Living History Day and Exhibit Openings at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum

The Yellowstone Gateway Museum celebrates Living History Day and the opening of two new exhibits on Saturday, June 4. Artisans demonstrate flint knapping, blacksmithing, leather working, Dutch-oven cooking, and basketweaving while an area rancher brings two lambs to round out the outdoor activities. Free admission celebrates the opening of two new exhibits, “1916: 100 Years Ago in Park County” and oil paintings by Tom L. Roberts. Docents give free museum tours. The event is held from 10 AM to 5 PM at 118 W. Chinook, in Livingston. Lunch is available, benefiting the museum’s many ongoing projects.

Expert and local flint knappers, Ray Alt and George Bryce, demonstrate the art of breaking rock and making projectile points. They will give demos (but no lessons) off and on throughout the day. An extensive museum exhibit also showcases their work.

Blacksmiths Jem Blueher and Sacha Kazlow, assisted by Andy Olds, demonstrate and interpret the traditional art of blacksmithing by firing up and using the original forge in the museum’s Vink Blacksmith Shop. Peter “Jack” Vink, Jr. used this shop for refitting wagon wheels, welding, and blacksmithing from 1903 until his death in 1949. The shop, located in the museum’s back lot, illustrates a working blacksmith shop at a time when people were using both horse-powered and gasoline-powered modes of transportation. Blueher, a blacksmith for about 16 years and owner of Anvil Wagon Works, will also use specialized tools found in a blacksmith shop for making wagon wheels.

Reid Flatten, owner of Word of Mouth Leather and maker of custom Western saddles since 2004, will demonstrate his leather work beginning at 10:00 AM. Flatten will also have examples of his work on display.

Two Dutch-oven cooks concoct delectable dishes beginning at 12:00 PM. Michael Keator, longtime Dutch-oven cooking aficionado who cooked for backcountry wilderness pack trips for several years, will demonstrate the art of cooking a full meal—stuffed Cornish game hens with bread and dessert. Dale Guidi, mess sergeant and cook for the local National Guard for six years, will prepare a beef and vegetable stew. Samples will likely be available later in the afternoon.

Karen Reinhart demonstrates willow basketry on the lawn off and on throughout the day. She has woven baskets and sculptures using natural hedgerow materials like willow since 1980. Over the years, Reinhart has taught many people in the region how to gather natural materials and weave baskets.

At 1:00 PM Lorna Marchington, longtime area sheep rancher, brings two lambs, Andy and Zeus, to the museum lawn for kids of all ages to enjoy. Marchington raises a flock of 60 sheep in Paradise Valley primarily for meat but she’s also introducing a breed of sheep that is known for its finer wool.

Both of the museum’s new exhibits relate to this year’s National Park Service centennial. “1916: 100 Years Ago in Park County” was developed to provide context for the year that the NPS was created. It not only interprets the stories behind local 1916 artifacts and photographs, but also explores national and regional events. The art exhibit features artist Tom L. Roberts’ interpretation of explorers and fur trappers in the Yellowstone Region before the park was created in 1872. His five, oil-on-canvas paintings—30” x 40” or larger—are richly detailed and include depictions of Capt. William Clark, John Colter, Jim Bridger, Baptiste Ducharme, and Osborne Russell. Labels include the stories and research behind his works.

Museum director, Paul Shea, and volunteer docent, Susan Sewell, will give free, one-hour interpretive tours of the museum scheduled at 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, and 3:00 PM.

For more information, please contact Paul Shea or Karen Reinhart, Yellowstone Gateway Museum, 222-4184.