History of Museums in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)

Within the first decade of the initial Mormon settlement of Utah in 1847, plans were discussed for the establishment of a museum. The Universal Scientific Society was formed in 1854 to promote "a museum, library and reading room" in Salt Lake City. In the autumn of 1855 two French scientists spent a month in Utah. Their report commented that the "Mormons have for some time been occupied by the idea of founding a universal museum. They have already got together a considerable quantity of objects." The United States government was also interested in the flora, fauna, and geography of the new lands that were being opened up and, in fact, had sent expeditions into the territory beginning in 1843 J.C. Frémont. Specimens collected were deposited with the sponsoring surveys, agencies, and museums in Washington, D.C., where many are still preserved today.

In 1869 John W. Young, son of Brigham Young, established a museum near Temple Square as a private venture. The one-story adobe building was initially known as the Salt Lake City Museum and Menagerie, and it included a variety of live native animals as well as a cageful of monkeys. It ultimately became the Deseret Museum, from which other Utah museums would spin off or benefit from by obtaining some of its collections.

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