Friday, July 4, 2014

New panels for Ore Wagon Museum

Displays reflect history of the valley

Express Staff Writer

This panel, one of seven, shows the early years of the Wood River Valley, complete with Native Americans, trappers, miners and the advent of the railroad. Graphic courtesy of city of Ketchum

     To preserve and showcase regional history, seven new interpretive panels fronting the south side of the Ore Wagon Museum in Ketchum were installed Wednesday.

     The panels depict Ketchum’s historical evolution, beginning with the region’s Native American presence. The panels replace the original exhibit created in 1986.

     The Ore Wagon Museum houses six Lewis Fast Freight 3-ton ore wagons, a gift from the Lewis family. The wagons were used to haul ore from mines in Galena to the Philadelphia Smelter on Warm Springs Road in the 1880s. The wagons are now pulled by a mule team at the close of the annual Wagon Days parade every Labor Day weekend.

     Historical photographs are interwoven throughout the exhibit, showing photos of local tribes, historic businesses, ore wagons, miners, sheep herding and skiing. Viewers can trace the disappearance of regional towns via maps and check out diagrams of old mines. Each panel is 3.75 ft. by 4 ft.

     The panels feature historical photographs interspersed with quotes from Wood River Valley pioneers, historical documents and a narrative timeline.

     Designed by Evelyn Phillips of Quigley Map Studio, the panels were funded by $11,000 worth of grants from the city of Ketchum and the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency. Phillips was aided by former state representative Wendy Jaquet, valley resident Norma Douglas and librarian Sandra Hofferber of The Community Library.

     “Enhancing the pictures from The Community Library, using the colors of the museum building, creating the mining and smelting diagrams and enhancing an old mining map so that it can be interpreted easily was part of the challenge to make the panels so compelling,” Phillips said. “As I finished each one, I became more and more excited about them and I hope that this carries over to those who will visit the display.”

     The Ore Wagon Museum is at the corner of Fifth Street and East Avenue; visitors are encouraged to check in at City Hall across the street. Admission to the museum is free.

     The dedication of the panels will take place Sunday, Aug. 31, during the Wagon Days festival.

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