Sheep to Shawl

Frontier Homestead State Park invites you to our first big event of 2017. Join us Saturday, March 18 for a trip back in time as we explore wool, from Sheep to Shawl. Frontier Homestead State park in partnership with the Sagebrush Fiber Artisans will allow participants to journey through the step-by-step process of taking wool from the sheep’s back to yours. Join us from 10:00-2:00 to have fun with the whole family.

Sheep will be attending as well to give visitors the opportunity to touch and feel before and after their annual haircut. Shearing demonstrations will be given hourly starting and 10:30am and run until 1:30pm.



Demonstrations include shearing, washing, carding, spinning and dyeing wool. Knitting and weaving will be available to participate in. Come enjoy the activities and visit with our talented craftspeople. Cost is $2.00 per person or $5.00 per family. Friend’s Group members are free with membership card.


This living history experience is hosted at the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum located at 635 North Main Street in Cedar City. Call 435-586-9290 for more information.

Iron Mission Days: A Cedar City Birthday Celebration

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum once again celebrates the founding of Cedar City with a day of activities designed to honor the spirit of our community and those that created opportunities for our growth. Come and enjoy the cool crisp fall air on Saturday November 5th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm as Frontier Homestead hosts its annual Iron Mission Days. The cost is $5.00 per family. img_3760

This year the Park is excited to highlight two new features of the Homestead – the Hunter House Summer Kitchen and the Native Heritage Exhibit.  For the past two years many people have worked diligently to bring these projects to fruition.  Partnerships and support from the Cedar City RAP Tax, the Division of Utah Arts and Museums, and Southern Utah University helped make these new exhibits possible.  Todd Prince, Park Manager, said, “The addition of the summer kitchen and Native Heritage Exhibit greatly increased our capacity to offer more variety of activities to our visitors.  These will be prized for years to come.  And with the completion of the back grounds of the Hunter House, we will now be able to offer a space for group rentals such as wedding receptions and family reunions. The open house on November 5th is a wonderful opportunity for the community to experience these new exhibits first hand.”

Explore the pithouse.

The Summer Kitchen will be ready for a fall appearance.








Kasey Warhurst our Museum Blacksmith will be pounding iron.

Pioneer activities, crafts for kids, living history demonstrations and tours of our Native Heritage Area and Hunter House Summer Kitchen will be available. Staff will be showcasing tomahawk throwing, goodies baked in the wood-fired oven, and our Museum Blacksmith will be on hand. Additionally, visitors will be able to practice throwing the atlatl, pitching horseshoes, and of course, making the park’s well-known rag dolls.


Can you throw a tomahawk and make it stick?

Corn grinding will be available.







Saturday November 5th promises to be a fun-filled day of adventure for the whole family. Step back in time with Frontier Homestead State Park.

Check out our website for more information:

Frontier Folk Festival

FF option6 Frontier Homestead State Park Museum and The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation are pleased to bring the first annual Frontier Folk Festival to Cedar City, Utah, June 17-18, 11 am – 8 pm each day. The Festival will be held on the grounds of the museum located at 635 North Main Street. Admission is $1.00 per person.

Original art, live music, traditional craft demonstrations, and a horseshoe tournament combine to celebrate the diverse heritage of southern Utah.  The Frontier Folk Festival promises to be filled with remarkable talent.  Featured bands include Stillhouse Road, Wilhelm, The Red Hill Rangers, Hen Hao Fiddlers, The Sonoran Dogs, and Marty Warburton and Homegirls.

The Sonoran Dogs are one of the many groups playing the Festival.

For horseshoe enthusiasts, the tournament will take place on Saturday, with Junior level (under 14) starting at 11:00 a.m., and Adult level (14 and up) beginning at 1:00 p.m.  Prizes will be awarded for first and second places.

“We’ve been talking about this idea for years,” says Todd Prince, Frontier Homestead Park Manager.  “Working with our Museum Foundation, we finally decided to take the leap and offer a new experience to the community and all our patrons.  It will be a great event for anyone attracted to history, the visual arts and folk music.”  Festival Coordinator, Sandi Levy, added, “The Foundation is simply thrilled to offer this family friendly experience to the community.  It is a golden opportunity for us all to experience our heritage!”

Corn broom maker Marie Jagger will be one of the many Festival vendors.

We are looking forward to a diverse, high quality experience, with all our exhibiting artists, musicians, demonstrators and food purveyors. The Frontier Folk Festival will have something for everyone and we are excited to continue the local tradition of bringing the arts in all of their forms to Cedar City, Iron County, and beyond.

For more information and to see a full list of artists, musicians, and sponsors visit or click on the link below:

Frontier Folk Festival

Celebrate Archaeology at Frontier Homestead

A mock dig is one of the activities being presented. Frontier Homestead State Park welcomes archaeologists young and old and their families to participate in its annual Utah Archaeology Day on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in activities involving Native American games, history, traditional crafts and skills, and visit with a variety of demonstrators. Boy Scouts who participate in the event can earn their Indian Lore merit badge and complete some of the Archaeology badge requirements. Archaeology Day will take place from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Cost per person is $2.00 per person or $5.00 per family.

Archaeology Day is the kick-off for a series of activities sponsored by Frontier Homestead State Park, the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau, Project

Traditional crafts and skills.

Archaeology, Transcon Environmental, Southern Utah University-College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Intersearch, and the Pizza Cart; and, co-sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Home Depot, and Lin’s Fresh Market.

The celebration of Utah Archaeology and Preservation Month continues on Wednesday May 11 at 7:00 pm. Come enjoy the camaraderie of the Iron County Historical Society and meet historic archaeologist and co-owner of Transcon Environmental, Everett Bassett.  Mr. Bassett will present his recent findings pertaining to the mass graves near Mountain Meadows.  This is an exceptional and enlightening experience that is open to the public. The program will take place at Frontier Homestead State Park Museum, and is free to the public.

Frontier Homestead Nov 2015 065


On Saturday May 14, enjoy a free, guided tour of Old Iron Town, a late 19th Century iron mining town.  The tour will begin at Frontier Homestead State Park at 10 am and return by 1 pm. Sack lunches will be provided to all registered participants.  You must request a reservation and receive confirmation for this event.  Space is limited to 15 individuals.  Please email Samantha Kirkley to reserve a spot, including any dietary restrictions,  Please come with appropriate footwear, sunscreen, and water.  Limited carpooling to the site is available.

Next, on Monday May 16, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the public can take advantage of a rare opportunity to see artifacts from local archaeological sites.  Archaeologist and Curator, Barbara Frank, will be offering tours every half hour of the SUU Archaeological Repository.  The Repository is located in Room 101-A, west basement door, ELC, SUU campus. Directional signs will be on the doors of the ELC to ensure that you arrive.  All ages welcome!

Finally, on Wednesday, May 25, 7:00 pm at the Cedar City Public Library, archaeologist Barbara Frank will facilitate a book discussion of A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman. Fifteen copies of this book are available at the circulation desk. This is also a great opportunity to see the Archaeology Month display inside and take time to enjoy the Rock Art out front!

According to Samantha Kirkley, State Coordinator for Project Archaeology, “Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month, a Division of State History program, is an annual celebration of Utah’s archaeological and historic resources. With so many wonderful archaeological sites in Southern Utah, we really have something to celebrate and enjoy.  Archaeology Month offers opportunities for all ages to participate in activities that promote cultural understanding and respect, and stewardship of these special places.”


Sheep to Shawl: Spinning and Weaving

Controlling the yarn The spinning process turns prepared fiber into yarn or thread. The spinner controls the thickness and amount of twist to give the finished yarn the desired qualities. Usually yarn is plied, multiple strands twisted together, to give the final product more strength. The yarn is stored on a spindle or bobbin as it is spun.

A spinner in action


Once the spindle or bobbin is full the yarn is wound on to a skein winder. There are various types of skein winder, but they all perform the same purpose: they allow the length of the yarn to be determined and keep the yarn in organized, untangled loops, ready to be turned into fabric.




One way the yarn could be used is on a loom to weave fabric or rugs. Warp threads are those that run the length of the fabric. The warp is wound on to a beam at the back of the loom. Each strand of warp is then passed through a harness and a reed. The harness moves up and down to create the woven pattern. A simple loom will have just two harnesses which makes a plain weave. Looms with four, eight, or sixteen harnesses allow for more complicated patterns. In a floor loom, like the rug loom at the museum, the harnesses are controlled by treadles. When a treadle is stepped on a system of chains and pulleys raise one harness and lower the other. This creates a space for the shuttle containing the weft, the horizontal strands, to pass from one side to the other.

You can even weave using straws.

The other treadle is then pressed, causing the harnesses reversethe position of the warp, and the shuttle is passed back across the loom. Between each pass of the shuttle the reed is pulled forward to press the weft tightly in to place. As the fabric grows it is wound onto a beam at the front of the loom.

015Also, be sure to mark your calendars for our Sheep to Shawl event, This Saturday, March 19,  from 10am to 2pm. Call us at 435-586-9290 for more information.

Sheep to Shawl 2016

Join us Saturday, March 19 for a trip back in time as we explore wool, from Sheep to Shawl. Frontier Homestead State park in partnership with the Sagebrush Fiber Artisans will allow participants to journey through the step-by-step process of taking wool from the sheep’s back to yours. From 10:00-2:00 have fun with the whole family as you explore how pioneers made clothes. Sheep will be attending as well to give visitors the opportunity to touch and feel before and after their annual haircut. DSC_0569



Demonstrations include washing, carding, spinning and dyeing wool. Knitting, crocheting and weaving will be available to participate in. Come enjoy the activities and visit with our talented craftspeople. Cost is $1.50 per person or $5.00 per family. Friend’s Group members are free with membership card.

Iron Mission Days Are Here Again!

The spinners are always a hit.Frontier Homestead State Park Museum once again celebrates the founding of Cedar City with a day of activities designed to honor the spirit of our community and those that created opportunities for our growth. Enjoy the cool crisp fall air on Saturday November 7th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm as we host our annual Iron Mission Days. The cost is $5.00 per family. Troop 350 presses the apples ever year.Pioneer activities, crafts for kids, and living history demonstrations will be available. Staff will be showcasing tomahawk throwing, candle dipping and bread baked in the wood-fired bread oven.  Freshly pressed apple cider will be there for all. Additionally, visitors will be able to practice wood working skills in the Nelson Carpentry Shop and, of course, making the park’s well-known rag dolls. The Sagebrush Fiber Artisans will be practicing their craft, the replica Fremont Indian pithouse is now open for exploration, and patrons will be able to take advantage of the newly completed horseshoe pits.


Log Cutting is a family affair. Throwing a "hawk" can be an adventure.Saturday November 7th promises to be a fun-filled day of adventure for the whole family. Step back in time with Frontier Homestead State Park and celebrate Cedar City’s birthday Frontier Homestead style.

Our historic corn sheller in action. 

Fall Events for the Entire Family

With temperatures dropping, leaves changing, and the stars coming out earlier, it must be fall and that means Frontier Homestead gets ready for some of our most exciting events of the year. Frontier Homestead in pumpkin form.We start in October with our Haunted Homestead events. On the 19th   Haunted Homestead begins with an evening of Halloween stories, games, crafts and treats. Then on the 21st  we host our popular cemetery tour looking at unique and important headstones in the Cedar cemetery. October finishes off with some non-scary activities at the Livestock Festival on the 20th.

In November we celebrate Cedar City’s birthday with hands-on activities at Iron Mission Days on November 7. Pioneer activities, crafts for kids, and living history demonstrations will all be available. We will be showcasing Candle Dipping and bread baked in our earthen bread oven.  Freshly pressed apple cider will be there for all. Additionally, we will be running our water wheel, providing demonstrations of our sawmill, practicing wood working skills in the Nelson Carpentry Shop, and of course making our famous rag dolls and rope bracelets. Local fiber artists will also be practicing their craft.

Tasty treats from the earth oven at Iron Mission Days.In December, the holiday season is upon us, and Frontier Homestead State Park Museum will be bustling with festivities.  From a two-day Christmas Market to a week-long celebration of Christmas on the frontier, families will have abundant opportunity to celebrate Trees, Snow, and Cabins Aglow.

On December 4-5, The Homestead Christmas Market will fill Frontier Homestead State Park Museum with the sights, sounds, smells and atmosphere of a frontier Christmas marketplace.  Over 20 artists and crafters have been invited to create an old-fashioned shopping experience for visitors.  In addition to the artisans setting up in the Museum, the historic buildings on the grounds of Frontier Homestead State Park will be transformed into authentic pioneer shops, full of exceptional, hand-crafted items.   Whether it's exclusive handmade soap, a piece of whimsical or fine jewelry, a new painting or piece of art for the living room, a quilt or a toy, you will find it at the Homestead Christmas Market.

Some of the many lights shining during Christmas at the Homestead.Wrapping up the festivities is the week-long Christmas at the Homestead, December 7-12. Once again the Utah Shakespeare Festival is partnering with Frontier Homestead State Park to celebrate the season with local entertainment, pioneer-themed crafts, tasty treats and nightly appearances from St. Nicholas. Christmas at the Homestead is for the whole family. Every evening all the buildings will be lit up and open for exploration. There will be crafts, hot chocolate, music and Christmas cheer.

We will be providing more details for these events as they come closer, we just wanted to give you a snapshot into our coming attractions and provide an opportunity to mark your calendar. To stay up to date and connected to the park, please join our pages, subscribe to our blog and bookmark our website. We hope to see you this fall. Frontier Homestead has plenty of family friendly fun waiting.




INSTAGRAM: #frontierhomestead

Pioneer School - Part I

The school day begins.It’s September, and for many, school is back in session or ready to begin. We thought a visit to the frontier schoolhouse would be in order. Pioneer families that settled the west placed a high value on educating their children. The schoolhouse often became the first public building constructed. Pioneer schoolhouses were built in a central location and often served as the church and community meeting spot. Schoolhouse construction varied widely depending on available materials and number of students. Students were generally arranged with the youngest in the front desks or benches while the oldest were in the back. Many times boys and girls sat on different sides of the room. Near the entrance a bucket and dipper provided water for drinking. A privy, or outhouse, was behind the school. Heat in the winter was provided by a wood stove. Often those closest to the stove were hot while those on the other side of the room froze.

Local families combined resources to hire a teacher for their children and often the instructor would require room and board as part of their contract. Finding qualified teachers to travel to the western frontier proved difficult if they had to cover their own lodging.  Some schools had to close their doors for years after a teacher left, requiring children to study at home with their parents.

Early on, teachers would be required to “board around” with the families of their students. This meant they traveled between homes according to a rotating schedule. This became difficult for the teacher and the families.  Teachers often complained of unappetizing meals, poor sleeping quarters, lack of study space, and no room for guests. Rural parents disliked the burden placed on their pantry and the lack of privacy the family enjoyed while housing the teacher.

Teaching the class.The solution became the teacherage – a room built near or in the schoolhouse especially for the teacher. These rooms were often sparsely furnished, however, they overcame many of the problems of the “board around” system and led to a more structured and consistent educational environment.

School started at eight o’clock. As students entered the building they greeted the teacher. There was a short recess in the morning and again in the afternoon. At noon the students and teacher took their lunch break. Students brought their lunch from home. After eating the students went outside for fresh air and exercise. Group games such as tag and baseball were popular during the lunch hour or recess. Students would attend school as often as chores and other circumstances would allow. They could range in age from 4 to 21.

Stay tuned for more about pioneer school next week.

Military Appreciation Day at Frontier Homestead

In an effort to honor and recognize the significant contributions of our military members, Utah State Parks announces Military Appreciation Day Saturday, August 15. Day-use entrance fees into all Utah state parks will be waived for active service members and veterans and their families. All 42 state parks will offer special activities or displays as way to pay tribute and say thank you. Boom!

Come celebrate our courageous military personnel with your family, friends and community at Frontier Homestead on Saturday August 15, 2015. Frontier Homestead will present a number of military themed activities for young and old alike, including firing our cannon on every half hour between 10am and 3pm. Visitors will step back in time and live life as a frontier soldier. Activities include learning close order drills, writing letters with ink and quill, learning to communicate with signal flags and secret codes, playing frontier games, and more. Visitors will also have access to all our hands-on historical activity stations. Admission to the park is $5.00 per family or free for active service members and veterans and their families and Friends of the Frontier Homestead members. The activities will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At our Military Appreciation Day there is sure to be something to make you think, smile, or laugh so come join us. Spend some time learning about your family by playing with your family. For more information about Frontier Homestead or Military Appreciation Day call us at 435-586-9290, visit our facebook page, or our website Frontier Homestead is located at 635 North Main in Cedar City.

Writing home with an ink and quill

Practicing semaphore. Translation: FUN

FHSP History Part IV: Visuals

As we conclude our look into Frontier Homestead’s past, we thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the former site plans used to shape the direction of the park. 1960's

THE 1960’S

Having lost the rights to acquire the Depot property, the Iron Mission Park Commission moved forward with site plans for the Coal Creek location. They developed a series of fundraising brochures and sponsored a number of community fundraisers in an effort to fully realize their dream of a museum. The initial plans called for a “Hall of Transportation and Agriculture, to house the Gronway Parry Collection, a Relic Hall for the Daughters of the Pioneers and other private collections, a reproduction of the old Iron Foundry, and other buildings necessary to the comfort and convenience of visitors.”


THE 1970’S

With the establishment of Iron Mission State Park in 1973 and ongoing funding secured, designers with Utah State Parks began to develop an extensive site plan. Beginning with a welcome center on the south (near the existing Iron County Visitors Center) the design called for a sunken road that connected a carriage gallery (the site of the current museum) various log cabins and barns, and garden plots and orchard groves. Horse-drawn wagons would be available to move people through the park. This design would move Iron Mission from a static collection of artifacts to a vibrant living history village.


THE 1990’S

By 1998, with the construction of the present museum and wagon barn and the development of the south property by Iron County for a new visitor’s center, a new site plan was needed. The State of Utah, in partnership with museum consulting firms and landscape architects created a new Master Plan. The design revised the exterior of the park and significantly changed the back grounds by creating architectural and natural features surrounded by paved walkways. A group use area was added and exterior exhibits were included in contextual displays. This document guided the Park staff until it was replaced in 2012 with a new interpretive plan. Now that you have seen our past, come visit us and help shape our future.

Our New Native Heritage Exhibit

Map of the planned Native Heritage Exhibit.Iron County and Cedar City have a long cultural history, including that of Native peoples dating back thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers.  Before pioneers arrived in Southwest Utah, there were a number of different American Indian groups who lived here: 1) Paleo-Indians, 2) Archaic people, 3) the Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi), 4) the Fremont, and 5) the Numic (Paiute).  The Paleo-Indians were the oldest, going back 12,000 years, followed by Archaic hunter and gatherers, the Ancestral Pueblo, and the Fremont culture. The most recent are the Numic who arrived between 500-700 years ago and are still living here.  At Frontier Homestead, these traditions are represented by the Paiute camp and surrounding area that is dedicated to telling the story of these early peoples.The pithouse under construction.  The Native Heritage Exhibit, a new area of Frontier Homestead State Park & Museum, will allow each visitor the chance to experience how Native peoples lived in Iron County prior to Euroamerican settlement.  Additionally, students will be able to become archaeologists for the day, learning techniques and methods of the archaeological process.Explore the Fremont pit house and the Paiute wickiups, see a traditional shade shelter and Native garden, all set among native vegetation and replica prehistoric village mounds. This project is a joint effort of the Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation, The Archaeological Conservancy, Southern Utah University, Project Archaeology, and Cedar City RAP Tax.

Next Time: Paiute Deadfall Trap

Corn grinding will be one of the activities available.