This Is Green River

“This Is Green River” is a collection of stories about the town of Green River; personal stories, public stories, and historical stories, each one connected to the objects and photos displayed in the art gallery of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River, Utah, in 2015. The objects were lent by the people of the town and helped to create a physical history of Green River, tracing its history through the years. Collectively this exhibit tells the stories of these different times through the memories of the people that lived through them and objects that they have collected.


Objects have an important role in our lives. We buy, borrow, find, and give objects, but more importantly, we keep and treasure them. Every object has a story—about the person who first owned it, the place it came from, or a specific moment in time. Furniture and household objects can tell stories of migration and people starting new lives and families. Clothing or equipment can remind us of an old workplace or a famous sporting victory (or perhaps a heroic defeat). We find it hard to throw things away because we become emotionally attached to them; sentimentality is usually stronger than logic.

This sentimentality surrounds us in our homes, family photographs, souvenirs, gifts, and the bricolage of everyday life. Our favorite personal possessions are invaluable for these memories, rather than for any recognized monetary worth. Objects matter because they connect us to the past and to people no longer with us. Collectively they are the physical world we inhabit and they are means by which we communicate, exchange, and store our society.

“This Is Green River” was facilitated by Maria Sykes (Epicenter Principal) with assistance from Bryan Brooks (Epicenter Intern) and Steph Crabtree (Furniture Design/build) and curated by Pete Collard (curator from London, England). The exhibit is accompanied by a 16-minute documentary film by Alice Masters (filmmaker from Prague, Czech Republic). This project was made possible by support from The Utah Division of Arts & Museums, the Emery County Travel Bureau, the United Way of Eastern Utah, and the residents of Green River, Utah.