Beat the heat by diving in… to local history

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By Lacie Koester

Guest Columnist

Named after a Weston County pioneer woman, the Anna Miller museum has always been here in Newcastle to help the citizens learn about the history of the area. However, the museum doesn’t just cater to adults. It also accommodates the children in the area very well!

When school is not in session, families are looking for activities to do together, and the museum can be a good option for anyone who needs to get out of the heat. The people who work at the museum are very friendly and willing to teach kids about history in a fun way.

For free!

Parents can tag along and take a break while their kids are entertained. A lot of youngsters don’t feel the need to learn, which can be sad, but instead of lamenting about it, guardians can continue to encourage them with a trip to the local museum.

The creation of a museum all started at the Weston County Library here in town. The idea of the museum existing in Newcastle can be credited to Fred Wade, former secretary-manager of the Chamber of Commerce. He pushed people to donate to the museum, which was located in the west side of the Weston County library at the time. A few years after the museum was first founded, it had to be relocated. The museum got a $27,014 grant to move, and the former Wyoming Army National Guard Cavalry Stable became the new located for the museum.

It is still located there today, and according to the documents local historian Leonard Cash provided for my research (which helps me as a young, deaf reporter), this building is the last National Guard Cavalry stable to exist in Wyoming.

Today, much like it did in the past, the museum serves the purpose of teaching about the history of the Wyoming area. It also encourages and urges everyone to participate in learning. According to Bobby Jo Stith, the museum’s director, the museum switches out events every year. She described with excitement the three events rotated in succession are Harvest Haunts, Candlelight Living Christmas, and Night at the Museum. There’s also an annual Living History Days event for grades K-5.

Each of these events have unique activities for kids designed to teach them the history of this area. Harvest Haunts is centered on Halloween and has featured fun activities such as apple bobbing, trick-or-treating, and costume contests. Candlelight Living Christmas has had a special visit from Saint Nick himself, and featured a fudge-making activity. Night at the Museum is hosted in June and provides cemetery tours and hay rides. The annual event, Living History Days, has taught kids about immigrant life and cavalry soldiers.

The museum is open year round, and provides tours and many activities. Caleb’s Corner is where children can be paleontologists and search for dinosaur bones while learning about dinosaurs and the prehistoric era. Another popular attraction for kids is the caboose, where they can go inside and learn about what it was like in the past.

Children these days love to learn, even if they don’t admit it. They do it all the time by absorbing the world around them. So remember, if you are searching for an activity, or simply need to get your kid out of the house, consider a field trip to the museum.

It’s beneficial to everyone, and they will learn something new. You probably will too!

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