By Sarah Pridgeon
Voters will choose three new trustees for the Crook County Museum District at the general election next week. Incumbent Catherine Cardarelli and current chairman Lorie Marchant will be joined on the ballot by Frank Schwegel, Rosalie Brimmer, Rod Knudson and Peggy Howard.
Though there are no restrictions on location for the board, the district will represent all three museums across the county and candidates have been categorized here according to their stated home address for the sake of clarity. We asked each candidate to answer the same question, offering each the same opportunity to share their thoughts with voters.
That question was: why are you running for this seat?
Peggy Howard – “It’s time for a change from the status quo. I am running for the school board and museum board for one basic reason: the existing board members have been serving for too long. It seems some have been on the individual boards for 30 to 20 years. I think it is time for a change. I carry a library media endorsement so I feel qualified for this board. There are some vital items on both boards that have not changed, as well as other issues.”
Lorie L. Marchant (incumbent) – “I’m running for my second term on the Crook County Museum District board. I have been involved with the board for the last six years. In working with the museums, I’m continually inspired by the three directors. These individuals have not only an unquestionable passion for preserving our local history, but also the eagerness to share it with community members and tourists. In running for the board, I want to continue supporting these directors and the great programs each of our unique museums have developed. The museums are not only critical in the preservation of our history for future generations but also for our local tourist economy. The number of visitors to all our museums continues to grow. As a board member, I would continue to support the advertising of our local museums in visitor related media. Each of our three museums currently have exciting things going on. The most notable project is the restoring of Old Stoney to house the Crook County Museum and other rental spaces. Once this project is complete the board will need to address the the long term plan for maintaining the building. As a board member I would make these decisions with the county’s best interest in mind. I plan to continue building upon the foundation the original board members established for the board. To do so I would appreciate your vote.”
Frank R. Schwegel – “I have lived all my life in the west. I was raised in Montana, but have had the opportunity to travel all over the west. Wyoming is rich in history and Western heritage. I would love to learn more and help to preserve all the history this county has to offer with the renovation of Old Stoney. I see where there is opportunity to bring more visitors to our community to visit this beautiful part of Wyoming.”
Rosalie Brimmer – “I want to be involved with saving Wyoming’s history. I’ve always been interested in history and have done a lot of research on Crook County. When I travel to other towns, I always go to the museums if they have them because you can learn so much. When they were going to tear Old Stoney down a few years ago it really upset me, because they were going to tear down history. I believe moving the museum into Old Stoney will be a real attraction as a lot of people enjoy Western history, and there are other historical places in Crook County that could be saved and used, such as the Aladdin Tipple. Crook County is full of so much history, as is Wyoming, and I would like to be on the board to see if we can do some things with the history we have here. Many older families live here and I think they should be recognized and their stories published, and there are so many young people who don’t yet know anything about our history. I want to serve on the board to promote Crook County and teach young people – and new people who have moved here – our history.”
Catherine Cardarelli (incumbent) – “I have a strong commitment to museums – I grew up with the daughter of the daughter of the secretary of the Smithsonian and she was very articulate about how important museums are in a society: they hold the past for us to look at so we can go forward more successfully. I really believe that. Our goal since I have been on the board has been to expand the functions of the museums and support them. I want to keep that as a goal: to find more and better ways to integrate the museums into the communities. The museum board has been a functional part of the system, holding all the museums together and making them all better. I want to stay a part of the museum district because I believe so strongly that museums play a major role in a community.”
Rodney Knudson – “The three museums within Crook County include the Texas Trails Museum in Moorcroft, the Hulett Museum and the Sundance Museum, all of which need our support in order to preserve the heritage of this county. The importance of this goal is imbedded in a volume available from the Crook County Historical Society called “Pioneers of Crook County” for sure, but the physical facilities that house the many artifacts of this culture, coupled with the museum directors who enable the process, provide a physical contact with the history of the county in often personal terms. The monumentally expensive attempt to resuscitate the Old Stoney high school building as a museum in Sundance has been heroic in terms of the number of hours spent on its restoration for the planning, fundraising efforts and construction, and needs our continued support. Rocky Courchaine needs to be singled out in this regard and given his due respect for being a major force in the movement to establish a more suitable venue as a repository for the accumulated Crook County memorabilia that has been amassed for over the more than 100 years of this county’s existence. The emergence of that which has accumulated in the basement of the courthouse will be more greatly appreciated in this more suitable venue called the Old Stoney Museum. I look forward to this ultimate goal and will support fundraising opportunities to accomplish this goal. I hope to use my background as the former Hulett librarian for both county and school for the 26 years I served in that capacity and the Master of Science in the natural sciences (MSNS) degree I received from the University of Wyoming to serve this position.”