The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC) is hosting afternoon programs on pioneer and Wyoming history.
The talks, held on the Trails Center’s patio, will last for approximately 30 minutes. During inclement weather, the programs will be moved inside. The
programs are free to the public.
Trails Center living historian Jean Smart.
“These talks will help enrich the visitor experience during our busy summer season,” said Trails Center Director Mike Abel. “We encourage the local community to participate in these family-friendly programs.”
- June 24, 1 p.m.: Why the South Lost the War
The United States Civil War was a monumental event that shaped American history. Between 1861 and 1865, the Civil War also brought into use several new military technologies. Trails Center living historian Bruce Berst will compare and contrast the equipment of the Union soldier to that of the Confederate soldier.
- June 30, 1 p.m.: Mapping Land Use Patterns with Aerial & Digital Photography
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees Robin Nelson and Cindy Allen will demonstrate the differences in land use patterns through the use of aerial and digital photography techniques. They will also share different mapping techniques and will illustrate how geographical features change over time.
- July 1, 1 p.m.: The Joys of Dutch Oven Cooking
Making wise choices among the array of foods available in the mid-nineteenth century was crucial to pioneers traveling West. Trails Center living historian Jean Smart will discuss pioneer foods, and the most important cooking utensil on the wagon or pack animal, the Dutch oven.
- July 7, 1 p.m.: Old Time Pioneer Fiddle Music
At the end of a long day on the trail, music provided welcome entertainment. Many pioneer songs are still performed today and are a part of our heritage. Clap your hands and tap your feet as local musicians Kim, Ana, and Rachel Merchant perform and discuss the history of many popular tunes of the pioneer era.
- July 8, 1 p.m.: Prospecting in Wyoming: Gold Fever!
Excitement, valor, boomtowns, and abandonment, this was the Wyoming Gold Rush. President Rick Messina and Vice President George Vandel of the Casper Chapter of the Gold Prospectors Association of America will share their thoughts on the past, present, and future outlook of gold in Wyoming. They will discuss gold prospecting and mining districts in Wyoming and will demonstrate gold panning.
- July 14, 1 p.m.: For the Kids: All About Toys and Games
Most children of early America did not have much time for play. But when they did, they took part in such simple pleasures as playing marbles and jacks, spinning tops, rolling hoops, and jumping rope. Trails Center living historian Jean Smart will demonstrate the most popular of these early American pastimes. Come ready to play!
- July 15, 1 p.m.: Red Cloud’s War
Red Cloud's War, which occurred between 1866 and 1868, stands out in U.S. military history as the only war that was won by American Indians against the United States. Trails Center employee Kylie McCormick will shed light on the war that provided a brief victory for Red Cloud's warriors before they were ultimately forced onto reservations.
- July 21, 1 p.m.: For the Kids: The Fairyland of Rocks
Why are rocks different colors? Have you ever wondered why some rocks are smooth while other rocks are rough? Children fascinated with rocks are encouraged to attend this hands-on presentation to learn all about rocks and how to make a fun mineral collection. BLM Geologist Amber Robbins will explore the fascinating world of rocks. Kids, please feel free to bring one rock to show the group!
- July 22, 1 p.m.: Early Pioneer Medicines: A Cure for Anything
Chloroform, clove oil, and tinctures. What can these cure? During America’s frontier era, unusual names were given to popular medicinal forms that were said to cure anything. Grandmas, fathers, and even certified physicians treated the sick, lame, and unlucky with whatever was available. Trails Center living historian Jean Smart will take an amusing look at some of the popular medicines from the frontier.
- July 28, 1 p.m.: Collecting Rocks in God’s Country
People interested in rocks have their own unique stories about how they got started in this fascinating hobby. Wyoming rock hounds are fortunate, since there is a wide range of rocks that may be collected. BLM Geologist Amber Robbins will share her experiences of rock hounding on public lands.
- July 29, 1 p.m.: Weapons of the U.S. Army during the 1800s
As weapons changed, both in their design and practicality, the “taming of the West” became a task that was accomplished with more advanced and reliable firearms, resulting in devastating outcomes for Native Americans. Trails Center living historian Bruce Berst will discuss the potent impact of changing weaponry during the Indian Wars.
- Aug. 11 and 26, 1 p.m.: The Surveyor General Measures Wyoming
Join Trails Center employee Reid Miller for a colorful look at how Wyoming Territory was measured, mapped, and settled under the watchful eyes of a series of interesting men appointed to the task in Cheyenne. Learn the legacy of the General Land Office and how it affects our lives in the Equality State today.
- Aug. 12, 1 p.m.: Jesse Potts: A Wyoming Homesteader
The history of Johnson County was written, in part, by current residents and their relatives who homestead the area. Johnson County pioneer and blacksmith Jesse C. Potts first resided in Wyoming in 1886 and is one of the founders of the town of Kaycee. Linda Akers, a Trails Center volunteer, will tell the story of her Wyoming homesteading relative, Jesse Potts.
- Aug. 25, 1 p.m.: Saga of the Pony Express
The story of the Pony Express has fascinated people ever since the first riders were mounted in April 1860, heading west from St. Joseph, Missouri, and east from San Francisco, California. Les Bennington, Wyoming president of the National Pony Express Association, will share this remarkable story. Pony Express rider, horse, and mochilla will be on hand.
- Sept. 1, 1 p.m.: Roho Delgado: Military Soldier & Galvanized Yankee
After being captured at the Battle of Antietam in 1862, “Private” Delgado, a prisoner of war and Confederate soldier, was given the choice of staying put, or going out west as a “Galvanized Yankee” to protect the telegraph lines. Trails Center volunteer Daniel Mattern will present the life and times of Mr. Delgado. He will also provide detailed descriptions of his military uniform.
- Sept. 2, 1 p.m.: What’s Your Responsibility? The Trail Experience
As families headed west along the pioneer trails, men, women, and children were tasked with specific roles and responsibilities. Trails Center volunteer Daniel Mattern will discuss the daily life and chores experienced by a pioneer wagon train party.
For more information about patio talks, contact Jason Vlcan at the NHTIC, (307) 261-7780.
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.