Support for the Sheridan County Historical Society and Museum

Re: Excited to see museum redesign

I am writing in support of the Sheridan County Historical Society and Museum, and all of the great work they are doing. This is also in reference to the Battle of the Rosebud diorama that was removed.

The museum has not destroyed any artifacts. What they did do is remove a modern item they purchased, and of which they had full ownership.

The Sheridan County Museum interprets the history of the whole Sheridan County area, not just the Battle of the Rosebud. They educate the public, while preserving and caring for artifacts. It is not a diorama museum, nor was the diorama an artifact.

We can all appreciate the time and labor Mr. Warnke puts into creating his projects, however, he was paid for his time and work years ago when the museum bought the diorama from him.

Because the museum has worked with Mr. Warnke on so many dioramas, I would venture to guess that it is highly unlikely they did not inform him of their intent to take this one off exhibit before they started the removal process.

This community has been extremely generous in donating their artifacts to the museum, helping ensure that the many stories of Sheridan County can be told. The removal of this large diorama is allowing for increased exhibit space, creating the opportunity for more artifacts to be exhibited at a time. Museums need to create new content for the public to see, in order to not only attract first-time visitors, but repeat and local visitors as well. This new plan for the museum was openly discussed at a public meeting March 27, 2019, at the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library.

I wholeheartedly support the Sheridan County Museum’s executive director, and the museum’s dedicated volunteer board of directors. I cannot wait to make a return visit to my local museum to see their exciting new redesign, and enthusiastically encourage everyone else in the community to do so as well.

Sharie Prout



Need to adjust to survive

Re: Changes at museum

Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for their feedback on our Sheridan County Museum redesign effort. It has stirred a lot of interest and we love it!

The museum redesign came from your community feedback. Members of the community spoke with board members about the stagnation of the museum. Essentially, the statement was made, “I saw it, nothing changes, so why do I need to go back.” Consequently, the museum has seen a constant decline in admissions since 2015. In addition, we’ve seen a decline in membership. So, we had two options: 1. Stay the same and continue to decline or 2. Make a change and move forward. The board chose the latter.

The process for the redesign began almost a year ago with strategic planning sessions. These sessions began in April 2018 and are ongoing. The board has continued to take steps to plan what the museum needs to be. We met with community members and major donors, we researched what other museums are doing, and we examined magazine articles about Sheridan tourism. The board reexamined all exhibits for historical accuracy and relevance. After consulting with area experts and examining visitor feedback, the decision was made by the board to remove several exhibits because of historical inaccuracy or lack of interest. At this point, Mr. Warnke was contacted to help with the removal process, but he refused.

Moving forward, we plan to showcase some of our paintings, and 10,000 historic photographs in a newly established gallery space. This space will be a rotating exhibit since we have a vast collection. The first exhibit will be on Sheridan native Bernard Thomas. We will be showcasing an exhibit on the Northern Cheyenne culture. This is a new exhibit that has not been seen in Sheridan before. There will also be a new exhibit on women from Sheridan County. This exhibit correlates with the state’s 150-year anniversary of women’s suffrage. In addition, there will be an area that we can host speakers and our Tidbit program for children.

Those exhibits will be rotating, changing every few years to allow us to share more of our heritage and keep the museum fresh. However, there are permanent topics that will remain. One of the more popular of those topics continues to be the one on coal. There are two dioramas connected with this topic — a coal shaft and the town of Monarch. We will continue to rotate items about coal in this exhibit, but the dioramas will remain. We’re also showcasing early Sheridan, starting with our diorama of Sheridan in 1884.

These are only a few of the changes that we’ve made — we look forward to reopening and showing the entire community what we’ve done. The board is working hard to share the history of Sheridan County.

To be a viable part of the community, we must change! We must embrace this change, while still paying homage to the history of the area.

Jennifer Betz

Sheridan County Historical Society & Museum board president


Kudos to Coffeen Elementary School staff

Re: Accident, shutdown

I would like to take an opportunity to commend the staff and students at Coffeen Elementary School. They recently had an incident that required some of their classes to evacuate the school and proceed to a nearby store per the school’s evacuation plan. Some of the children were scared, others excited and some emotional. Once all the students were accounted for, the teachers and staff did an exceptional job of taking control of the situation.

The staff gathered the students in one location, got them focused and spoke to them very calmly. There was enough staff to individually console the few children who were particularly distraught. Some of the staff and students helped pass out water out while others remained in conversation with the majority of students.

It was wonderful to watch the respect the students showed for the staff members and how calmly the staff took control of the situation.

As a parent myself, it is wonderful to know that we have such a great group of staff members at one of our schools. It has been a difficult week at Coffeen Elementary, but it was heartening to witness the way the staff interacted and cared for their students during a stressful situation.

Aaron Ligocki



Simple things to make the world better

Re: Sustainability possible

Earth Day was April 22. Here’s where you expect me to inundate you with apocalyptic predictions, statistics about microplastics in literally everything, and walruses plunging to their deaths (that video… ugh). But I’m not going to do that.

We all know that pollution is a problem. We all know that climate is becoming a major problem in many parts of the world. I believe that everyone cares about the environment. We have different ways of expressing it, but we all want clean air and clean water. We all want our children to inherit a planet that will sustain them. Only a monster wouldn’t.

But it can be overwhelming to think about what we can do. So most of us choose not to think about it, or we choose to believe that it’s not as big of a problem as it is. That’s human nature, and it’s OK. Back in school, where I studied environmental science, I saw people tumble into deep depression when they were constantly bludgeoned with the realities of human degradation of our environment. That’s completely natural, too. It can be horrifying, and when you know what you’re looking at, you see it everywhere. So it’s actually healthy to turn away from it sometimes. It’s a natural reaction that preserves our psyches.

But what if we could do something and it didn’t have to be a guilt trip? What if there were simple things we could do today that are solid steps toward a healthier, sustainable environment? There are.

All over the country and the world, nations, states, cities and towns are choosing to substantially reduce their waste by encouraging things like environmentally degradable takeout containers and reusable grocery bags. They are asking restaurants to provide plastic straws only when they are requested. They are putting deposits and fees on single-use containers like soda bottles and plastic bags to encourage reuse and recycling. We can do these things here, and they do make a difference. There are much bolder ideas out there, but let’s start with a few small victories. Let’s systematically reduce our waste, Sheridan.

Maybe your take out Mexican food will cost a dollar more, but you won’t have a bin full of Styrofoam that will be finding its way into your children’s food supply long after your dead. Isn’t that worth it? It’s time for a citizen’s movement to make our city better.

David Myers