Hutchings Museum

The Hutchings Museum in Lehi, Utah houses natural and cultural artifacts from across the globe. These collections have enabled the museum to focus very intently on many important programs such as conservation, history, paleontology, archaeology, technology, education, and various hands-on projects to inspire curiosity in adults and children alike. The primary focus of the museum is to provide opportunities for education, exploration, and community impact.

We inspire exploration and intercultural dialog and diplomacy by creating and distributing educational content. We invite the public to be involved in citizen science projects and make history through conservation and exploration as well as just tell about it. We reach out to and engage minorities, refugees, people with disabilities and language barriers by providing programs they can participate in. This enables us to integrate fringe members of the community and create an inclusive organization. We are making history as well as preserving it and helping people see that their contribution matters.

Mission Statement

At the Hutchings Museum, our mission is to cultivate John and Eunice’s marvelous spirit of exploration and curiosity in our community and in visitors of all ages. Everything we do, every exhibit, and every program are driven by our core values. 

Core Values

Preservation: We catalog and prepare artifacts for the future enjoyment and education of the public. 

Restoration: We restore damaged artifacts and images for the future enjoyment, inspiration and education of the public. Conservation: We believe in conserving the local natural environment through education and opportunities for the public to participate in local wildlife conservation projects. 

Exploration: We believe in learning through doing. We will be providing opportunities for the public to participate in expeditions, classes, workshops and projects that will inspire and educate them. 

Stewardship: We have been entrusted with many historical images, stories, and artifacts. We take this responsibility and strive to make it accessible to future generations in person and digitally. 

Education: We believe sharing the knowledge we have with as many people as possible. We will continue to create programs to have the museum reach and educate both children and adults. We create educational resources for teachers, parents, and researchers. 


The Hutchings Museum is becoming a hub of community learning and enjoyment. Through an educational approach, the Museum strives to ignite curiosity, a spirit of exploration and wildlife conservation

What we do 

  • Deliver educational programs and learning experiences. 
  • Present compelling exhibitions and programs related to history, natural science s, peoples and cultures and conservation. 
  • Generate and share new knowledge and research through exhibitions, publications, and web- based media. 
  • Collect, preserve, and interpret significant historical objects with a focus on regional history, world history. 

Goals and Objectives 

  • Strengthen and deepen the Museum’s engagement in the community.
  • Grow audience for the Museum so that it is relevant to the diverse age range and demographics of Lehi and Utah county.
  • Increase participation of low-income, special needs, ESL, and military communities.
  • Increase access, reach, and visibility through targeted outreach efforts in the community. 
  • Establish partnerships with other like-minded non-profit organizations. 
  • Strengthen strategic relationships with community leaders.

Establish the Museum as a leader and partner in education. 

  • Strengthen the partnership with local school Districts. 
  • Refine and expand K-12 educational offerings that meet the needs of administrators, educators, homeschoolers and students. 
  • Develop digital resources.
  • Grow public programs and adult education offerings that promote our core values and build community.
  • Reinstall and reinterpret permanent galleries to enhance learning and promote art and history connections. 
  • Develop and promote the collection as a primary resource for learning and to support key narratives in the permanent exhibition.
  • Provide a robust digital learning experience.
  • Grow financial support for education and museum expansion.
  • Relaunch and emphasize docent program to provide a strong volunteer pool. 

Provide a fun and enjoyable Museum experience. 

  • Create a welcoming and comfortable entry experience.
  • Adopt a culture of curiosity and exploration and develop a visitor centric approach. 
  • Provide family-friendly programs and classes to promote comfort and engagement. 
  • Evolve changing exhibition program to connect with community through temporary and changing exhibits. 

Ensure long-term sustainability and grow organizational capacity. 

  • Receive museum accreditation through the American Alliance of Museums. 
  • Cultivate, retain, and attract a talented staff and board members. 
  • Grow volunteer corps to provide expertise and support to Museum activities. 
  • Focus board on long-term strategy, fundraising and executive oversight. 
  • Grow and diversify financial resources—operational and endowment—with a focus on major donors, major gifts, and planned- giving. 
  • Apply for and receive grants offered through the state and private foundations. 

Strengthen the Museum’s brand, communications, and marketing. 

  • Ensure all communications align with the museum style guide. 
  • Enhance public and media relations. 
  • Review and align the Museum’s marketing efforts with its audience development goals. 
  • Create a communication strategy for promoting the Museum’s accomplishments.

Organization History

The Hutchings Museum is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit organization that was founded by John Hutchings in 1955. Hutchings was a lifelong explorer and collector who was born in 1889. After founding the museum, he subsequently gifted it to the people of Lehi in 1956. The museum is permanently housed in the Veterans Memorial Building, near the city center, and houses natural and cultural artifacts from around the globe. Over time the Museum evolved and accepted donations to its collection and displaying them to the public. Much of the collection has never been displayed and is still in storage. We intend to expand our venue in order to display the rest of the collection, host travelling exhibits and display newly acquired artifacts. Our goal is to implement these changes in the next five years. 

The Hutchings Museum serves as a leader in Utah County and distinguishes itself through an educational approach. Our standing vision and strategy has always been to serve as a cutting-edge cultural organization that engages the community as an accessible and welcoming center of learning. We are a highly visible organization that continues to fill its galleries with exhibitions and educational opportunities. We also strive to bring the Museum to classrooms furthering learning through art, artifacts, history, and nature. We do connect with teachers and serve as an essential partner to their own classroom activity planning. We actively partner with other cultural, educational, and social service organizations such as the National Geographic, Smithsonian Institute, Thanksgiving Point, The Aquarium, Utah Valley University, and Brigham Young University. We continuously strive to enhance historical appreciation among our local population and are doing so on a continuous path of long-term financial security and sustainability.

The demographics served by the museum include all variety of people who visit or live in Utah County, Utah. We also have a special Veterans Memorial Hall to encourage veteran support. The average visitor age ranges between 6 and 65. We do offer special programs for those with various disabilities, English language learners, veterans, low income populations, and our Native American population. We do travel to various international communities and we have had numerous people join our expeditions from all over the United States. We also have had people from Canada and Australia take our online classes, this is more popular among the homeschool community, expatriate community, and military families living abroad.


Our organization has a full-time Director, Curator, and several part-time educators. We also utilize three volunteer educators and four volunteer docents, equating approximately 200 hours of volunteer work per year. Daniela Larsen, our Executive Director, is a National Geographic Certified Educator who guides many of our cultural exchange, conservation, diplomacy, and science expeditions around the United States and internationally. 


The museum represents a critical connection to our history and helps current and future generations maintain effective education in these critical areas. Without our histories, artifacts, and scientific resources, the meaning can be lost in our modern world of learning through screens. The museum helps to get kids interested in conservation, exploration and technology. Without support our programs would go away.


We have numerous educational programs that we are in continuous evolution and creation to ensure the most up-to-date and interactive learning opportunities are possible. These include:

  • Educational videos and online curriculum
  • Citizen Science Projects (Kestrel Banding and tracking, breed and release monarchs)
  • Live Animal Shows
  • Museum tours – more than 200,000 visit us annually
  • Preserve and create paleontology collections
  • Veterans Memorial Hall and military history exhibits
  • Archaeology exhibits
  • Native American exhibits
  • Wild West exhibits
  • Geology exhibits
  • Ocean exploration exhibits
  • Space exploration exhibits
  • Cultural and Scientific educational events (local and online)

Outreach Programs

The Hutchings Museum outreach programs are available upon request. The museum offers several outreach programs for groups looking for a captivating learning experience to come to them. 

Live Animal Shows 

This presentation includes a variety of lizards, snakes, and amphibians. We discuss the habitats and adaptations of the different animals that they have developed in order to survive. We will go over body structure and what makes the animal what they are. 


This presentation goes over the creepy crawlies. We provide a variety of arthropods to show the students and teach them about insect structure and function, gain an understanding of the beneficial and harmful insects, and go on a bug hunt! (weather permitting). 

Rocks and Minerals 

This presentation includes hands-on specimens and activities. We go over the different rock formations, Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary, as well as minerals and the uses of geology in everyday life.


In this presentation, we go over the influence that mining has had in Utah and western settlement. We bring different mining tools and rocks and minerals that are mined and discuss their uses. 

Native American 

This presentation covers different technology that the Native Americans used before and during the Wild West era, what resources they had, and how they used them in their everyday lives. We demonstrate some of the different dwellings, hunter and gatherer lifestyle, and the variety of cultures. 


Includes hands-on fossils and discusses what fossils are and the different ways they are formed. Activities can include a puzzle of a dinosaur and a fossil matching game. 

Western Settlement Presentations 

The following presentations can be done individually or grouped as one presentation: 

Wild West 

This Presentation covers mining, farming, and ranching in westward expansion. We also discuss how trains made travel safer and faster, influencing westward growth even further. 


This presentation covers the arrival of the pioneers to the Utah area. We discuss how life was for those that traveled across plains and what they did to survive. There are hands-on activities and artifacts that the students can handle. 

Pony Express 

In this presentation, we go over communications across the country. We go over the brief history of the Pony Express, its beginnings and how it has influenced the west, to the telegraph system that connected the East to the West. 


In this presentation, we discuss how transportation has changed and how the transcontinental railroad changed the way the west was settled. 

Field Trips 

Our museum offers different Museum Experiences that allow educators to focus the field trip on areas that most closely aligns with their learning objectives. Teachers can customize field trips by choosing any six of the Museum Experiences. 

Education Courses

Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation
Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation is a two-day introductory course consisting of 8 hours of lecture and a 4-hour lab. The class concludes with a 1-hour, closed-book exam. Topics covered in the course: introduction to wildlife rehabilitation, basic anatomy and physiology, intake and admission, fluid therapy, handling and physical restraint, nutrition, head and spinal trauma, zoonoses, housing and criteria for release and euthanasia. Lab topics include: 

  • gavage; 
  • physical restraint; 
  • intramuscular and subcutaneous injections; 
  • basic physical examination; 
  • limb immobilization and weighing. 

Lab included. This course is taught by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and is hosted by Hutchings Museum.

Reuniting Raptors

This course is designed to provide the essential knowledge for licensed wildlife rehabilitators to reunite or foster most species of North American raptors. Most healthy nestling raptors “rescued” by the public are not truly orphans. It’s generally agreed their best option is to be reunited with parents or fostered to another nest, so they can grow up in the care of wild adults. Course registration includes both the book Calls of the Wild by Anne Miller and the accompanying CD.  This course is taught by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and is hosted by the Hutchings Museum.

Wildlife Pain and Wound Management 

Developed specifically for wildlife care professionals, Wildlife Pain and Wound Management provides a systematic review of the physiology and treatment of the most common types of soft-tissue wounds seen in injured mammalian and avian species. Topics include:

  • wound assessment, 
  • wound types, 
  • antibiotic therapy, 
  • cleaning and topical agents, 
  • bandaging techniques and 
  • the physiology and stages of wound healing. 

Lab Included. This course is taught by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and is hosted by the Hutchings Museum.

Current programs also include: 

  1. Google Virtual Reality Education, 
  2. Girls Who Code, 
  3. Roots and Shoots (Jane Goodall Institute), 
  4. Adobe Picture Restoration, 
  5. Nature Conservatory (land donated by the city), and 
  6. School Outreach. 

Animal Care Program Partnering with Veterans and Teens in Cultivating Positive Mental Health 

At Hutchings Museum, we not only want to cultivate John and Eunice’s marvelous spirit of exploration and curiosity in our community and in visitors of all ages, but we also want to come alongside veterans suffering from PTSD and teens struggling with mental health move past their boundaries through the healing power of animals and the dedication of a caring and professional organization. 

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by symptoms related to intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). It is estimated to affect approximately 7.8% of the US population (Kessler et al., 1995) and can lead to substantial work and social impairments (e.g., Hidalgo and Davidson, 2000). It is a difficult disorder to treat, with dropout and non-response rates up to 50% in studies of empirically-supported treatments (Schottenbauer et al., 2008). 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that animals may provide unique elements to address several PTSD symptoms. With respect to intrusion, the presence of an animal is purported to act as a comforting reminder that danger is no longer present (Yount et al., 2013) and to act as a secure base for mindful experiences in the present (Parish-Plass, 2008). Individuals with PTSD often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth (e.g., Marr et al., 2000; O’Haire et al., 2013). Animals have also been demonstrated as social facilitators that can connect people (e.g., McNicholas and Collis, 2000; Wood et al., 2005) and reduce loneliness (e.g., Banks and Banks, 2002), which may assist individuals with PTSD to break out of isolation and connect to the humans around them. One of the most challenging aspects of PTSD tends to be hyperarousal. The presence of an animal has been linked to secretion of oxytocin (Beetz et al., 2012b) and reductions in anxious arousal (e.g., Barker et al, 2003), which may be a particularly salient feature for individuals who have experienced trauma. (Reference: Data from the Animal-Assisted Intervention for trauma: a systematic literature review by Marguerite E. O’Haire,* Noémie A. Guérin, and Alison C. Kirkham).

Depression According to Yale Medicine, suicide is preventable, but rates of suicide are increasing worldwide, and it is now the second leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults. Even though there are several ways to treat depression (ie drugs, therapy, diet/exercise regimes), interaction with an animal has proven to work in many cases of depression. Caring for an animal has also been shown to improve self-esteem, physical health, and socialization for both the person and their furry friend. Walking, feeding, grooming and playing with an animal will “force” the individual to get up and get moving (if not for themselves, then because the animal needs their attention and care). Having an animal companion in their life may be one of the most important ways an individual that is suffering can help treat depression. The PTSD references can be found at the following website:

We are currently seeking grant funding to assist us with implementing our Animal Care Program – Partnering with Veterans and Teens in Cultivating Positive Mental Health. 

  • Participants will complete a mental health inventory at the beginning of the program. 
  • Participants will be partnered with one of the animals housed at Hutchings Museum. 
  • Participants will be trained by a volunteer/staff member in the care of their specific animal.
  • Participants will come in weekly to care and spend time with their assigned animal. 
  • Bi-Monthly, participants will complete a follow-up mental health inventory.