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AHC Exhibits

Current Exhibits at the AHC

The galleries and display areas at the American Heritage Center are located on the second floor and open from 10 AM to 5 PM each week day.

 

Wyoming History in Art Retrospective Exhibit - works by David Paulley

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Wyoming observed the one hundredth anniversary of its statehood in 1990. The Wyoming State Historical Society joined in the celebrations by commissioning the artist Dave Paulley to paint 30 key moments, places and people in Wyoming history. This retrospective commemoration brings together 24 of the paintings in the AHC’s Loggia. (The other six are on display at the state capital in Cheyenne and in Washington, D.C.).

Working with Wyoming historian T. A. Larsen, Paulley and the historical society zeroed in on both iconic and unexpected scenes.  Beginning with a pair of Paleo-Indians examining the petroglyphs at Whoop Up Canyon, the exhibit includes the Verendrye Brothers, who in 1742 were the first Europeans in the area of Wyoming; the first passenger train in 1867; the first jury to include women in 1870; Buffalo Bill at Old Faithful, and the most recent scene, depicting George Hopkins parachuting onto the top of Devil’s Tower.

The painting above depicts Portugee Philips arriving at Ft. Laramie on Christmas Day, 1866, to tell the news of the “Fetterman Massacre,” a well-planned ambush of army soldiers.

 

 

Belden Photograph Exhibit

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Charles Josiah Belden (1887-1966) was a photographer and rancher famous for his visceral photographs of the area around Meeteetse, located in the NW part of Wyoming. Belden’s early life took place far from Wyoming, though, growing up in a wealthy family in San Francisco and then attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—where he became friends with Eugene Phelps. After graduation, the two young men took a European tour and Belden acquired his first camera to record the trip.

Belden returned with his friend Phelps and his camera to Pitchfork Ranch in Wyoming, owned by the Phelps family. In 1912, Belden married Eugene’s sister, Frances and the couple had three children. Eugene’s father died in 1922, leaving Eugene and Charles to take over management of the Pitchfork Ranch. In the early 1930s, transformed the ranch into a dude ranch, welcoming tourists who wanted to visit the ranch and taste the cowboy life. The selected photographs appear in the AHC’s new Gallery One.

 


Permanant Exhibits at the AHC

George A. Rentschler Room

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The American Heritage Center’s George A. Rentschler Room is home to significant western paintings, including thirteen by Henry Farny and one by Frederic Remington. These paintings appear as they did in the library of Mr. Rentschler, a New York City businessman and western enthusiast.

Henry Farny (1847-1916)

After studying in Rome, Dusseldorf and Munich as a young man, Farny settled in Cincinnati. In 1881, he began traveling into the American West, including Wyoming. During his travels, Farny sketched, took photographs and collected Indian artifacts and photographs. Returning to his Cincinnati studio, Farny worked from his own illustrations and memory, relied on his collection of artifacts, and occasionally employed live models to create his unique style of Western art.

Despite this method of production, Farny’s Indian paintings are considered some of the most accurate of the genre. His paintings of Native Americans were highly sought after during Farny’s lifetime, although his work disappeared into near obscurity after his death. Collectors rediscovered Farny in the 1960s because of increasing interest in the “true West.”

Frederic Remington (1861-1909)

Frederic Remington studied art at Yale University and took his first trip into the American West in 1881, the same year as Farny. Although a failed businessman, he became famous as an illustrator of the West. His first full-page cover art work appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1886 when he was just 25.

In the 1890s, he became a favorite of the American cavalry in the West, especially the troops led by General Nelson Miles. His numerous paintings of soldiers at this this time often used a monochromatic palate, which gave a sense of realistic, almost photographic, quality. The Rentschler Remington painting belongs to this period.

 

Alfred Jacob Miller

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The Alfred Jacob Miller paintings from the Everett D. Graff family and Robert C. Graff art collections appear on permanent display in the American Heritage Center’s new Gallery One. A young American artist, Miller was commissioned by a Scottish noble, William Drummond Stewart, to document his expedition from the Missouri frontier to the 1837 Green River Rendezvous near modern Pinedale Wyoming. During the six-month journey with Stewart and the American Fur Company, Miller made more than 200 watercolor sketches. He used these sketches as the basis for large oil paintings he painted to hang in Stewart’s Murthly Castle in Scotland. Miller was the first European American artist to capture the interior of the Rocky Mountains. Some of the Murthly Castle paintings are now at the American Heritage Center.


Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center Exhibits

The American Heritage Center is pleased to work with the UW Foundation to curate photograph and image exhibits for the Gateway Center. Three exhibits are now on display.

 

History Happened Here!

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This exhibit features photographs drawn from numerous University of Wyoming collections—collections from UW departments, professors, presidents, students, and alumni—and now all held at the American Heritage Center. These photographs, both posed and candid, give snapshots of life in Wyoming and at UW since its founding in 1886. They offer invaluable glimpses into the everyday life of the university and around the state.

 

Jerry Palen’s “Stampede” cartoon series

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During its 43-year-run, “Stampede” became the largest weekly syndicated cartoon feature in the agriculture sectors of the United States and Canada, growing to a weekly audience of more than 2 million readers. The cartoons of ranchers Flo, Elmo and their dog Dammit were selected from across the decades of Stampede’s syndication. The collection came to the American Heritage Center through the generosity of Art Nicholas of Wyoming’s Wagonhound Ranch. This exhibit features selected cartoon drawings by Jerry Palen from across the decades.

 

“Traversing the Trails" featuring the photographs of Finis Mitchell

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Finis Mitchell (1901-1995), a mountain climber and photographer, is now featured in his eponymous collection at the AHC. His climbing exploits in the Wind River Range, the Bridger Wilderness, and the Teton Range were well known. At one point in his life, he used his pictures of Wyoming’s mountains, wildlife, and wild scenery to create postcards of Wyoming views— postcards that become the iconic images of the state’s scenery. He also captured scenes of everyday life in the state. The exhibit presents a selection of his spectacular photographs, with emphasis on Wyoming’s natural beauty.


Virtual Exhibits

Virtual Exhibits are designed to help you explore online a specific theme from AHC collections. A selected group of images will provide a brief introduction to the topic and to the types of related material.
Browse our virtual exhibits page on the Virmuse digital platform
s.h.-knight-fossils
The Knight family was important to the discovery of dinosaur fossils. They used their skills as geologists and paleontologists to help spread this information to the world.
Contact Us

American Heritage Center

Centennial Complex

2111 Willet Drive

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-4114

Email: ahcref@uwyo.edu

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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