West Valley City – Outside of its urban corridors, Utah is a region of small towns and scattered homes amid a big landscape. Its history is a mosaic of agriculture, ranching, manufacturing, community life, and culture. Unfortunately, it is also sometimes ignored in the wider histories. Please join us on Friday, September 30, as State History explores Utah’s rural life through 40 panels and presentations. This free history conference includes lunch, but an RSVP is required. The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center (1355 West 3100 South in West Valley City).

“Approximately 97 percent of Utah’s land area is considered rural,” said Brad Westwood, director of State History. “But this is not an unpeopled and unstoried landscape. About one in ten Utahns lives in towns of 2,500 people or less.”

Examples of conference topics include historical perspectives on the public lands debate, the role of historians in public land and water policy, evolving small towns, J.C. Penney Stores influence on Main Streets, developing Utah’s national parks, Utah coal towns, and what millennials have in common with Mormon pioneers.

Dr. Patty Limerick, Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West, will provide the keynote address: “Quicksand, Cactus, and the Power of History in Polarized Times.” It may not be an everyday custom for historians to embrace life lessons offered by cowboys, but on September 30, Patty Limerick will give this a try.

Details on registration and conference sessions can be found athttps://heritage.utah.gov/history/2016-conference