to find value in this museum,” she said. “What you will learn here is applicable to any community in the Valley.”
The Hyrum City Museum also focuses on educating the community.
“One big thing that we do a lot of is outreach and education,” Jami said.
For example, the museum hosts a monthly children’s activity during the school and also offers a summer program for all ages. They hold quarterly workshops that focus on varying topics, such as performing oral histories and preserving historic photos. They also host presentations from community partners, such as the Bear River Heritage Area and Utah State Parks.
Jami said the museum’s interns are also in the process of developing teacher kits for local educators to check out for their lesson plans. She is hoping to have these ready by the next mid-school year.
In addition, the Hyrum City Museum hosts several events throughout the year, including Hot Wheels and Hot Dogs in June, Diversity Night in April, and a veteran’s workshop in November.
The museum will also be holding their third-annual Grand Old Flag event this year on the Fourth of July at Elite Hall.
Jami said the City of Hyrum has been a great support to the museum.
“We’re the only historical museum funded by a city that employs a professional historian and has regular business hours,” she said. “It really shows a commitment from Hyrum City. It’s an important community service they are providing.”
Moving forward, Jami said they will be working on the professionalism of the museum by continuing to maintain good stewardship over the artifacts and exhibits. They also plan to finish the back part of the museum which will feature the veteran’s exhibit, the Hyrum Dam exhibit, and many other displays.
Jami lives in Wellsville with her husband and three daughters. They enjoy spending time together and going on outdoor adventures.
When she’s not at the museum, Jami participates in the Wellsville PTO and coaches her daughters’ softball team. She also volunteers for different groups, like Bear River Heritage Area, Wellsville Foundation, Hyrum Historic Preservation Commission, and Wellsville City Historical Committee.
Jami said her favorite thing about Cache Valley is the people.
“People care about each other here,” she said. “There’s just a basic sense of consideration.”
The Hyrum City Museum is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, call (435) 245-0208 or visit their website at hyrumcitymuseum.org.