Livingston: The Yellowstone Gateway Museum announces the opening of Pull Up a Chair: Tales from the Seats of History, an exhibit of twenty-eight chairs from the museum’s collection on display in the Pioneer Room. Also included are local stories and photographs of people and chairs. The free event is Saturday, June 23, 10-5 pm. at the museum, 118 W. Chinook. Cookies will be provided.
Inspired by the great number and variety of chairs in the museum’s collection, Museum Registrar Karen Reinhart and volunteers Rosamond Stanton, Sara Chaney, BJ Earle, and Mariah Henry selected chairs and began conducting research about each chair’s local history over the past year. A fainting couch, grinding bench, hand-forged dining room chair, sidesaddle, ox-hide ranch chair, potty chair, convertible stroller/highchair, a mangle’s chair, 63 Ranch rocker, barber chair,
railroad-related chairs, and others are included. Each chair is identified with a short label while its full history is interpreted in notebooks that accompany the exhibit. Several photographs of people in chairs are displayed on walls and in notebooks.
Visitors will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite chair and story; results will be posted and periodically updated on the museum’s Facebook page.
Researchers revealed inspiring and sometimes surprising stories of local people or businesses. For example, an 1869 ox-hide chair may have supported members of early Yellowstone expeditions staying at a Paradise Valley Ranch; the career and life of a woman who was once a Vaudeville actress and owned a fainting couch; a rancher who made a highchair with found branches during the Great Depression; a Northern Pacific Railway folding chair enjoyed by Yellowstone Park Branch line passengers; a sidesaddle used while a woman lived in the Main Boulder Ranger Station from about 1910-1940; an elk-legged stool made by a local hunter; and a Mountain Bell switchboard operator’s chair that generated a lot of local stories as people remembered their or their parents’ careers.
Businesses and individuals were given the opportunity to sponsor a chair for the duration of the exhibit, which is at least two years; their names will be included in the exhibit. Business sponsors include: American Association of University, Anvil Wagon Works, At Home on the Range, Catherine Lane Interiors, Elk River Books, ERA Landmark Real Estate, The Frame Garden, Junk n’ Disorderly, Legends Hair Studio, Little Feet Preschool, Livingston Center for Arts & Culture, Livingston Community Acupuncture, Livingston HealthCare, Montana Rail Link, Northern Pacific Beanery, 1 to 1 Fitness, Operation Lifesaver, Out of the Blue Antiques, Riverside Hardware, Solid Rock Foundation, and Timber Trails.
Individual and family supporters include: Tom Baskett, Sherry Pikul, and Family; Melissa & Parks Frady; Jim Garry; Howard & Kay Hoy; Keith Lawrie & Brant Robey; Eileen Story; and Kate & Stan Todd.
The museum is also grateful to the following people who assisted with the exhibit: Suzanne Brown, Reid Flatten, Frank Hardesty, Jamie Islay, Jay Kiefer, Margie Nelson, Rob Park, Dan Porter, Carl Ronneberg, Susan Sewell, Bob Skillman, and board members Ed Dodge, Bruce Graham, Dale Guidi, and Norm Miller.
For more information, please contact Karen Reinhart, Yellowstone Gateway Museum, 222-4184. Find us on Facebook for updates.