SHERIDAN – May is National Preservation Month, and history buffs across the United States – including many in Sheridan County – come together to preserve local, state and national history by volunteering and learning throughout the month.
Each year, National Preservation Month encourages local businesses, preservation organizations, state historical societies and governments to join together to promote historic places with the goal of reminding people of local history and demonstrate the benefits of historic preservation, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
Locally, Carrie Edinger, historic program manager for the Sheridan Community Land Trust, said the month-long celebration is about raising awareness about historic preservation in Sheridan County, whether it’s spending time in the neighborhood downtown Sheridan, visit local military history sites or visit museums.
“There are many opportunities in Sheridan County to get involved in Sheridan’s story or to simply become more aware,” Edinger said.
Several local historic sites and organizations are hosting events to remind residents of Sheridan County’s history this month.
For example, the Museum at the Bighorns will host a community day on Saturday in honor of National Preservation Month with free admission all day, said Jessica Salzman, the museum’s collections manager. Salzman said the Bighorns Museum will also showcase historic Sheridan County buildings through online blog posts.
Kenneth Schuster, director and chief curator of the Brinton Museum, said the museum’s collection of preserved art, artifacts and historic buildings offer insight into local and national history while illustrating mythical imagery of the American West that draws and has drawn so many people to the Sheridan neighborhood.
The best way to celebrate National Preservation Month, Schuster said, is to visit a preserved location like the Quarter Circle A Ranch house and outbuildings at The Brinton. Luckily for museum buffs, peak season hours for the Brinton Museum and Quarter Circle A Ranch tours also begin in May. From May 31, the Brinton Museum will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission. Ranch tours begin May 19 at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m., while ranch and grounds tours begin May 28 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
“The Brinton is a great example of someone — and that someone being Helen Brinton — having a vision to preserve the ranch that her brother brought,” Schuster said.
This vision, Schuster explained, allows today’s visitors to learn how a local gentleman’s ranch operated in the 1920s and 1930s.
SCLT is hosting a cleanup at Monarch Lutheran Cemetery Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. In addition to repairing cemetery fences, cleaning headstones and removing weeds and litter, Edinger said SCLT plans to work with the Wyoming Hall of the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library to gather cemetery information, double-check names, and create a map of the Lutheran monarch cemetery.
“The big picture of this cleanup…is that we’re going to document the cemetery,” Edinger said.
That way, Edinger said, information about the cemetery, which is on private property, will be publicly available.
Edinger said she hopes the spirit of National Preservation Month in May and events planned by local organizations will remind residents of the role of history in creating Sheridan County culture and shaping of the future.