Vote for "Wyoming's Most Significant Artifacts"

Dubois, Lander and Riverton Museums all represented in, “Wyoming’s Most Significant Artifacts” program

Wyoming’s Most Significant Artifacts program was launched in 2015 by the Wyoming State Historical Society in partnership with the University of Wyoming Libraries in celebration of 125 years of Wyoming Statehood. Its purpose is to provide recognition to the cultural institutions throughout Wyoming that preserve and provide access to collections that enhance our enjoyment and understanding of Wyoming’s heritage and provide ongoing learning and research opportunities.

The program involves identifying some of our state’s most treasured artifacts. An artifact is defined as an artistic or historic item (or related group of items) and may include a wide variety of items such as documents, books, photographs, recordings, artwork, and 3 dimensional items. It does not include structures or buildings.

Each of the three museums within the Fremont County Museum System have submitted artifacts for consideration as, “Wyoming’s Most Significant Artifacts”.  Scott Goetz: Central Director for Fremont County Museums said, “It is great to see the artifacts submitted by the Dubois Museum, Pioneer Museum and Riverton Museum be selected by the jury to move to the next round where the public can help determine the Top 10 by voting.  We are fortunate to have many historically significant artifacts at our museums and are very proud to be considered for this year’s top 10.  I think it speaks to the quality and historical significance of the collections at our museums.”  The 25 artifacts that the public will have the opportunity to vote on can be seen at,

The Dubois Museum submitted for consideration a steatite bowl made by The Mountain Shoshone also known as the Sheep Eaters. Steatite quarries have been found near Simpson and Soapstone Lakes in the Wind River Mountains near Dubois. These bowls were used to store herbs, minerals and other materials that could be ground into powder to be used as paint, medicine and other substances. Steatite also retains heat, and was used to make cooking pots by the Sheep Eaters. The steatite bowls are heavy and were too bulky to be carried with the Sheep Eaters on their migration routes, so they would leave them at old campsites to be used when they returned the next year. The steatite bowls that have been found in the Dubois area were near these old campsites. This steatite bowl was found in 1929 by a local Dubois, WY rancher in the Torrey Creek area of the Wind River Mountains, and was donated to the Dubois Museum in 1984.

The Pioneer Museum in Lander submitted a collection of 23 epic oil paintings currently on loan to the museum chronicling the life of one of Wyoming's most famous people, Shoshone Chief Washakie. Painted by famed Western artist J.K. Ralston in the mid-1940s, the paintings hung in the Noble Hotel in Lander for decades. When the hotel closed in 1969, the paintings went into storage except for a brief display at the state capitol in Cheyenne.  Currently on display back in their home in Lander.

The Riverton Museum submitted a collection of documents that refer to the opening of the Wind River Indian Reservation for settlement in Wyoming in 1906. The collection consists of a map of the Wind River Indian Reservation, drafted on June 2, 1906; Circular from the Department of the Interior; notice of Result of Drawing for Lands postcard, dated August 9, 1906; Proclamation from the President of the United States; Regulations booklet from the Department of the Interior; booklet listing the schedule of lands ceded, subject to disposition under the President’s Proclamation; and a souvenir medallion commemorating the opening of the reservation for settlement.

Voting is open to the public from through July 15th 2016 and can be found at

“I would like to encourage everyone to follow the link and vote for the artifacts represented in your Fremont County Museums, it would be great to see all three in the Top 10 this year.” Scott Goetz