NEWS & EVENTS
This exhibit explores a period in American history when food was not only a commodity, but growing it, rationing it, and eating it could all be considered acts of patriotism. Artifacts from the 1940s provide a snapshot of life on both the battle and home fronts during the holiday season.
Did WWII soldiers get Christmas dinner? What is a Victory Garden? How do you bake a cake with no sugar? Come find out! Celebrate the holidays by taking a trip back in time at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum.
The museum will also be accepting cash donations on behalf of the VFW and Donna Stewart. All donations will be used to send care packages to soldiers currently serving overseas.
A Matter of Taste - Food & Festivities at the Broadway Theater. Join us for a multi-ethnic feast with theater performances and Music interludes. November 10, 2012. Tickets available at Sweetwater County Historical Museum, rock springs Historical Museum and Rock Springs and Green River Chambers of Commerce. Click here for more information.
Style to Waist - Apron Fashion Show &
High Tea, Saturday, November 17 at the Golden Hour Senior Center
from 3-5 pm. Enjoy a selection of scrumptious teas, sweets and
savories catered by Get Real Coffee. Explore the evolution of
aprons from the classic and practical, no-frills flour sack variety to
the embellished and haute couture hue of the fashion conscious.
Tickets available at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum and the
Golden Hour Senior Center. Click
for more information.
The Rock 'n River Chef's Challenge will mark its Sixth annual competition on Friday, May 4, 2012 at the Sweetwater County Events Complex in support of the Business Leadership Network and MentorABILITY programs. The programs work to promote career opportunities for people with disabilities. All chefs are encouraged to participate in the event whether they are in the amateur division or in the professional division.
Visit the Sweetwater County Museum booth.
Pick up tickets at the Museum
Sweetwater County Historical Society Meeting
May 5, 2012 - From the Melting Pot - Empanadas with Elda Reyes -
By Stephanie Thompson, People Editor, Green River Star
A museum has a lot more to offer than its exhibits. Some of its most precious items may not be seen by the public unless upon request. This is where the new Sweetwater County Museum curator Brie Blasi comes in. The museum has numerous collections and of those collections only 5 to 20 percent ever make it to the exhibit room, Blasi explained.
Blasi oversees the care of collections and archives. She also is the one who would take in a new item or collection. Once an item is donated, she tries to identify it through research. Most of the time she can figure out what it is, but even the best can be stumped.
The best care is given to the collections to ensure the preservation. Blasi said some items must be stored at a certain temperature or humidity or they need to be stored in a specific type of lighting. “I make sure everything is cared for to museum standards,” she said. Those who donate their items to the museum can rest assured knowing Blasi will have the items taken care of. Blasi is not new to the field or the community.
She grew up in Green River and graduated from Green River High School in 1998. Blasi not only grew up in Green River, but didn’t live too far from the Sweetwater County Museum. “I was one of those kids who used to come and visit the museum in the summer,” Blasi said.
Those summer visits intrigued Blasi’s interests and soon she realized she had a real passion for history and preserving it. After graduating from high school, Blasi obtained a bachelor’s degree in humanities and fine arts from the University of Wyoming. She then obtained a master’s degree in history with an emphasis in public from New Mexico State.
For the past 3 1/2 years, Blasi worked as the curator for the Texas Historical Commission in El Paso, Texas. Prior to that, she worked at the Pecos National Historical Park in Santa Fe, N.M. and at the New Mexico State University as an architect historian.
Blasi always liked Green River, but never had an opportunity to come back. “I never thought I’d be able to find museum work here,” Blasi said. When she heard about the opening at the museum, she thought she would give it a shot.
She was elated when she got the job. It’s nice to become reacquainted with Sweetwater County history, which is what the museum collects, she said. “It’s like a homecoming,” she said. “I can really relate to the collections.”
Blasi is happy to find a job at the museum that sparked her interest in history. “I’m rediscovering all the great history that made me fall in love with history,” Blasi said. “It’s nothing that I ever expected to happen, but when it did it sort of fell into place.
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012, in the Green River Star
A new Wyoming Rock Art exhibit is on display at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum. The exhibit, sponsored by the Newcastle Field Office of Bureau of Land Management, was created to travel to communities throughout Wyoming. Museum visitors will learn about the rich cultural heritage that is recorded on cliffs, boulders, and rock shelters throughout Wyoming.
Petroglyphs and paintings from across Wyoming are featured. The exhibit is organized by commonly asked questions, such as What is rock art? How old is it? What is the oldest rock art in Wyoming? How do people damage it? What does it mean? How do you visit rock art? Rock art in Wyoming dates from the end of the Ice Age to the early historic era and includes a rich variety of images made on rock surfaces.
Rock art can be painted or indented into the rock surface by battering, incising, or abrading the rock. Rock art is fragile and can be easily damaged by people touching or scratching it. Rock art changes a natural landscape into a sacred place where Indians conducted religious ceremonies. Damaging the images destroys the sacred place and everyone’s enjoyment of the rock art. We hope that this exhibit will enhance your appreciation of rock art and encourage you to join us in protecting this vulnerable resource.
Ruth Lauritzen, SWCHM Director, is working to put Green River on the map to acknowledge its historic mining past. Work has continued on nomination for the Wyoming State Historic Mine Byways program which will highlight some of the historic chemical industries around Green River. The proposal contains information and potential interpretive sites on the sal soda, trona, potash and oil shale industries. Once the nomination is complete, it will be submitted to the state for consideration in the program.
with Elda Reyes
Nestled in Horse Thief Canyon north and east of Rock Springs, the town of Superior, Wyoming has always survived, even when the major employer, Union Pacific Coal Company, closed and a great deal of the town site was removed. The story of this town--really the story of two towns--is told in a new local history book Images of America: Superior and South Superior by Frank Prevedel. The book is released on June 13 and the Sweetwater County Historical Museum and the Town of Superior will be hosting an author signing and reception in the Superior Town Administration Building on Saturday June 18th from 2-4 p.m. Refreshments will be served and visitors can view the exhibits at the Superior Museum, which have been developed by the town and the Sweetwater County Historical Museum staff. All profits from the book will benefit the Sweetwater County Museum Foundation.
Born in Superior, raised in South Superior, and a graduate of Superior High School, Frank Prevedel experienced all aspects of coal town life, including working in the mines during his breaks from college. A retired educator and administrator and former state senator, Prevedel has always kept his ties to his hometown, participating in the planning of a number of reunions for former citizens of the towns. "I just didn't want Superior and South Superior to be forgotten," he says, "The people who came here were the true pioneers. Often living conditions were rudimentary at best, especially in the early days. These people came, stayed, worked and made a community."
After the coal mines shut down, most of the population left, with only a fraction of them remaining, mostly living in South Superior, the independent, non-company sister city. By 1963 the town of Superior was disincorporated. The "South" was dropped in 1984, and the remaining town is known as Superior. "It is uncanny how far and wide the residents of Superior are," Prevedel muses, "I seem to meet people who lived in Superior wherever I go."
"We are thrilled for Frank and the community as a whole," comments Richelle Johnson, Mayor of Superior. "Things like this book build a bridge between the past and the future. We are happy to have been a part of this project."
The book is part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia Publishing. These books are designed to tell a community's story through photographs. The majority of images from Superior and South Superior were provided by the Sweetwater County Historical Museum, others by the Rock Springs Historical Museum, the Superior Museum, the Wyoming State Archives, the American Heritage Center of the University of Wyoming, the New Studio, the author's collection, and numerous individuals.
The Superior Museum is located in the Superior Town Administration Building and is open during regular building hours, Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Sweetwater County Historical Museum is a unit of Sweetwater County government, which exists to preserve and present the heritage of Sweetwater County. The museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. For information on group and special tours call (307) 872-6435 or (307) 352-6715 or contact us by e-mail at email@example.com. Also, visit our website at www.sweetwatermuseum.org and see us on Facebook.
In the wave of attention the "Live Ghost Town" of Superior has received from the recent release of the book Images of America: Superior and South Superior by Frank Prevedel, the Superior Town Administration Building has also received a face-lift. The Sweetwater County Historical Museum, in collaboration with the Rock Springs Historical Museum, has opened new exhibits in the hallway and museum gallery located in the building. A series of photographs from the new book line the hall and exhibits in the gallery feature the history of local coal mining and the life of the townspeople above ground.
The Superior gallery exhibits are a product of a practicum completed by University of Wyoming student Ashley Page during her summer internship with the Sweetwater County Historical Museum. Artifacts and photos in the exhibits come from the county museum collection, as well as that of the Rock Springs Historical Museum. The Superior Town Administration Building is open Monday-Thursday, 8am to 5:30pm, and is closed from 12-12:30pm.
The Sweetwater County Historical Museum is a component unit of Sweetwater County government which exists to preserve and present the heritage of Sweetwater County. The museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. For information on group and special tours call (307) 872-6435 or contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, visit our website at www.sweetwatermuseum.org and see us on Facebook.
A largely forgotten and neglected burial ground, the Granger Municipal Cemetery, has been documented and entered into historical property records. The completion of the project was commemorated by a dedication program held in Granger on July 3rd.
The project began when the Granger Town Council decided to do some beautification of their small municipal cemetery. Officially created in 1914, the plot contains eight marked graves dating between 1895 and 1942. However, there were a number of suspected graves as well. When it was discovered that the cemetery records were not held by the town, the Sweetwater County Historical Museum was consulted as to their location. Museum Director Ruth Lauritzen assisted Mayor Lenore Perry and town employee Linda Williams in determining that the records were not currently being held by the City of Green River, Sweetwater County or the Wyoming State Archives.
Because the documentation of historic cemeteries is an important part of preserving local history, the museum staff agreed to assist with the project. Archaeologist Russel Tanner, a Granger native, was contacted and he agreed to work on the project. Financial support was sought and received from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, the Sweetwater County Museum Foundation and the Sweetwater County Historical Society. Technical assistance for the project was provided by the Wyoming State Archaeologist's Office (WSAO).
In early May of 2010 Dr. Danny Walker of the WSAO, Russel Tanner, Ruth Lauritzen and several volunteers from the Town of Granger conducted electrical resistance studies to determine the location of disturbed soil, a sign of potential graves. During the following year Tanner also researched burials in Granger through newspapers and mortuary records.
Final results determined that there are thirty graves in the cemetery. Some possible identities of the unidentified burials were determined, but it was impossible to attach a name to specific burials without further study. A copy of the project report is held at Granger Town Hall , Sweetwater County Historical Museum and the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office and an interpretive sign telling the history of the cemetery and the project was mounted at the cemetery. The site has also been included on the list of Wyoming Cultural Properties. This status verifies the historical significance of the place and provides special protections for it.
The dedicatory event included a welcome by Mayor Perry, a brief history of the project by Lauritzen, a report on the findings of the study by Tanner, and some dedicatory remarks by Pastor Gary Brantley of the Granger Baptist Church. Brantley also announced that his congregation has committed to erect a wooden cross on each unidentified grave and assist the town with the maintenance of the cemetery. "Our church family is happy to make this commitment," said Brantley, "because these people buried here, though mostly unknown, were dear to someone."
"Since we are the museum of all of Sweetwater County we are happy to assist with this effort in one of our outlying communities", Lauritzen commented. "The board and staff of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum are proud of this project and appreciate the support which came from so many sources. The citizens of Granger also have every right to be proud of demonstrating good stewardship of their local history."
The Sweetwater County Historical Museum is an agency of Sweetwater County government, which exists to preserve and present the heritage of Sweetwater County. The museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. For information on group and special tours call (307) 872-6435 or (307) 352-6715 or contact us by e-mail at email@example.com. Also, visit us on Facebook or at our website www.sweetwatermuseum.org.
During this past summer the museum offered a new type of internship, one focusing on Public History. According to historian Emma Wilmer, " Public history is history, practically applied. It is based on the understanding that history is not taught solely in the classroom, but is learned in a variety of places, and in a variety of ways." The internship was filled by Julia Stuble who had a number of experiences in the field including research and application for a historic mine trail program, research of buildings in downtown Green River for a Main Street walking tour brochure, presentation of historic tours for children and adults, participation in meetings with the Green River Certified Local Government (Historic Preservation) commission, preparation and presentation of annual budgets, meeting materials and reports and other items of administration and event planning and execution. The internship was sponsored by the Sweetwater County Historical Society and Julia also received the annual scholarship offered by the Society.
David Mead, SWCHM Exhibits Coordinator, and Julia Stuble, Museum Intern, taught two sessions for the Summer 2011 Green River BOCES program. The first session was an all-day bird-watching/history field trip to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. They also led a history field trip along the Wild Horse Tour Loop from Green River to Pilot Butte.
Ruth Lauritzen, SWCHM Director and Exhibits Coordinator David Mead served on the advisory committee for the newly-opened Green River Visitor's Center. Ruth served as a consultant and provided text for historic interpretation at the center. David prepared interpretive panels and served on the landscape design committee, which included designing a monumental engraved rock sign for the center.
The image at the
left is an
conception of the
sign for the
The first two Melting Pot programs of 2011 were:
Ann Maria Matilla
April 9 Ukrainian
Easter Eggs with
River, 9 am to
River, 9 am to
Both programs had a registration fee of $20 with all profits going to local non-profits and are limited to 20 participants. The City of Green River Parks and Recreation Department sponsored both programs. Registration and questions: Sweetwater County Historical Museum 872-6435 or 352-6715 or Rock Springs Historical Museum 352-6715.
On March 7th 2011 at 7 p.m. the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River, Wyoming, hosted an event examining the lives of homesteading women in particular the life of Elinore Pruitt Stewart whose homestead at Burnt Fork, Wyoming still stands. Ruth Lauritzen, Director of the Sweetwater Historical Museum will give a presentation on Pruitt Stewart and her family and this will be followed by a presentation by Marcia M. Hensley on Pruitt Stewart and women homesteaders generally. Professor Hensley was Associate Professor of English, Western Wyoming Community College and is now retired. Her book Staking Her Claim - Women Homesteading in the West was published by the High Plains Press in 2008.
In 2010 The Public Media Foundation in Boston produced a one hour audio dramatization of “The Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart.” This dramatization has been broadcast on many public radio stations including public radio stations in Wyoming and is now available on the Public Media Foundation’s website www.scribblingwomen.org, together with curriculum and lesson plans prepared by Professor Hensley and Susanne George Bloomfield, Professor of English, The University of Nebraska. Professor Bloomfield is the author of The Adventures of the Woman Homesteader – the Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart published in 1992 by the University of Nebraska Press. Selections from the Public Media Foundation’s dramatization were played at the March 7th event in Green River and the web curriculum was viewed.
Christmas has come again to the Sweetwater County Museum with vintage toys coming out of storage for the season. The Graf dollhouse makes its annual appearance beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8th, as do several other miniature houses from the museum collection. The Graf dollhouse was built and furnished in the 1930s by Green River residents George and Louise Graf for their daughter Mary Louise. This house is not a model in perfect scale, but a well-loved toy.
Visitors will also see a dollhouse made by the Bliss Company of Rhode Island. Bliss manufactured dollhouses between 1889 and 1914. The Bliss house in the exhibit dates from 1904 and belonged Erma Mercer. It features a Moorish keyhole arch and elaborately printed paper applied to the interior and exterior walls as was typical of Bliss houses of the era. A dollhouse and roombox on loan from local miniaturists are on exhibit as well.
Toys in display include various metal pieces like a Ferris wheel and airplane. A sled, bought for $5 at the Chrisman Candy and Novelty Store in 1886, provided outdoor fun for the Viox children in Green River. The pride and joy of many boys, a 1952 Crosman Arms Co. pellet gun appears in the exhibit.
In honor of the season, the exhibit contains a Santa suit used by a local man for many years and a shiny silver Christmas tree with a rotating color wheel from the 1960's. Historic holiday photographs are part of the exhibit as well.
This exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Justin Keith, son of museum staff member Cyndi McCullers, and Eric Keith. Justin was known for his light-hearted and playful spirit and he is greatly missed.
The exhibit opens at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8th in conjunction with the lighting of the community Christmas tree in downtown Green River. The museum will be open until 8 p.m. that evening and all are welcome to come in, warm up and see the exhibit.
Erma Mercer wrote her name on the back of her dollhouse when she received it in 1904. The house was manufactured by a major American maker, Bliss and shows the typical detailed paper designs covering the interior and exterior walls.
The Gaensslen family Christmas tree is admired by the baby of the family on Christmas Day in 1910. Historic photos are featured in the holiday exhibit at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum.
Peru: Tracking Down a Lost Railroad Section Camp
Section camps are as much of a part of railroad history as locomotives and depots, yet there is little documentation for many of them. Section camps were, in essence, small villages of railroad-owned structures which housed the crews charged with the maintenance of a designated portion of track, or section. Located west of Green River was such a settlement named Peru.
What was in Peru and what went on there? Dr. Dudley Gardner, Professor at Western Wyoming Community College and Ruth Lauritzen, Director at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum will discuss the story of Peru and other section camps in southwestern Wyoming at a program held on Wednesday, December 15 at 7 p.m. at the Sweetwater County Library, 300 N. 1st E. in Green River. The program is sponsored by the Sweetwater County Historical Museum and is free and open to the public.
Gardner and Lauritzen participated in a two-year project resulting in the completion of an archeological dig at Peru. Partners in the project include the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, City of Green River, Western Wyoming Community College, Bureau of Land Management, Current Archaeological Services and Sweetwater County Historical Museum.
Photo: Peru, a section camp west of Green River, was a small settlement of railroad workers and their families. This historic photograph shows Peru in the early 1900s.
To see a short presentation on Peru Section Camp click here.