Located in the shadow of the Bighorn Mountains, the Sheridan County Museum interprets a regional perspective on the history of the American West. The Museum’s exhibits investigate the culture, industry, communities, agriculture, and geography that shaped the region’s rich historic and cultural heritage. Throughout the Museum’s exhibit gallery, visitors have the opportunity to experience history through artifacts, historic photographs, maps, and interactive exhibits.
One of the Museum’s most popular exhibits is “Crazy Horse, Crook, and the Battle on Rosebud Creek”. This exhibit explores the Battle of the Rosebud, which occurred on June 17, 1876, just eight days prior to Custer’s defeat on the Little Bighorn. According to historian and author Neil Mangum, “One cannot fully understand the Battle of the Little Bighorn without having a firm foundation of knowledge about the Rosebud fight and its aftermath.” The Rosebud exhibit, currently the only of its kind, features a touch screen kiosk filled with photos, narration, animated maps, lists of participants, and accounts of the battle, as well as details of Crook’s activities at “Camp Cloud Peak” in Sheridan and Big Horn. Two life-sized and life-like museum figures show a typical Lakota warrior and one of Crook’s sergeants. Bernard Thomas’ studio and historical art is featured, along with illustrations of the Crook campaign by Robert C. Wilson. Artifacts from Mark Badgett’s Bozeman Trail collection round out the exhibit and highlight the trail’s use by the military and local Indians.
Visitors to the Museum can also explore the region’s ranching and rodeo history in the exhibit “Ranching & Roughstock: The Western Lifestyle Through Art and Photography”. The exhibit includes works by area and regional artists and photographers including Bill Gollings, Don Diers, Jessamine Spear Johnson, Bernard Thomas, Hans Kleiber, Elsa Spear Byron, George Ostrom, and J.W. Winingar Jr. Other exhibits interpret the colorful commerce of the area including the 68-year story of the Sheridan Brewing Company plus the history of moonshine production in the area, the role of the railroad, the unique industry of the Tongue River Tie Flume, and the once prosperous underground coal mines.
Children and families are encouraged to explore the museum through the Junior Curator program with a free children’s museum guide and activity book. The program offers children a unique opportunity to visit the exhibits and complete a variety of fun activities. Children who participate in the program become a Sheridan County Museum Junior Curator and receive their choice of a Junior Curator patch or bookmark. Tidbit Tuesday, another very popular children’s program at the Museum, is a free summer program that provides children and their families with an opportunity to explore history together. The program offers participants a chance to enjoy a read aloud story followed by a fun project on the Museum’s porch. Tidbit Tuesdays are recommended for children ages 5 to 10, though children both younger and older are welcome. All participating children, however, must be accompanied by an adult or responsible teenaged sibling or babysitter. The Museum also offers Young Archaeologists, a week long history camp that explores the past and provides participants with an opportunity to apply archaeological concepts as they investigate Plains Indian shelters using primary data sources such as maps, artifact illustrations, historic photographs, and oral histories. Young Archaeologists is open to children entering grades 4 through 7. For more information on any of the Museum’s education programs, including dates and fees, contact the Museum or visit the website at http://www.SheridanCountyHistory.org .
In addition to their exhibits and education programs, the Museum offers a variety of special events.
More details about special events can be found on the Museum’s website http://www.SheridanCountyHistory.org.
The Sheridan County Museum is open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. daily in May, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. June 1st through Labor Day, and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. daily September 1 through December 24th. The Museum is located at 850 Sibley Circle in Sheridan, Wyoming, just off I-90 at Exit 23. Admission fees are: $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors (60 and over), $2.00 for students. Veterans, active military, Blue Star families, and children are free.
The Sheridan County Museum is owned and operated by the Sheridan County Historical Society.
The Mission of the Sheridan County Historical Society is
· To preserve and share Sheridan’s rich heritage with present and future generations.
The Mission of the Sheridan County Museum is:
· To maintain the collections and exhibits pertaining to the history of Sheridan County and the closely related surrounding area and communities;
· To develop and implement education plans for both children and adults to help educate Sheridan’s citizens on the rich historic and cultural heritage of the area; and
· To responsibly care for the artifact collections which are held in trust for the benefit of the present and future citizens of Sheridan County.
A Bit about the New Museum
· The Sheridan County Historical Society Museum opened in its new location on July 1st, 2006, after a whirlwind of fundraising, building modification, and exhibit fabrication.
· In early 2002, the Society began a project designed to improve the accountability and care of its artifact collections. Although the Society has maintained an exhibit and housed collections in the basement of the Sheridan Inn since 1991, artifacts had not benefited from basic collections management, including documentation, interpretation, preservation, and security measures that are necessary for long term care. Realizing the need for professional guidance in their efforts, the Society hired museum professional Dana Prater to catalogue and assess the collection. Dana evaluated the Society’s handling of artifacts, began cataloging the collection, took remedial steps to improve security and preservation, and established a mission statement and collections policy designed to correct and refine future collecting efforts. With funds contributed for the project, she placed artifacts in archival storage containers, greatly improving their preservation environment. Preliminary findings from the Collections Assessment Project indicated that the collections could indeed support the story line of a museum dedicated to the history of Sheridan County, and that other significant artifacts were waiting for a proper home. Community support encouraged the Society to explore the possibilities of once again establishing a museum for Sheridan County.
· In 2004, the Society opened the new but very small Sheridan County Museum on Alger Avenue and quickly outgrew the facility. In 2005, the Society received an offer it couldn’t refuse. The owner of the former Bubba’s Restaurant offered to sell the building to the Society for a significant sum under the fair market value of the property. In about 13 months during 2005 and 2006, with much community support, over 1.5 million dollars was raised to purchase and modify the building. Additionally, they moved the operations from Alger, refurbished cases and built exhibit furniture, cases, and designed, fabricated, and installed the first season’s exhibits, opening the doors of the new Sheridan County Museum on July 1, 2006.
For more information, phone the Sheridan County Museum at 307-675-1150 or visit the Museum’s website at http://www.SheridanCountyHistory.org .