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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.

 

The Buddy Ebsen Collection

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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.

 

 

‘More Than Just an Armband’ Black 14 Exhibition Opens at UW American Heritage Center

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“More Than Just an Armband,” an exhibition about the dismissal of the Black 14 players from the University of Wyoming football team in 1969 and the impact of that historical event, is now on display through December at UW’s American Heritage Center (AHC).

The exhibition examines the story of the UW Black 14 football players and the legacy of their October 1969 dismissal from the UW football team. During fall 1969, the players were dismissed from the team by head football Coach Lloyd Eaton because they appeared at the coach’s office as a group, wearing street clothes with black armbands on the day before a game against Brigham Young University (BYU). The players wanted to discuss with the coach how they might show solidarity with a Black Students Alliance call to protest the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ policy of prohibiting Black persons from attaining the priesthood (the church removed the ban in 1978).

The players’ proposed action also was a way to respond to the BYU football team for its poor treatment of Black UW players in the previous year’s game. News of the players’ dismissal spread across campus and through the UW community, leading to students, faculty and staff speaking out against Eaton’s decision and showing support of the Black 14 players.

The exhibition was created by participants in the Black 14 Social Justice Summer Institute on the UW campus in July, which attracted nine high school students from Wyoming, Colorado and Ohio. Three Black 14 members participated throughout the week, and two others joined via Zoom. The players talked with the students and student leaders about their experiences more than 50 years ago.

“For a long time, the narrative surrounding the Black 14 has been limited in its scope and focused on protesting the LDS church,” says Mary Beth Brown, the AHC’s Toppan librarian, a scholar of Black history and the institute’s academic leader. “This exhibition offered the Black 14 members not only a chance to correct the narrative, but also to put the protests of the Black 14 members and the UW community that supported them in context within the larger Black freedom movement.”

Brown says the exhibition is important because of the historical significance of the Black 14 players’ story.

“Conversations about the primary source documents preserved at the AHC revealed there was much more to the story than was reported and that the narrative, which grew over time, became skewed,” Brown observes. In particular, it left out important aspects of the players’ perspectives. One of the consistent messages during the summer institute was that, to the Black 14, “the issue was not simply their desire to protest against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Brown says, “it was larger -- more than just an armband.”

Professor Paul Flesher, the AHC’s director, adds that the exhibition highlights how the campus community reacted to the players’ dismissal from the team and the impact 53 years later.

“‘More Than Just an Armband’ features a look at the event itself; the ways UW students, faculty and employees reacted to it; as well as how that event continues to have an impact more than 50 years later -- especially in the ways the parties have developed new relationships with each other,” Flesher says. “The University of Wyoming publicly apologized to the Black 14 in 2019, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been working in recent years with the Black 14’s Mind, Body and Soul initiative to distribute food to hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

The exhibition is located in Gallery One of the AHC’s loggia on the second floor of the Centennial Complex at 2111 E. Willett Drive. The gallery is open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it is closed for lunch from 1-1:30 p.m. A virtual Black 14 exhibition is planned.

Parking in the Centennial Complex lot is free, but patrons must register at the front desk.

 


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.

 

 “Cowboys & Cattle: Charles Belden’s Wyoming.”

 Charles Belden with his horse

The Charles J. Belden Collection consists of approximately 3,000 original negatives. Most of the images were taken in the 1920s and 1930s on the legendary Pitchfork Ranch near Meeteetse, Wyoming. The Charles J. Belden Photographs Collection exemplifies the natural talent that Belden had for photography. His keen eye made for pictures that were beautifully contrasted and artistic. The Pitchfork Ranch was the star of a majority of Belden's photos, where he captured snapshots of all the hard, yet enjoyable, moments of ranch life in Wyoming. 

 

Wyoming’s National Park.”

3 bear cubs standing up at 1950's station wagon

This exhibit celebrates Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary. It is no secret that Yellowstone National Park is one of Wyoming’s most esteemed treasures, so it is no surprise that the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center features an abundance of collections that contain significant aspects of Yellowstone’s history.


Virtual Exhibits

Please browse the more that 30 virtual exhibits, designed to help you explore specific themes 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
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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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