The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC) announces the 2011 summer evening programs schedule. These one-hour programs are free and open to the public.
“We are pleased to offer a variety of exciting and engaging programs on Wyoming and pioneer history,” said Trails Center Director Mike Abel.
- July 9, 7 p.m.: Snake Oil Salesman
As pioneers traveled along the trails, many of them suffered from various diseases and illnesses. “Dr. Dumas” will give a first person account of the typical medicine man, and will sell his miracle cures that alleviate everything from ingrown toenails to baldness. The presenter, Bruce Berst, is a Wyoming frontier history re-enactor and a retired Natrona County teacher. He lives in Casper.
- July 16, 7 p.m.: More Than Just a Ditch: A Civil War Entrenchment at Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Archeologist Danny Walker will present a program about a fortification ditch constructed in less than one week in February 1864 following the Mud Springs Battle between the Sioux and the U.S. Army in western Nebraska. Dr. Walker is an archeologist with the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources and lives in Laramie.
- July 23, 7 p.m.: No Rest for the Weary: The Pioneer Woman’s Journey
Life for the average woman from the 1850s to mid-1860s involved a lot of hard work. On the pioneer trails, the work continued to be difficult and was very different from what women were used to. Learn about the life of the average woman as she made her way across the West to what she hoped was a new and better life. The presenter is Janet Wragge, a living historian and a Natrona County teacher.
- July 30, 7 p.m.: Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnson, Mountain Man
The life of John “Liver Eating” Johnson is part history, part legend. He was also the highly romanticized mountain man characterized in Robert Redford’s movie, Jeremiah Johnson. Nathan Bender will unravel the truth from the myth of the most famous mountain man of the Rocky Mountains. Bender, an archivist and anthropologist, has worked at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the University of Idaho library. He lives in Laramie. The program is part of the Wyoming Humanities Council’s Humanities Forum.
- August 6, 7 p.m.: Pioneer Dance: The Crossing of the North Platte River Celebration
During a two-day reenactment, August 6-7, pioneer and frontier military re-enactors will bring Wyoming history to life with demonstrations, games, skits, music, and more. This family-friendly event is free and open to everyone. On Aug. 6, at 7 p.m., reenactors will celebrate the last crossing of the North Platte River with music, dancing, and plenty of Dutch oven cooking. The public is invited to join the re-enactors and living historians as they celebrate this important milestone of the western migration.
- August 20, 7 p.m.: Forgotten Suffragists of Wyoming: The Other Women who Made Wyoming the Equality State
The story of Wyoming becoming the first government anywhere to give women equal political rights has been told, debated, and discussed for decades. In this presentation, Dr. Phil Roberts will address some of the lesser-known aspects of the suffrage story and profile individuals who contributed to women’s equality in Wyoming. Dr. Roberts has taught the history of Wyoming and the American West at the University of Wyoming since 1990. A native of Wyoming, he holds a law degree from the University of Wyoming and the Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington.
- August 27, 7 p.m.: The Ancient Story of the Bear Mother
She was the woman who married a bear and became the teacher of all their secrets, allowing humans to live in the northlands. We are all her descendents, still living side by side, sometimes getting along, sometimes not. Through stories and discussion, we can follow that relationship from the days of the hunter/gatherers to today. Jim Gary will retell the ancient story of the bear mother during this 40-minute presentation. Garry is author of This Ol’ Drought Ain’t Broke us Yet (But We’re All Bent Pretty Bad): Stories of the American West and The First Liar Never Has a Chance. He is also a folklorist and storyteller who and lives in Cody.
- Sept. 3, 7 p.m.: The Gunfighter: Man or Myth?
The image of a gun fighter is a potent symbol of the American West. But, did he really exist, or is he rather a product of Hollywood? Historian Bob Edward will investigate some of the myths surrounding the gun fighters. He will also display approximately 20 guns, including cap and ball percussion revolvers and cartridge guns, and will explain their place in Wyoming and western history. Bob Edwards is the former museum educator and assistant director at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum in Buffalo. He is also co-author of Frontier Wyoming, and author of Guns of the Gatchell.
For more information about summer evening programs, contact Alex Rose at the NHTIC, (307) 261-7780. Photos are available online at: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/NHTIC/evenings.html.
The NHTIC is a part of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The areas of the NLCS are specifically designed to conserve, protect and restore the exceptional scientific, natural, cultural, ecological, historical, and recreation values of these treasured landscapes.
The NHTIC is a public-private partnership between the BLM and the National Historic Trails Center Foundation. The facility is located at 1501 N. Poplar Street, Casper, Wyo. The Center is currently operating on summer hours, and is open daily, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.