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Fort Caspar Announces Summer Lecture Series

Fort Caspar Museum is pleased to announce a four-week summer lecture series on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm, from June 20th to July 18th.  Presentations are free of charge and will take place in the Multi-Use Room at Fort Caspar Museum. Each presentation will focus on a different “impression on Wyoming,” from past to present and from east to west.

The first lecture on June 20th will feature Lawrence Woods for “The British Presence in the Wyoming Ranching.”   Woods will trace the activities of British investors, managers, and employees of Wyoming ranches during the open range period in the 1870s and 1880s. He will discuss how the British ranchers used financial support to experiment with new techniques on the Wyoming frontier in a way that American investors and managers would not have attempted. After a bad winter in 1886-1887, the British owners left the area, and Americans were able to continue ranching at a lower cost using the new techniques. Woods will make connections between this event and its lasting economic influence on Wyoming ranches.

Heyward Schrock will present on June 27th.  His lecture will be “Yankee Horse Soldiers in Indian Country: Perspectives of William O. Collins and Hervey Johnson.”  2012 is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Platte Bridge Station, later Fort Casper, located at the site of Fort Caspar Museum. Schrock will make direct connections to Platte Bridge Station as well as to other Army posts in the region. Schrock will look at the experiences of two men from the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry serving in the area.  William O. Collins (father of Caspar Collins) was an officer who served at Fort Laramie. Hervey Johnson was a young enlisted man serving at a variety of posts, including Deer Creek Station, Platte Bridge Station, and Fort Laramie. Utilizing primary sources, Schrock will compare and contrast their experiences while interpreting frontier military life during the 1860s.

There will be no program on July 4th, but on July 11th, Jeffrey Broome will discuss “Wild Bill Hickok: Truth and Myth.”  This presentation will connect some of the pivotal people and places in the colorful life of Wild Bill.  Broome will interpret the facts of a brawl that occurred in1870, uncover some of the myths that vaulted Hickok into legendary status, and explore the period of time Hickok spent in Cheyenne immediately prior to his death in Deadwood in 1876.

The last lecture will feature Virginia Scharff on July 18th. Scharff will discuss Grace Raymond Hebard—a Wyoming woman who was influential in shaping not only her time and place but who also left a lasting legacy. Hebard’s career at the University of Wyoming spanned the Gilded Age to the Great Depression and included a wide variety of positions. She educated generations of Wyoming leaders, trained librarians, politicians and entrepreneurs, and served as an advocate for women’s rights. She was a role model for female students and professors. She championed education, marked historic trails, and wrote books about Wyoming’s history. Scharff will explore the story of Grace Hebard, her identity with Wyoming’s past, and her continued influence today.  Scharff will also raise questions such as: How have people in the Equality State understood notions of political and social inequality? What role does education play in the creation and maintenance of democracy? In a sparsely populated place like Wyoming, do individuals enjoy enhanced opportunities?  Who counts as a citizen and on what terms?

These free programs are funded in part by the Fort Caspar Museum Association and the Wyoming Humanities Council. For more information contact the Museum at 235-8462 or check the Fort Caspar Museum website, www.fortcasparwyoming.com<http://www.fortcasparwyoming.com/>. The Museum is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm June – August.  Admission fees are: Adults are $3.00; Teens (13 to 18 years) are $2.00; and Children 12 & under free. Fort Caspar Museum is Fort Caspar Museum is located at 4001 Fort Caspar Road, Casper, WY  82604.

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