History is not the story of strangers, it is our story. By collecting, sharing, and preserving stories and artifacts of life in the Yellowstone River Valley and the Northern High Plains, we enter into the lives of our ancestors. Their examples of sacrifice, heroism, compassion, determination, hardship, despair and courage resonate in our lives today.
There are many ways you can join our effort at the Western Heritage Center. By supporting the museum through an annual membership, volunteering your time or sharing your financial resources, you further the mission of the Western Heritage Center.
Noted anthropologist, Pearl S. Buck once said, “If you want to understand today, you need to search history.” The Western Heritage Center has helped many understand our collective history. Here is a sampling of what some have said:
"The Western Heritage Center matters to me because it carries the history of this region. If it were not for my involvement in the WHC, I would know very little about some of our history and the great people who paved our path. It is also important for the future generations and more critical as time passes to preserve and maintain our records." Paige Spaulding, Western Heritage Center Board Member
"I knew of the Cheyenne's struggle to go home from Indian Territory, but I was unprepared for the information I learned from your oral history! I struggled through the exhibits for two hours, wiping my eyes with mood swings from anger to depression. Thank you for providing such an encyclopedic history and meaning to a historical event that still channels resolve to be a person given to justice among people." Ron Sumter, Visitor
"I liked the story of the travois. The Indians had to decide what they would take with them in a small carrier. If I had to decide, I would take my cat and my brother." 2nd grade visitor
At the Western Heritage Center, we engage in activities we hope will lead to a deeper understanding of our region and a broader appreciation of those who live here. The Western Heritage Center matters because people matter and their stories can change hearts and minds.
We’re proud of our partnerships with the educational community and our work with teachers to create exhibits, DVDs and lesson plans that support their work in the classroom. We hope to have an impact on students as they develop critical thinking skills. We present a range of information and interpretations for them to view and ponder. We trust they will use their own judgment to arrive at independent conclusions of what happened and why.
We’re also proud of our community partnerships which foster ongoing historic preservation efforts.
We are especially proud of the partnerships we’ve formed with the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes to honor our similarities and respect our differences. We’ve become a microcosm of the effect we hope to have on the larger society.
We hope everyone who comes into contact with the Western Heritage Center takes away a greater understanding of themselves and this region we call home.
Julie Dial, Executive Director