Fremont County Pioneer Museum to open in Lander Wyoming

Lander, Wyoming (AP) 5-09

Artifacts that have been stored for 10 years and reveal elements of pioneer and American Indian life in Wyoming will be displayed for viewing when the new Fremont County Pioneer Museum opens in Lander.

The grand opening was set for May 16.

The building’s open design helps showcase the artifacts, said Carol Thiesse, the museum’s director. The design is much like that of Idaho ’s Teton Valley Historical Museum . The museum in Driggs , Idaho , donated its building plans for use in Lander.

Fremont County owns the museum, which has two stories and was built for $2.4 million, half of it paid by the county. The Wyoming State Land Investment Board provided a $1.2 million grant.

The old museum building consisted of a log cabin that was built in 1915 and enlarged a number of times. The building was condemned in 1998.

The new space features more than 10,000 square feet of exhibit area, humidity and temperature controls, a security system and a fire-safety system. The building can be retrofitted with solar panels.

Exhibit contractor Joe Spriggs, a retired art teacher, has refurbished showcases and displays. Some artifacts previously stored for lack of exhibit space have been unpacked.

The items mark the lives of people in Fremont County , from the culture of American Indians before the U.S. Calvary arrived in the late 1880s to World War II.

Exhibits on the first floor showcase the lives of American Indians and early settlers in Fremont County . Exhibit themes include mountain men, farming, ranching, religious life and the military.

On the new museum’s second floor, exhibits show many of the amenities later available in Lander, among them a barber shop, a photography shop, a law office, a bank and a school. An archive room, offices and extra space for traveling or special exhibits are on the second floor, as well.