Contact Us

American Heritage Center

Centennial Complex

2111 Willet Drive

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-4114

Email: ahcref@uwyo.edu

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AHC Exhibits

 

American Heritage Center

Galleries and Loggia displays on the second floor are open from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekdays.

Upcoming Exhibits


Current Exhibits in the AHC Loggia:

 

Biking Around: Celebrating the History of Bicycling in Wyoming and the West

men, women, and children posing with their bicycles in the 1920's

The American Heritage Center is proud to present "Biking Around," a captivating exhibit that takes visitors on a journey through the rich history of cycling in the region. The exhibit will be on display from January 31, 2024, to April 30, 2024, offering a unique exploration of the role bicycles played in shaping the cultural and social landscape of Wyoming and the American West.

Don't miss the opportunity to embark on this extraordinary journey through the history of bicycles in Wyoming and the West. "Biking Around" promises to be a visually appealing and informative experience for all ages.

About the Exhibit:

"Biking Around" invites visitors to delve into the fascinating world of bicycles, tracing their evolution and impact on society from the late 19th century to the present day. From early high-wheel designs to the iconic safety bicycle, the exhibit showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, photographs, and personal stories that illuminate the enduring legacy of cycling in the region.

Highlights Include:

Local bicycle clubs, historic bikes including two Penny-Farthings on loan from the Laramie Plains Museum, pioneering individuals, the rise of mail order bicycles, bicycles’ role in the empowerment of women, and global bicycling adventures. Featured collections include the Elmer F. Lovejoy papers, Montgomery Ward papers, Lora Webb Nichols papers, W.O. Owen papers, and the Carl Spencer papers, among others.

Admission:

All AHC exhibits are free and open to the public.

About the American Heritage Center:

The AHC contains important holdings in numerous areas. Its western history archives include materials on early women’s suffrage and political achievements, native Americans, ranching, politics, authors, and under-documented communities. Other featured collecting areas include transportation (railroad, highway, and air travel), mining and energy extraction, entertainment and popular culture (with important collections featuring Hollywood, music, radio, television and the comic book industry), natural resources and the environment, and military history. The AHC also serves as the primary archives for the University of Wyoming. Connect with us on our social media platforms  FacebookTwitterInstagramVirmuze, and our blog - where we are #ALWAYS ARCHIVING.

 

 

 

James Bama’s Photographs: Portraits of the West

 

James Bama exhibit photo

llustrator and artist James Bama moved to Wyoming in 1968 and began exploring the western identities through the photographs and paintings he made of his friends and neighbors. Although Bama (1926 – 2022) quickly became known for his realistic paintings, it was his photographs that were the foundation of his imagery.

The exhibt James Bama’s Photographs: Portraits of the West begins November 13, 2023 runs through April 10, 2024.

The images offer fresh perspectives on representations of western identities in Bama’s photographic portraits. They capture dissonances between historical trappings and the modern world, highlighting the complexity of western histories and identities. The photographic portraits look deeply into the people on the other side of the camera, conveying a sense of the models’ humor, drama, beauty, strength, contradictions, or loneliness by tapping into the West’s unique mix of storytelling, self-representation, history, and contemporaneity.

This show constitutes a special “exhibition partnership” with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The joint exhibit showcases more than 120 distinct photographs in the paired presentations. Beginning with a shared understanding of Bama’s approach, each exhibit fills in the details of their visual exposition differently, weaving together a thematic framework with distinctive selections. The result is a powerful visual conversation about James Bama’s maturing vision of the West.


White Robe

 

White Robe  The story of Rev. John Roberts

“White Robe” features 13 colorful paintings by Irish artist Brian Whelan that celebrate the life of the Rev. John Roberts and his historic 66-year ministry on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. ArtSpirit, the arts initiative of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming, commissioned the touring exhibit; it will travel to Europe after its stay at the University of Wyoming.


Mystery Books Exhibition

 Nancy Drew myster book cover

 

“Unmasking the Unknown: Delving into Literary Mysteries” is a book exhibit selected from the AHC’s Toppan Library. This exhibit will follow the evolution of the mystery genre from its early beginnings to its more recent adaptations that continue to engage with audiences of today. These works span multiple artists from Arthur Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie to more recent novelists like C.J. Box.  Along the way, it visits sub-genres ranging from Gothic tales to cops-and-robbers to true crime dramas.


 

 



The Etchings of Hans Kleiber

 

Etchings of Hans Kleiber

Hans Kleiber (1887-1967) was born in Cologne, Germany (of Austrian parentage) and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1900, settling in Massachusetts before moving to Wyoming. Kleiber first worked in lumber camps before working for the United States Forest Service from 1906 until 1924. One of his duties as a ranger was to monitor the logging camps in the Bighorn Mountains.

Kleiber was primarily self-taught as an artist, and it was in the 1920s that he began devoting himself to art, retiring from the Forest Service in 1923 to pursue art full time. Kleiber used the mountain scenery, wildlife, and human inhabitants of the area as his subjects. He traversed the mountains of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and his subjects are drawn from the pristine landscapes and wildlife. He first began to work in watercolor and oil but was producing etchings and drypoints as early as 1924, for which he developed a national reputation.

 


George A. Rentschler Room

 pere-marquette-into-the-unknown

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

alfred-jacob-miller

 

Please note: The Alfred Jacob Miller paintings are presently on loan to the exhibit, “Alfred Jacob Miller: Revisiting the Rendezvous—in Scotland and Today.” The exhibit will be at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY)in 2023 and at the Eiteljorg Museum (Indianapolis) in 2024. Please expect them to return home to the American Heritage Center in Spring 2025.

 

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.

 

Keeping History Alive

University of wyoming union. Camparing now and the 1950's

As the archives of the University of Wyoming, the American Heritage Center holds numerous collections from UW departments, professors, presidents, students, and alumni. Although most of the items contained in these collections are documents, many collections feature posed and candid photos of life at UW since its founding in 1886.

This exhibit combines historic photos from the American Heritage Center’s collections with photos of the University of Wyoming campus taken in 2022, to show how the campus has changed (and stayed the same) over time.

The University of Wyoming is a land grant university in Laramie, Wyoming, founded in 1886. Construction of the first building, Old Main, began in 1886 and the university opened its doors to the first students in September 1887.

Today, the campus consists of more than 40 buildings and continues to grow.

The historic photos from the AHC collections were curated and the modern photos were shot by AHC Photographer and Exhibits Coordinator Theoren Sheppard. The building histories were written by UW Archivist and Historian John Waggener.

 

 “Back to School

 Lora Web Nicoles picture of stuedents in encampment Wyoming

Whether a student, a parent, an educator, or just someone who drives through the occasional school zone, fall means back to school season for most people. These images may bring back memories about school days in a rural Wyoming school, attending school dances, or a favorite teacher. They may also inspire wonder about the dedication to a basic education we see in those rode their horses or walked miles to the nearest schoolhouse on Wyoming’s wide-open ranges or mountainous passes.

Images included in this display feature Wyoming schools, students, and teachers as early as 1885 and as late as 2011. These photos are taken from several collections at the American Heritage Center including the Ludwig & Svenson Studio Photos (#167), the Lora Webb Nichols Papers (#1005), the W.B.D. and Annette B. Gray Papers (#1053), and several others.

We hope you enjoy these images from Wyoming’s schools and that they bring back some fond memories of your own.

 

Hans Klieber, Forest Ranger & Artist

Hans Klieber water color painting of lean-to tent camping in moutians with trees and a lake

Hans Kleiber (1887-1967) was born in Cologne, Germany and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1900, settling in Massachusetts before moving to Wyoming. He worked in lumber camps and later for the United States Forest Service from 1906 to 1923. One of his duties as a ranger was to monitor the logging camps in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains.

Kleiber was primarily self-taught as an artist, and it was in the 1920s that he began devoting himself to art, retiring from the Forest Service in 1923 to pursue art full time. Kleiber used the mountain scenery, wildlife, and human inhabitants of the area as his subjects. He traversed the mountains of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and his subjects are drawn from the pristine landscapes and wildlife. He first began to work in watercolor and oil but was producing etchings and drypoints as early as 1924, for which he developed a national reputation.

All images are from collection #1172, the Hans Klieber Papers and Artwork, 1908-1964, at the American Heritage Center.


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
 
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.
 

Upcoming Exhibits in the AHC Loggia:

The Stan Lee Papers

Coming May 1, 2024

 

Stan Lee speaking at UW Archives press interview

 

Contact Us

American Heritage Center

Centennial Complex

2111 Willet Drive

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-4114

Email: ahcref@uwyo.edu

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