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Living History Day – Ray Alt Celebration
June 1, 2019 @ 10:00am
Yellowstone Gateway Museum will host its annual Living History Day on Saturday, June 1st between the hours of 10am and 5pm. Throughout the day, artisans will demonstrate primitive arts: flint knapping, blacksmithing, painting, Dutch oven cooking, and more on the museum grounds. Teachers will be giving lessons in the one-room schoolhouse. Native American traditional games will be offered at various stations on the lawn. All are welcome to attend this free event, which includes museum admission. Burgers and hot dog plates will be available for purchase.
This year the museum commemorates Ray Alt, master flint knapper, who organized and began the first “Knap-In” in 2013. (An extensive museum exhibit also showcases Alt’s work.) The annual event expanded to become what is now Living History Day. Alt passed away last June. From 10am–2pm, renowned Gardiner area sculptor George Bumann will demonstrate the art of flint knapping as well as primitive fire-starting techniques using a bow drill.
Blacksmiths Jem Blueher, Andy Olds, Martin Hildreth, and others will demonstrate and interpret the traditional art of blacksmithing using the original forge in the museum’s Vink Blacksmith Shop. Peter “Jack” Vink, Jr. used this shop for refitting wagon wheels, welding, and blacksmithing from 1903 until his death in 1949.
Michael Keator, a longtime Dutch oven cook who prepared meals for backcountry wilderness pack trips for several years will demonstrate the art of cooking a full meal. His menu changes every year – delectable samples will be available in the afternoon! Donations are also welcome.
Artist Shirl Ireland will demonstrate painting from 2–5pm and will facilitate a sketching station for people who’d like to participate. Ireland has painted professionally for more than twenty years and owns the Elk River Art Studio and Lodge in Gardiner with her husband John Stacy.
Jack Reynolds has worked for more than thirty years in primitive arts. He’ll travel from Helena and will make his miniature willow sculptures on the lawn during the day.
Traditional Native American game instruction will be led by Trudy Patton, a Yellowstone National Park Education Ranger with the curriculum-based, residential Expedition Yellowstone program, STEAM teacher workshops, and school field trip programs. Patton is certified in International Traditional Games Society training from Mammoth, Wyoming.
East Side School teacher Kim Fink, retired East Side School librarian Merrilee Bryan, and retired teacher Shannon Burke will teach lessons in the one-room schoolhouse, helping visitors glimpse what learning was like in the good old days.
In addition, Living History Day will feature numerous family activities with participants encouraged to purchase raffle tickets for themed baskets to raise money for the museum. Donations in support of the event are welcome and appreciated.
Attendees will also have the chance to preview new exhibits, some still in the process of installation: “Agriculture of Park County,” “Vignettes of History: Cultural Landscapes of Park County,” and “Ice Age Mammoth” featuring a life-size painting by Kristen Walker. The art exhibit will invite people to try and identify artwork locations from around the county.