When one hears the word heritage one would think about something that is handed down but this time heritage has been handed up.

The Virgin Valley Heritage Museum has yet another Kuta on board to become the gatherer of information and artifacts that tell the tales of the history of the Virgin Valley and its founding families.


Elspeth Kuta is the new coordinator for the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum. Mesquite citizens had an opportunity to meet the new coordinator at a reception which was held on March 14 at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Erika Kuta Marler, who is the soon to be former coordinator of the museum, is currently training her own mother, Elspeth Kuta, to take her place in bringing history to the present.

By utilizing Facebook and social media Marler was able to develop an online presence to share the history of the Virgin Valley with the more modern world and our technology driven age.  Marler further utilized today’s technology by digitally cataloguing the thousands of artifacts already procured by the museum.

Marler and her family will be moving to Salt Lake City where her husband, Jon Marler, has been commuting to for many months. Though Erika will miss Mesquite and the Virgin Valley, the move, she admits, is a far better choice for the young family but she is sure she’s leaving the past and its future in good hands.

“The apple,” they say, “doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and the new Kuta in charge freely admits she shares her daughter’s love for the Virgin Valley.

Kuta, originally from New Zealand, has resided in the Virgin Valley for over twelve of her thirty two years in the United States and has raised five children, who all graduated from Virgin Valley High School.

For eight of those twelve years both Kuta and her husband worked in Minnesota and commuted to Mesquite on the weekends; perhaps that’s where the Marlers found the patience and strength to make their commute work for this long.

Kuta told the MLN that she’s not the world’s foremost authority on local history but she feels that her greatest quality for the job is that she is “nosey and determined to find everything out.”

When asked about any “historical” plans for the future Kuta said she’s been studying articles about the pioneers and their adobe brick making skills so she thought she’d begin her summer with a workshop on how to make adobe bricks.

Kuta definitely has her work cut out for her future plans but doesn’t want to cut her daughter’s present historical work out of the museum programs.  Kuta plans to continue Marler’s work with growing cotton plants and educating the children on some of the historical plants that were grown and farming instruments used in the Virgin Valley.

If you missed the meet and greet held at the art gallery you still have time to say farewell to Marler and meet the new Kuta on the block.  Kuta began her training on Thursday, March 12 and will be training with Marler for the next week; Marler’s last day will be on Saturday, March 21.

The Virgin Valley Heritage Museum is located at 35 West Mesquite Blvd., museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.