The Friends of YGM’s Annual Meeting and Program: When Ike Came to Livingston

The annual meeting of the Friends of the Yellowstone Gateway Museum is Thursday, March 27, 6:30 PM, at the Livingston-Park County Public Library, 228 W. Calendar. Immediately following the short meeting, at 7:00 PM, is a program by Susan Kraft entitled When Ike Came to Livingston. Members and others interested in learning more about the museum and the Friends of the Yellowstone Gateway Museum are urged to attend. People only interested in the program are welcome to slip in at 7:00 PM when there will be a break for refreshments.

Susan Kraft will give a PowerPoint presentation and discuss Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower’s 1952 Whistle-Stop Tour of America and the celebrated World War II general’s road to the White House. To help program attendees fully appreciate the era in which the program is set, Kraft will shares video clips as well as music popular in the early 1950s. During Eisenhower’s presidential campaign tour, he was in Livingston during the fall, within a month or two of the year he was elected. His opponent in the presidential race was Adlai Stevenson. Kraft will talk specifically about his speech in Livingston which was on a Sunday in the fall of 1952. Interestingly, he talked about different things if his speaking engagements fell on Sundays. He wouldn’t talk about political issues.

Kraft has a Museum Studies certificate from Tufts University in Boston and an undergraduate degree in English from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. She served as the Museum Curator for the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park from 1993 to 2003. Kraft has received numerous awards for her museum work and has published many articles and essays. Since leaving Yellowstone, she has concentrated mainly on military history (especially World War II where she became interested in Eisenhower) and Holocaust studies.  Since 2005, her travels have taken her throughout Europe, including visits to many battlefields, monuments, war museums, and concentration camps. She is an accomplished presenter of history topics.

Kraft continues to conduct research about Ike’s talk in Livingston and has informally asked people if they attended Eisenhower’s speech that day and what they remember. People who saw him that day in Livingston are encouraged to attend and bring their stories and photographs.

The public is invited to both the meeting and the program. Anyone interested in the history of Park County is welcome to attend. Refreshments are provided; Kraft plans on bringing Ike’s favorite food to the program.

This is the first program of the Yellowstone Gateway Museum’s Spring Speaker Series. The next program is slated for Wednesday, April 2: Katie Clemons’ program is titled Story Matters: How to Catch and Celebrate Life’s Moments. Clemons seeks to revitalize the storytelling movement by helping people celebrate their stories with writing-prompt journals. On Thursday, April 17, the rescheduled program, Mysteries of Yellowstone Lake Prehistory, is given by archaeologists Douglas MacDonald and Elaine Hale. And on Thursday, May 15, Dr. Lindsay Baskett and Registered Nurse Betty Lahren’s gives a program entitled Stories of the Medical Profession in Park County. Stay tuned for more details.

Please call the museum, 406-222-4184, for more information.