Family artifacts, history displayed at Tuesday’s LVHS Night at the Museum

Story and photos by Ernie Over, Managing Editor,

(Lander) – Junior Class Social Studies students at Lander Valley High School filled the Auxiliary Gym Tuesday night with family historical artifacts and stories in the annual “LVHS Night at the Museum” event.

“It’s amazing, you wouldn’t know there was so much history on display in one place,” said judge and social studies teacher Charlie Patton. “Everyone here has a story, and the Native American kids who are usually quiet in the classroom, are really outgoing here talking about their families and culture.”

The variety of exhibits ranged from simple story boards decorated with photos and text, to war souvenirs, handmade furniture passed down over the generations, clothing examples from days gone by, a homemade flag pole with an antler base honoring a family member’s military service, beadwork, powwow accessories, family genealogy and more. Several students dressed up in their roles and one student brought along an electronic keyboard to play a piece of music important in her family’s background. An exchange student also created an exhibit based on her host family’s history.

Each student stood by his or her respective exhibit and answered questions or made a short presentation on the artifacts or exhibit subject.

A sampling of the many dozens of exhibits and stories:

(click on images to enlarge)

Bobby Cecrle's exhibit featured engineering tools used by his great grandfather when he worked at Aerojet, a contractor for NASA on the propulsion systems for the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft.

Holding a tin "globe bank" from his great aunt, Matthew Robinson displayed Mexican coins saved in the bank along with changes in the world maps "From then to Now-1940s to today." His great aunt lived in Mexico near the U.S. Border.












Trapper Lee's display featured information about "The Monument Nobody Knows About" in the Eastern Wyoming community of Keeline, near Lost Springs, that memorializes WWII war dead from that community.

Kolton Duffy held a U.S. Marine Corps ceremonial sword carried by his grandfather Lt. Col. William L. Jesse from the Korean War era. The sword is engraved with his grandfather's name.












Jacob Leavenworth displayed a collection of picture postcards dating from the 1800s through 1911 that are held in the family archives. The cards are from across the World with many from France, Germany and Japan.

Holding a shadow box with campaign ribbons, the Silver Star and Purple Heart, Erik Inglet's display told the story of a grandfather who was cited for heroism for returning to a battlefield to rescue fallen comrades and was wounded.












"Musical Heritage" was the theme of Sarai Sutton's exhibit, telling the story of President Lincoln's Funeral March, which was kept alive in her family until finally transcribed in 1997 into sheet music. She played a portion of the march.

Hair and clothing fashions from the 1940s, modeled by Kaylynn Cox-Mantlo, included her grandfather's SeeBees Uniform worn by little sister Avery.














A crowd gathered around Jordan Hitshew's exhibit of 1940s style hats, clothes and accessories-"The Great Haberdasher" telling the story of her stylish grandmother Francis.

Steve Green went down memory lane as he asked Claire Buchanan about her great grandparent's Victorola, which stills plays music from vintage vinyl records.











A bearded John Boyle brought a handmade secretary made by his great, great, great grandfather Ezra H. Cary-a physician, carpenter and Civil War Veteran who tended injured soldiers at Gettysburg. Photos showed Cary at work at the secretary.

Emily Logue displayed the history of family members who were taken to "boarding schools" to rid them of their native cultural dress and language in "Manifest Destiny-Kill the Native Culture."












Meldon Hill showed judge Nick Fulton a belt and silver belt buckle from his grandmother Vivian Groesbeck, who was the Lander Pioneer Days Northern Arapaho Queen in 1953 when she was 18.

"Chow Time" was the theme of Claullen Tillman's exhibit, which featured chow trays from his great uncle Russell Hurtado's service in the Vietnam War at Cam Rhan Bay where he was a munitions handler.












A flag pole and exhibit displayed by Isaiah Velarde featured stories from his two great grandfathers: Donald Nave who did 57 missions for the Army Air Corps in WWII and Lewis Velarde, who was a cook for the Air Force. The flag pole was made to honor them.

Exchange student Adina Herse from NE Germany called on her host family, Amy Andersen & Tim Wilson, for an exhibit. The WWII Japanese Rising Sun flag was brought home by James Walter Wilson after his service in the Pacific Theatre.















Robert Sloss displayed the history of the Shoshone Rose, a symbol of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. Sloss held a beadwork example of his family's "rose" created by his grandmother Mary Jane, who beaded for 62 years.

Cherikie Tillman exhibited various styles of old and contemporary beadwork from the Sioux, Navajo, Arapaho and Shoshone tribes. She held her father's "old style" beaded belt from his childhood, made with larger beads.












Halle O'Neal's exhibit, All Because Two People Fell in Love, displayed a family genealogy from her grandparents, Patrick O'Neal and June St. Clair.

Her great grandfather, Frank Templeton, was a member of the U.S. Military's National Rifle Team and she holds the .22 caliber Winchester model 52 he used in competition.











In character for her exhibit, Lillian Clark told the story of her great grandfather Charles G. Johnson who was presented with a Key to Tokyo for his work with Japanese doctors after WWII. Johnson practiced "hands on" surgical teaching and was founding editor of the Journal of Trauma.

Artesia Bell modeled a Kimono owned by her grandmother Toshiko Koizumi and talked about her exhibit of household and other artifacts from her grandmother with new School Resource Office Jake Conilogue during the Night at the LVHS Museum.












Shae Spriggs' exhibit told of how her grandparents met in WWII and were later married. Dean V. Spriggs worked in a 6th Infantry medical hospital in Germany and met his future wife, Elfriede Melchhardt, when she arrived at the hospital for treatment. She later came to the U.S. after a long courtship.