By Kevin Fayles, Assistant Director of Operations, Utah Division of State History
I am not a professional historian, but I have loved history for most of my life. I recall as a teenager meeting with a high school counselor. She said I could go into a history class or an English class, “but the English class would look better for college.” Being a trusting young person, I selected English, although in my heart I was interested in history.
Because my Division of State History colleagues and I love history, we are starting a blog, “Utah History Happenings.”
Our blog’s primary goal is to share highlights from State History’s programs, resources, events with you. We also hope this blog will become a hub of history-related activities and discussions. While staff of State History will be the primary early authors of blog articles, we hope to have other professionals and history-loving people join us.
In fact, if you have a 500 to 1,000 word history-related essay, I invite you to share it with me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Maybe you, too, will find yourself part of “Utah History Happenings.”
This blog is just one of several ways Utah State History is attempting to communicate with Utahns.
For example, our website (history.utah.gov) is our gateway for people wanting to learn more about our services. Have you visited it lately? In the past year, approximately 400,000 have visited our website.
Or perhaps you enjoy social media? A recent study of Facebook users in the United States showed that the greatest number of users are between the ages of 25 and 34. I do not fall within that range, but I still enjoy a good Facebook post, especially the hundreds of amazing historical photos that we post on our three Facebook pages: Utah State History, Utah State Antiquities Section, and Utah History Day. We also use Facebook to highlight new events and achievements. If you are not already following us on Facebook, I would invite you to do so.
Do you follow us on Twitter (@UTHistory)?
We also have several Instagram options for you. Don’t feel like you need to choose your favorite one. Follow all five:
If you like to use your phone for TALKING with people, you can still call our general number – 801-245-7225. We’re here to answer any questions you might have from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
And if you like to talk with people face-to-face, come on down to the Rio Grande Depot. I’d encourage you to first use our website and then call the person who can help you. Go to our home page (history.utah.gov), click on “About Us” at the top, and you’ll find our Staff Directory. We have 27 employees who are here to serve you.
All of these strategies – blog, website, social media, phone, or in-person – are our attempts to reach as many people as we can.
I am surrounded by good people who are doing great things for the people of Utah. I invite you to follow this blog and our social media so you can learn more about the things we are doing so you, too, can develop – or nurture – a love of and appreciation for history.
With hindsight, I’ve wondered if my career path would have been much different if I had taken that high school history class. I’ll never know. But I know I love history. And we will work to create a blog that is interesting and engaging. Please look for weekly updates on “Utah History Happenings.”