Sunday, June 29, 2014

Traveling with History: Wyoming, Part 1

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

Do you like to travel?  Do you like History?  Do you like combining both?  One of the places to visit with an eye towards history is Wyoming— a state where you can walk in the steps of pioneers or dinosaurs, visit Ghost Towns or battlefields, see museums or a rodeo, or just soak in the beauty of nature.  Wyoming is home to all these things, as well as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and Devils Tower National Monument. It is also the home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.  It is a great destination for anyone who loves to travel with a mind to history and nature.  

Some great sites to see:
Sheridan--The railroad came to Sheridan because of expanding markets for the area’s coal, wheat, and cattle.  With the railroad came businessmen, politicians and families.  They would often stay at the Sheridan Inn which opened in June 1893 and was built by the Burlington & Missouri Railroad and the Sheridan Land Company. The design was based on a hunting lodge and the inn is reported to have a resident ghost, Kate Arnold.  Miss Kate’s ashes are located inside the walls of the inn.

Fort Phil Kearney--was built at the forks of Big and Little Piney Creeks by Colonel Henry Carrington.  Its Mission: Protect travelers on the trail, Prevent intertribal warfare between Native Americans in the area, draw attention of Indian forces opposed to American westward expansion away from the transcontinental railroad construction corridor to the south.  The Fort was built to protect the Bozeman Trail (offshoot of the Oregon Trail).  The most famous incident to occur at the fort was the Wagon Box Fight.  In August 1867, 32 woodcutters and guards were attacked by a large force of warriors under Chief Red Cloud.  

Cody, Wyoming--A wonderful small city built by Buffalo Bill Cody.  In Cody, we stayed at the Irma Hotel, named for Cody's daughter.  While at the hotel be sure to check out the historic bar.  The town is also known as the Rodeo capital of the world.  After checking out the Irma's bar head to the Rodeo.  Cody is a wonderful Western town and we spent a great deal of time walking the Main Street.

Buffalo Bill Historic Center--Located in Cody, this is considered to be the Smithsonian of the West.  It is a Collection of museums (Plains Indian Peoples, Buffalo Bill and the American West, Western Art, Firearms)  looking at the west from a variety of different perspectives.  The museum was founded by members of Buffalo Bill Cody's family and honors the American West.  The museum will give you a new perspective and admiration on Buffalo Bill.  His life was full of contradiction--the man who was known for killing buffaloes was also known for their conservation.  With Cody, history and myth are intertwined and the two were blended together into what would become his Wild West shows.  Within the center, the McCracken Research Library is wealth of information and the best reference for his life.

Menor’s Ferry Historic District-- Bill Menor squatted on 149 acres overlooking the Grand Tetons.  He was alone in the western part of the valley next to the Snake River for more than 10 years.  Today, the historic district has a White-Washed Cabin which was the original homestead of  Menor.  The jewel of the district is the Chapel of the Transfiguration, a church since 1925.  The alter in the church has a window with a breathtaking view of the Grand Tetons. 

These are just some of the highlights to see if you head to Wyoming to experience history and nature. What would you include in your historical tour of Wyoming?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Traveling Exhibits: Enjoy Art and History in your Neighborhood!

By: Nina Kendall

View of Inspired Georgia at ArtsClayton
Art is the visual medium that captures the human experience. It is the expression that helps us connect to each other. We see ourselves and others in art.  Happiness, pain, love, and regret are all captured by the works of artists. The timelessness of the human experience is there on the canvas for us to enjoy. Each work touches our humanity and connects us with history.

From the destruction of the statute of King George III on July 9, 1776 to Dolley Madison’s brave rescue of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, Americans have connected to art. The Wadsworth Atheneum founded in 1842 in Hartford, Connecticut is the oldest public art museum in the United States. Many states have public art collections that preserve the work of the citizens of the individual states.  The Alice Art Collection of Utah was begun in 1899. Some collections are on exhibits in museums. Other public installations like the Empire State Plaza Art Collection have become landmarks. Not everyone is lucky enough to live near an art museum, or public art installation.
ArtsClayton Gallery

In Georgia, the state art collection has no public home. Begun in the 1970’s the collection was first shared across the state via bus.  The some 600 works of the collection were compiled from 1970’s to the 1990’s. This year part of the Georgia State Art Collection has been traveling around the state for the enjoyment of all citizens. 28 selected works from the state collection will continue to be on display until the end of 2014. It is currently at its sixth stop at Arts Clayton in Jonesboro.  The exhibit will make stops later this year in Dublin, Tifton, and Kingsland. The traveling exhibit, Inspired Georgia, is sponsored in part by the Georgia Humanities Council, Department of Economic Development/Tourism, and the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Inspired Georgia is a collection of 28 works by Georgians. This traveling collection features examples of folk art, abstract painting, realist painting, works on paper, landscape photography, and people and place in photography. In this exhibit you find the collective experience of the state, the traditions of rural Georgia and the modern, developing urban experience. In each work, you can find a little history of the state. This collection will evoke your memories and touch your heart. Take the time to connect with this collection. Look for what it represents from your past and shows of your present.

                                                                     Tour Schedule

Arts Clayton, Jonesboro                                                       
May 31 – July 24, 2014
The Carnegie Library, Dublin                                   
July 26 – September 11, 2014
Georgia Museum of Agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton
September 13 – October 27, 2014

Historic Train Depot, Kingsland
October 29 –December 11, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Traveling with History: Montana

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

Do you like to travel?  Do you like History?  Do you like combining both?  One of the places to visit with an eye towards history is Montana—a state where you can walk in the steps of Lewis & Clark or dinosaurs, visit Ghost Towns or battlefields, or just soak in the beauty of nature.  Montana is home to all these things, as well as Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. It is also the home of several Indian Nations like the Crow, Blackfeet, and Sioux.  It is a great destination for anyone who loves to travel with a mind to history and nature. 

Some great sites to see:
Billings, Montana-- Montana’s largest city was founded in 1882 and named for Frederick Billings, the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad.  As such, Billings was a transportation hub.  I found Billings to be a nice quaint city.  It was smaller than cities I am used to but certainly was an introduction to how cities in the west are. 

Crow Agency—To the East of Billings is Crow country, and while visiting there I was very excited to witness a PowWow and listen to Vietnam Veteran, Carson Walks Over Ice discuss traditional dances, and another elder educate us as to how a Teepee is set up.  We were also treated to dinner--traditional Indian Taco followed by the powwow program.  The only downside was that it was held indoors because of bad weather.  We were also educated about the Sun Dance which was abolished by government and missionaries because of fear in 1875.  Sun Dance is a way of prayer--Height of Apex of Sun.  Participants go without food and water for 3 days and pray for the 3 days.  Pray for sickness, suffering, soldiers, etc…  In 1941, the Sun Dance was revived.  A Sun Dance is held every August and the older generations teach to the younger the dances and songs.  During the Powwow we saw a number of examples of traditional dress:  such as use of birds, fur bearing animals, shiny things, moccasins, bones, moose teeth, bells, beaded bands for wrists, head and arms, paint on face, colorful – Blended with modern things such as Sponge Bob, flip flops, tennis shoes, basketball shorts, cell phones, etc.

Little Big Horn Battlefield—This is an immense battlefield and I was shocked to see how big this area really is.  This area was changed once gold was discovered in the Black Hills.  Yellow Hair--George Armstrong Custer was sent to take the Black Hills from the Indians.  His opponent was Sitting Bull.  This was the last armed effort of the Northern Plains Indians to preserve their ancestral way of life.  The Army sent 3 columns of soldiers to create a trap for Indians in the middle which included Custer.  The Calvary was supposed to find the enemy and infantry was supposed to fight, the scouts came across an Indian village camped along Little Big Horn River--Crow’s nest--the largest teepee camp in North America had been formed and was larger than city of Los Angeles.  The scouts described the horses as a brown carpet on the open prairie.  The fight only lasted about 20 minutes and very few Indians were actually killed, Custer was one of the first to die.

Lewis & Clark—Dinosaurs are not the only ones to have left a trail to follow.  On April 25, 1805, Lewis & Clarks’ Corps of Discovery camped by what would become Fort Union.  They hoped they were only weeks away from the Pacific, via the never to be found Northwest Passage. The group rested and celebrated their arrival at the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. The expedition journals noted the spot's potential as a trade location.  Entering what would become Montana but at the time was the land of the Blackfeet.

Dinosaur Trail--The Montana Dinosaur Trail features some of the greatest paleontological finds of the last century. T-rex, Miaisaur, Hadrasaur--these are just a few of the interesting dinosaurs you'll find along Montana's Dinosaur Trail. All of them are dug out from the earth by some of the most prominent paleontologists around.

These are just some of the highlights to see if you head to Montana to experience history and nature.  What would you include in your historical tour of Montana?