Two Wyoming Museums Join DPLA



The Brinton Museum and Meeteetse Museums recently became new partners in the Plains to Peaks Collective (PPC), a hub of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). These two museums contributed nearly 7,000 items to this searchable online collection of more than 41 million records. With these recent additions to the PPC, there are now nine Wyoming institutions collectively sharing more than 124,000 unique historic items with DPLA’s large audience of researchers, students, teachers and general history enthusiasts.

The PPC is made possible through a partnership between the Wyoming State Library and Colorado State Library. Participation by Wyoming partners are supported by the WSL. Through the PPC, the Wyoming State Library enables the state’s cultural institutions to share their holdings with a worldwide audience.

Both museums received additional assistance from the State Library through a Carol McMurry Library Endowment Grant from the Wyoming Community Foundation. With these funds, the WSL supported a software upgrade and hosting fees allowing The Brinton Museum  and Meeteetse Museums to take their existing collections databases and put them online.

The Brinton Museum

Fight on the Little Bighorn by Frederic Remington. Black/white/grey. The air is filled with smoke. Indians in foreground, some have rifles amd are shooting at soldiers on the ridge where Custer and his men are fighting back. Indians are riding up to the soldiers on the left.
Fight on the Little Bighorn (Custer’s Last Stand) from The Brinton Museum’s collection in DPLA. (Click image to see record.)
Large ranch house on sunny day
The Brinton Ranch House

The Brinton Museum at the Quarter Circle A Ranch is a special place with a long and colorful history and is home to one of the premier institutions in the northern Rockies. The name originates from Bradford Brinton who acquired the last remaining section of William Moncrieff’s ranch in 1923. Moncreiffe created the ranch by acquiring several homesteader’s holdings and turning them into a sizable ranch. In 1910 he sold his Big Horn property, other than the 640 acres Bradford would later acquire. They’ve contributed nearly 6,000 items to DPLA so far.

“We’re pleased to have received the help of the State Library through their Wyoming Community Foundation grant to place our incredible collections online,” said Ken Schuster, Director & Chief Curator for The Brinton Museum.

Brinton used the ranch as a vacation home, place to entertain guests, and repository for the extensive art collection he acquired during the 13 years he owned the property. Upon Bradford’s death in 1936, the land was bequeathed to his sister Helen who understood the importance of maintaining the ranch and his collection of Western and American Indian art as well as his extensive library and the historic contents of the various ranch buildings for posterity. Through her will the Bradford Brinton Memorial was established in 1960 and opened to the public in 1961.

Meeteetse Museums

A Kustom Signals velocimeter (radar gun) used by the Meeteetse Marshal. This item will be used in the Meeteetse Museums’ upcoming law enforcement exhibit, which will also feature an old jail cell. (Click image to see record)

The Meeteetse Museum District is one of a handful of special museum districts in the state of Wyoming. Their collections include natural history specimens, art and photographs (including some of the works of Olive Fell and Charles Belden), and historical object, photographic, and archival collections of Meeteetse and the surrounding area. Their addition to DPLA of nearly 900 items includes over 700 photos of physical items held in their collections ranging from barbed wire to core samples from Kirwin to a zucchini cookbook.

“We’ve been working on a better online and social media presence,” said Alexandra Deselms, Director of Collections. “While we were updating our fancy new website with a local travel grant, we were delighted to also have the opportunity to participate in the grant from the Wyoming State Library to put our PastPerfect catalog records online and in the DPLA.”

The museum district began with their largest collection, the objects catalog, and have since moved on to photos. Deselms said they had a good experience joining the DPLA.  “Leigh [Jeremias] at the Colorado State Library was great to work with to get us prepared to go online. She also talked us through some of the analytics we can look at to see the interest in our collections. Allison [Craven] at PastPerfect Online was also easy to work with to get our online site up and needed files ready for the DPLA.”

Deselms added, “We’re so pleased to be able to offer our collections online to visitors and researchers and to participate in the DPLA, where our collections can have a larger reach.”

Join the DPLA

The Wyoming State Library supports the ability for the state’s cultural organizations to join the DPLA. If you would like to share collections or if you just have questions about the program please contact Leigh Jeremias, at ljeremias@coloradovirtuallibrary.org. For more information about the PPC visit the website.

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