March 18, 2021

Article at Alex on Authory

Museum plans for summer 2021

The Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum will bring back in-per son programming this summer after activities were canceled last year due to COVID-19.

Living History Day, Art Museum Monday, Wine About History and Echoes of the Past Cemetery Tours are all returning this summer.

"We're pretty excited about it,” said museum director Sylvia Brunner. “It is such a big part of our normalcy around here, and I think everybody did the best with the information we had available at the time, but we missed it and I don't think we understood how much we were going to miss it at the time.”

Art Museum Monday, an art program for children run by museum educator Kelsey McDonnell, is set to come back on Monday mornings, though the start date is tentative, Bruner said.

“You get to watch these kids learn something about art and experience some joy,” Bruner said. “Kelsey teaches them techniques but helps them engage with each other. That was one program I really missed last summer.”

Wine About History, a monthly event with guest speakers and the bring-your-own-beverage option for those 21 and older, is returning as well, Bruner said. These are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting this summer.

Both programs are held outdoors and are free to the public.

The annual Living History event is scheduled for June 26, where the museum offers free admission to the museum, plus demonstrations from actors dressed in historical garb and other hands-on learning opportunities.

Bruner said she's excited for this year's event, because it's an opportunity to bring the community together at the museum.

"A lot of folks, life gets busy for them, and they find they haven't been to the museum in 12 years, so that's always fun for them to see what's new," she said.

Tickets are on sale for cemetery tours scheduled for Aug. 11-14 and 18-20, one of the museum's major fundraising events.

The museum is already seeing more traffic as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline locally. School tours, both virtual and in-person, are starting back up, Bruner said. Students typically learn Wyoming history in fourth grade, so they are seeing both fourth graders and fifth graders, who missed the experience last spring, come through.

"We're grateful that teachers are bringing them in so local students all get that experience of coming in,” Bruner said.

Bruner said she expects this summer to be busier than the last, based not only on the increase in visitation toward the end of the summer and into the fall but also on the projected increase in regional travel as people receive COVID-19 vaccines and case numbers decrease.

Last summer, the museum had roughly 8,000 visitors, down from the previous year's 16,000, according to Bruner. The budget didn't suffer immensely from the lost admission fees, she said, because more visitors stopped by the gift store on their way out.

“Last year was just such an oddball anomaly for everybody,” Bruner said. “Honestly, I feared the worst. But we did OK.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum on Facebook.