On June 20, and after over four years as director of the Sheridan County Museum, John Woodward left Sheridan for a new job in Casper. As of July 2, he will become director of the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum in Casper, the Wyoming National Guard Museum (headquartered in Cheyenne) and exhibit gallery spaces located at each National Guard Museum in Wyoming, including galleries in Sheridan and Camp Guernsey.
Woodward is thankful for the opportunities offered here in Sheridan and the many people he’s met with a passion to preserve our rich history. He feels he’s leaving the museum in a good place and with potential to build upon. He is most proud of expanding education and outreach programs for all ages and of seeing programs begun during Nathan Doerr’s time as director develop and grow. Such programs as Conversations in History with Helen Laumann and Tidbit Tuesdays thrive. Last year, he says, 3,400 children and youth participated in the museum’s children’s programs.
Woodward has also enhanced or expanded most of the original exhibits from Dana Prater’s time as museum director. These include the Monarch town and early mining diorama created by Tom Warnke with the assistance of Dana Prater, the Model Railroad Association and artist Linden Quinn. Also included are Bob Wilson’s prize-winning Tie Flume diorama, the railroad history exhibit, the Bozeman Trail exhibit and others.
He has worked to improve the organization and care of the collections and has added new exhibits addressing our area’s geology, archaeology and natural history. Woodward calls these the “canvas everything else is painted upon.” He is also pleased with his part, along with the Historical Society board members, in such programs as the “Evening with the Simpson Brothers,” the Wyoming governors and the recent presentation on the history of the Heart Mountain detention camp.
Woodward is a native of Wyoming. He holds a master’s degree in history and a bachelor’s degree in both history and anthropology from the University of Wyoming. He is currently working on a second master’s in museum studies from the University of Oklahoma. He is pleased that as a member of the board of directors of the Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums he will retain some connection to the Sheridan museum.
Today the new exhibits for 2018 are in place, including some for children, the book and gift store are enhanced and the society’s newsletter is being made available over the internet.
Woodward and the museum board, staff and volunteers invite everyone to pay the museum a visit and learn and enjoy a part of our shared past.
As a founding member of the museum board, established less than 14 years ago, I and others are proud of what has been done in the past and where things are today. We thank past and present hard-working board members, museum directors, staff, volunteers and donors of time, money and talent who have made continued growth possible throughout the years. And we thank John Woodward and wish him well in his new position.
Mary Ellen McWilliams serves as an adviser and volunteer for the Sheridan County Historical Society and Museum, and the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association.