Pioneer Museum’s Sheep Shearing Day in Lander

Pioneer Museum Sheep Shearing Day — A Wonderful Woolly Day!

text & images courtesy Pioneer Museum, Lander

On the prettiest day of the spring so far, over 300 people came out to Lander’s Pioneer Museum to celebrate the history and heritage of the sheep industry in Fremont County and have fun.

It was the third annual Sheep Shearing Day, which has been a popular spring event at the museum. Designed to recognize the long history of the sheep industry in the area, there were shearing demonstrations, crafts for kids, a petting zoo, horseback rides and talks on the history of sheep. Sponsored by the Lander and Riverton McDonalds, it was the first Kids Exploration program of the summer.

A new addition this year were lamb burgers grilled up by the Fremont County Pioneer Association. The lamb was provided by the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA), and was a huge hit with people.

Amy Hendricks of the WWGA said one of their missions was to get people more aware of how important the sheep industry still is to Wyoming’s economy. The fresh lamb is just one product produced in the state by the industry.

John Farr of Encampment did several talks on the history of the sheep business from the time of Christ to the present. “What a wonderful event,” he said. “It’s a great way to get young people involved in our history.”

According to Museum Curator Randy Wise, Sheep Shearing Day will be back. “We are always adding new things and making it a bigger, better event.” Wise said that there are many events throughout the summer at the museum, from Treks and Speakers to kids exploration programs. Two upcoming events for kids are Kids Gold Panning Day May 11, and Pioneer Arts and Crafts June 10.

Call the museum to sign up (space in the two kid’s program is limited) or check the museum website www.fremontcountymuseums.com for more information.

EXPLORE WYOMING: National Bighorn Sheep Center, Dubois

There are so many wonderful gems in our square state that are wonderful places to explore! If a Wyoming vacation is on your travel plans for this year, be sure to consider heading to Dubois – where the opportunities are endless for great recreation! The National Bighorn Sheep Center is just one wonderful place you must visit while you’re there. We enjoyed reading their end of year e-blast so much that we wanted to share their news with all our readers too …

Visit the National Bighorn Sheep Center in Dubois Online

From the National Bighorn Sheep Center …

Happy Holidays!

We thank you for your support, whether as a member, visitor, volunteer or partner organization of the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Association. You have helped make 2015 one of the best years yet for visitation to the Center and participation in our new programs and events. Check out a few photos and highlights from 2015 below.

Please consider a year-end gift to support our work in 2016. You can donate here. With your special gift of $25, $50 or $100, we’ll be educating more youth, offering new programs and supporting stewardship of our favorite wild critter, the bighorn.
Our Heroes

We want to recognize a few of our amazing volunteers who help make the magic happen here at the National Bighorn Sheep Center. Whether it’s Boyd Livingston who consistently plows our parking lot after a big snowstorm or Bill and Lori Sincavage and Karen and Mike McCullough who lend their expertise with our database, Bighorn Bash and agency research assistance, these volunteers are the backbone of our organization. Just to name a few others, Morgan Nimtz of SOAR has been a fabulous volunteer who helped display our new “Fred Bicksler” photo exhibit in the Ron Ball Gallery and spruced up our desert bighorn habitat. Additionally, Laney Hicks, Cheryl O’Brien and Carolyn Gillette have been sharing great insights and expertise for our education and communications committee efforts. Our Board of Directors made up of Mark Hinschberger, Bruce Thompson, Kathy Treanor,Mary Ann Eastman, Trudy Trevarthen and Brandon Houckare also volunteers who pitch in to lend their expertise, time and vision to our organization.

We’d especially like to say THANK YOU to our outgoing Board President Mark Hinschberger. Mark has been involved with the Bighorn Sheep Center for its entire 23 years, whether as the Forest Service Biologist with the Whiskey Mountain Technical Committee in the earlier years or as THE go-to guy for all things Bighorn Bash-related (our annual fundraiser). The organization is what it is today in large part due to Mark’s leadership, passion and commitment. We thank you, Mark for all you have done for the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Association and for bighorns!!

Thank you ALL for your commitment and hard work helping us do the important job of educating the public about bighorns! Please see a few highlights of our great volunteers below, and if you’re interested in lending a hand with upcoming projects and events, contact us today.

Outgoing Board President, life member and bighorn extraordinaire Mark Hinschberger sharing some insights and great views atop Torrey Rim during our September 2015 "Where Bighorns Roam" tour (photo courtsey of Sara Domek).
Outgoing Board President, life member and bighorn extraordinaire Mark Hinschberger sharing some insights and great views atop Torrey Rim during our September 2015 “Where Bighorns Roam” tour (photo courtsey of Sara Domek).
Volunteer, member and committee member Carolyn Gillette visits with volunteer/life member Lynn Stewart and member Mark Domek during the June 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event at the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Volunteer, member and committee member Carolyn Gillette visits with volunteer/life member Lynn Stewart and member Mark Domek during the June 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event at the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Participants hoof it up the hills outside of Dubois to visit an ancient Sheepeater Indian bighorn trapping site during our August outing co-hosted with the Dubois Museum (NBSIA photo).
Participants hoof it up the hills outside of Dubois to visit an ancient Sheepeater Indian bighorn trapping site during our August outing co-hosted with the Dubois Museum (NBSIA photo).
Education is what we are all about! Administrative Assistant Monie Finley shares information about the four North American wild sheep species with a group of students visiting the Center from China.
Education is what we are all about! Administrative Assistant Monie Finley shares information about the four North American wild sheep species with a group of students visiting the Center from China.
Member and Bighorn Bash donor Tom Lucas crafting a traditional bighorn horn bow in his Dubois studio (photo courtesy of the Dubois Frontier).
Member and Bighorn Bash donor Tom Lucas crafting a traditional bighorn horn bow in his Dubois studio (photo courtesy of the Dubois Frontier).
Volunteers Katrina and Luke Schueneman lend a hand during our 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event held at the Bighorn Sheep Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Volunteers Katrina and Luke Schueneman lend a hand during our 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event held at the Bighorn Sheep Center (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Charter members Budd Betts, Boyd Livingston and Carol Petera enjoy the sunshine and one another's company during the 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).
Charter members Budd Betts, Boyd Livingston and Carol Petera enjoy the sunshine and one another’s company during the 2015 Bighorn Rendezvous event (photo courtesy of Bruce S. Thompson).

 

 

 

WYOMING ARTS: A Noble History Comes Home to Lander

Washakie Museum Fall 2015 WLM

A Noble History Comes Home:  Chief Washakie paintings that hung in the Noble Hotel return to Lander for the first time in 50 years.

Twenty three epic paintings about the life of Chief Washakie by famed western artist J.K. Ralston will be on display at the Lander Pioneer Museum. The paintings used to hang in the Noble Hotel, but haven’t been seen in Lander since the hotel closed nearly fifty years ago.

The paintings and extensive history about Washakie and the Shoshone people will be on display in the main gallery of the museum for the coming year. There is also a display about the Noble Hotel featuring original furniture and a video on Washakie. The museum’s winter hours are currently Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The paintings were commissioned by Harold Del Monte, owner of the Noble Hotel in 1945. Del Monte, an avid historian, wanted guests to experience western history while they stayed at his hotel. He amassed a large collection of Indian artifacts, had western style furniture made to create the feeling of a mountain lodge, and used western themes throughout the hotel.

Noble History Comes Home November 2015 3

 

Noble History Comes Home November 2015 4

He hired Montana artist J. K. Ralston to create a series of paintings about the life of Chief Washakie, who Del Monte recognized as one of the most important Wyomingites. Ralston, then at the beginning of his career, spent time in Lander researching the landscape and clothing of the Shoshone. He then painted twenty three large scale oil paintings. The paintings cover important parts of Washakie’s life from his becoming chief, to the battle of Crowheart Butte, the coming of white settlers, the creation of the reservation and his death as a revered leader. Ralston went on to become one of the major western artists and his work is highly sought after by collectors.

When the hotel closed in 1969 the paintings went into storage. They were on display for two years at the state capitol in Cheyenne. The capitol building is closed for renovation and the Governor declined to buy the paintings to permanently display. The Alice C. Del Monte Trust, which owns the paintings, approached the Pioneer Museum about displaying them in Lander again. “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to host the paintings,” said museum Visitor Services Coordinator Randy Wise. “This is a major western art collection that has so many ties to this area: The Chief Washakie story, the connection to Lander and the Noble Hotel. It is especially nice to be able to have this exhibit during our 100th anniversary. It is an honor to be able to share these with the people of Fremont County again.”

An unveiling of the exhibit was held October 17. About 100 people attended the catered affair.  When the curtain dropped and the paintings were revealed against the deep red background an audible gasp was heard. Many people in attendance could remember the paintings when they were in the hotel. More than a few had worked at the hotel when they were younger.

 

Noble History Comes Home November 2015

Noble History Comes Home November 2015 2

“What a wonderful thing to have back in Lander,” said Lander resident Gene Thompson. “This collection should be seen here where it was created and where Chief Washakie lived.”

“We are grateful for all the hard work that has gone into getting this exhibit to happen,” said Fremont County Museum Central Director Scott Goetz. “We’d especially like to thank May and Dave Raynolds for their generous sponsorship of the exhibit. Without their support the display would not be nearly as complete.”

The paintings will be on display anytime the museum is open. The museum held a free open house for the public to celebrate the paintings November 7, featuring guest speakers about Washakie, Ralston and the Noble Hotel, and special tours of the gallery.

The “Noble History Comes Home” exhibit is one of many new and exciting things happening at the museum. Museum officials share that new displays, programs and events will be coming up in 2016.

For more information, visit the museum website at www.fremontcountymusuems.com, on Facebook at Pioneer Museum Lander Wyoming or call 307-332-3373.

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Photo captions:

One of the Ralston paintings: Chief Washakie as a young man.

One of the Ralston oil paintings that hung in the Noble Hotel: A Shoshone Scout guides the army.

Steff Kessler of Lander looking at the Noble History Comes Home exhibit.

Visitors admire the paintings on exhibit at the Pioneer Museum.