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By donating its historic landmark depot to Utah for a state art museum, Union Pacific has solved a decades-old problem and done a great favor for the state's art lovers.

The state has a 1,200-piece art collection, most of which has been in storage for years because of lack of display space. A legislative audit in 1980 recommended that permanent exhibit space be found, but of course, funding for such a project has been lacking.It would be hard to find a more readily available location for such a museum, or to imagine better use of the little-used depot.

Because of Union Pacific's generosity, a building is now in hand. Renovation will be required to make it suitable as a museum. No tax funds will be used for such work. Private funds will be sought and a foundation has been formed to receive such donations.

The Union Pacific depot was opened in 1909 and has served as a landmark gateway to the city ever since. The decline of rail travel has made the depot less useful, but it would be a shame to abandon such an architectural landmark in the city's history.

Union Pacific apparently feels the same way, saying that one reason for donating the depot was to preserve its architectural integrity while at the same time making sure it would be appropriately used.

With the proper backing in getting the depot ready, the 90-year-old Utah Fine Art Collection can be brought out of storage and displayed for all the state's citizens to see - a cultural heritage that has been too long hidden from public view.