Coordinating History: Mahala Ruddell

Mahala Ruddell, Research Coordinator at Park City Museum, has always been interested in history. She shares, “As a kid, I was always reading books and dressing up in historical costumes. I loved going to museums and historical sites. By the time I got to college, I'd decided to turn my love of history into an actual job.”

Her job involves:

  • research and reference -- processing research requests coming from people working on genealogy, students writing dissertations, even city employees investigating historic structures

  • handling historic photographs including reproduction requests and scanning and digitizing the collection

  • the weekly Way We Were column in the Park Record.

When not researching and writing articles, Mahala works closely with a dedicated team of volunteers offering assistance with articles. She also maintains the Museum's Facebook page and helps install exhibits. She is proud to say, “We all wear several different hats around here,”

While researching the Prohibition Era in Park City to coincide with the current temporary exhibit SPIRITED: PROHIBITION IN AMERICA (on display April 5-May 25) she uncovered a few fun facts. “Maybe it's no surprise Park City was a haven of bootlegging and speakeasies—but how about a teenage hiker and friends stumbling across a still operation being overseen by none other than the sheriff or the seizure of 1,500 gallons of illegal booze in a single night's raid on Main Street establishments?” The exhibit shares the story of this history in a fun and compelling way.

When asked if she could travel to a bygone time in Park City's history what era she would pick, she chose the late 1880's and 90's which were a real heyday. “There were theatres and opera houses, saloons and a bustling red light district, investors making millions, and thousands of people living in Old Town. It would be fascinating to hear the clamor of the mines and mills and see the disparity in the natural environment with the hills stripped of trees used for timber and the air full of the industrial pollution. Such a different world from today.”

The research library at the Museum is free to use with an appointment. Learn more at Locals and visitors can contact Mahala with questions or to find out more. She can be reached via phone at (435) 649-7457 ext: 112.