The Best Exhibits Around: A Guide to Provo & Orem Museums

Spring is ending, colleges are letting out, and soon summer will be in full swing. If you’re looking for things to do around Utah that will get you out of the house, keep the kids occupied, or make use of your after-work free time, then this blog series is right up your alley. Each week I’ll post about a different set of places you can visit and activities you can do around Utah.

Provo and Orem’s six museums are a little-known treasure. Though they are small, all of them have free admissions. What sets these museums apart from others is their emphasis on local interests. Many of them feature local artists or employ students from BYU or UVU as employees or interns. Some feature historical and anthropological exhibits that contribute to Utah’s rich heritage.


BYU Museum of Art

Monday and Thursday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday 12:00pm to 6:00pm; closed major holidays. Free admission except for special exhibits.

North Campus Drive, Provo, UT 84602

The BYU MOA features permanent exhibits with local and religious art, as well as rotating exhibits that focus on various themes. Some of the themes for the past year have been about heroes and monsters, Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami, and pieces that are about women. The museum is small enough for young children to go through without getting bored; it also has a small playroom for kids to interact with art and the current exhibit’s themes. For adults, don’t get discouraged – although the museum is relatively small, exhibits change every few months, making it worth visiting a few times a year.


BYU Museum of Paleontology

Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; closed on University holidays. Free admission.

1683 North Canyon Rd., Provo, UT 84604

The dinosaur museum is also small enough for kids with short attention spans. Fossils and exhibits are unique in that most of them were discovered by former BYU professors. The most exciting part of this museum is the large windows that allow you to see into the back room where BYU students and museum employees are currently working on new fossils. My favorite part is the replicas of skull fossils that you can actually touch.


Museum of Peoples and Cultures

Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00pm; (M 6-9 by appointment); closed holidays. Free admission.

700 North 100 East, Provo, UT 84602

This museum is another small, BYU-funded one. The exhibits revolve around anthropology. Currently, the museum is showcasing Mexican masks and modern and ancient Mayan art. There are a lot of arts and crafts and events for children. What I like best about it is that many of the exhibits are relative to much of the population of Utah, such as Native American and Polynesian cultures.


Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum

Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm; Saturday 10:00am to 5:00 pm; closed Sunday. Free admission.

290 MLBM, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602

Currently, this museum is closed for construction, though it is planning to reopen spring of next year. When it is open, it is dubbed “the dead zoo,” because of all the taxidermy animals it has on display. There are also displays featuring bugs, ecosystems, and live reptiles. The best part of this museum is the free classes where there are live animals you can pet.


Daughters of Utah Pioneers and Pioneer Village

Jun-Aug, Monday through Friday 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and by appointment. Free admission.

500 West 600 North, Provo, UT 84601

This museum shows old pioneer relics, as well as replicas that visitors can interact with in the village. For Utah residents that have been taught much about the state’s pioneer heritage, the village gives you a rare opportunity to have history come to life. I thought it was really interesting to see original pioneer structures, especially with Utah holiday Pioneer Day coming up.


Woodbury Art Museum

Closed holidays. Free Admission.

575 East University Parkway #250, Orem, UT 84097

Found in the University Mall, this museum is funded by Utah Valley University. Frequently, it displays local student and faculty art. Permanent exhibits attempt to represent Utah Valley, while changing exhibits feature Utah artists or favorites, such as James C. Christensen. This museum encourages local scouting troops to visit, but also has events for families and teens.


“Provo/Utah Valley Area Museums.” (11 July, 2013)