Patio Talks

Patio Talks

So much to learn!

Patio Talks are FREE to the public and start at 1:00 PM, unless otherwise noted.

Patio Talks 2018

Free to the Public: Starting times at 1pm, unless otherwise noted



June 14            Lee Silliman               

Yellowstone Engraved: The Daunting Task of Representing Wonderland


June 23            Don Erickson              Navigating the Prairie

June 24            Reid Miller                  You Will Want To Return: The Ferris Mountains



July 1              Chris Jones                  Weather: the Constant Companion


July 7              Dave Jamiel                 Lies, Legends and Lore of the American West

July 8              Reid Miller                  From Territory To State In Just 22 Years


July 14            Hank Cramer               Songs and Stories from the Emigrant Trails with Carter Jct.

                                                            (Performance Schedule: 11, 1 and 3)

July 15            Bruce Berst                 Dr. Dumas: Traveling Medicine Show


July 21            John Davis                  The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County

July 22            Bob King                    Iron-Horse Trails: A Brief History of Wyoming’s Railroads


July 28            Jerry Lucas                  The Legend of Hiram Scott

July 29            Jean Smart                   Smuggler’s Delight



August 4          Shawn Wade               Chief Washakie: Visionary Chief of the Shoshones

August 5          Bruce Berst                 Weapons of Choice: The U.S. Army & Native Americans


August 11        Richard Kaan              Black Hills Stagecoach & Freight Wagon Routes

August 12        Con Trumbull              Historic Steam Railroading


August 17        Rob Swanson              The Great Camel Corps Experiment

August 18        Jerry Lucas                  A Journey’s End: The Story of Rebecca Winters

August 19        NPEA                         Spirited Riders                       


August 25        Lesley Gaunt              The Dating Game – Old West Style

August 26        Jim Russell                  Mail to & from the West Coast 1847-1869



September 1    Shawn & Daniel          Grand Council: The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851

September 2    Daniel Mattern            Roho Delgado: Military Soldier & Galvanized Yankee


September 8    Mike Bardgett            Flora and Fauna of Independence Rock                    

September 9    Kirsten Reynolds        Trouble on the Trail: Stories of Pioneer Women

Patio Talk Descriptions



Lee Silliman               Yellowstone Engraved: The Daunting Task of Representing Wonderland

During this well-illustrated lecture, Lee Silliman, a retired teacher and museum archivist from Missoula, MT will focus on several slides and images, which cover the art of Thomas Moran and the photography of William Henry Jackson during the early days of Yellowstone Park.




Don Erikson               Navigating the Prairie

Join us as Don Erikson, living historian and re-enactor with the U.S. Topographical Engineers, shares the intricacies, methodology and science of land navigation in the 1800’s.  Don will provide a sound perspective of the transportation corridors, including migration and commerce along the pioneer route known as the Great Platte River road.




Reid Miller                 You Will Want To Return: The Ferris Mountains

Join us in the Trails Center theater for a colorful look at a special habitat situated halfway between Casper and Rawlins. The Ferris Mountains were a landmark for ancient hunters on foot, early explorers on horseback, and emigrants on their way up the Sweetwater in wagons. Today the ancient, isolated range offers inspiration and opportunities for various forms of recreation. This 45-minute presentation includes a new 27-minute high-definition video portrait of a true public lands treasure.




Chris Jones                Weather: the Constant Companion

Wind, thunderstorms, and an arid landscape were the constant companion of the pioneer traveler. Pioneers heading west along the trail quickly found out just how different the climate and day-to-day weather was from their homes in the east and abroad. Join us as Chis Jones, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, uses historical records and diaries in an attempt to reconstruct weather patterns associated with the ill-fated Willie and Martin Handcart companies of October 1856.




Dave Jamiel               Lies, Legends and Lore of the American West        

Many legends pertaining to Native American stories or American Frontiersman and mountain men may or may not be true. Please join us as historian Dave Jamiel, renders an engaging presentation for all ages in an entertaining manner concerning the settlement of the Trans-Mississippi West. Learn stories about America’s rich heritage as told through accounts of those who first shared them.



Reid Miller                 From Territory To State In Just 22 Years

Every Territory of our republic designated by Congress became a state, or was rendered into multiple states, in its own time. Come and find out how Wyoming is unique among the states as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of her designation as a Territory in July 1868.  See what was going on at that time in Cheyenne, and what the new Territory's citizens were growing impatient for!  We will profile some key players in Wyoming's achievements as a respected name in the Rocky Mountain west and enjoy a big birthday cake on the veranda to honor their hard work! 




Hank Cramer & Carter Junction               Songs and Stories from the Emigrant Trails


Traveling folksinger Hank Cramer, along with duo Carter Junction, will perform several pioneer songs at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center at 11, 1 and 3 p.m.  The shows will consist of songs that were popular in the days of westward migration along the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Bozeman Trails.  The audience is encouraged to join in, so bring your singing voices!

Hank Cramer is an international-touring musician based in eastern Washington.  He is best known for his booming bass voice, wry sense of humor, and smooth picking on vintage guitars and banjos.  His music spans many genres, from Celtic to cowboy. However, the stories of America’s westward migration are one of Hank’s special interests.




Bruce Berst                Dr. Dumas: Traveling Medicine Show

From the mid 1800's to the 1940's, one of the first forms of medicine to reach frontier America was the traveling Medicine Show. Part entertainment, part scam and quackery, these “shows" traveled the west with their miracle cures. The presenter will give you an example of what these shows were like, followed by a question and answer period.




John Davis                 The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County

During 1892, conflict and unrest between large and small cattlemen for the open range was at its height. Here in Wyoming, the focus was in Johnson County. Join us as noted author, John Davis, addresses the Johnson County War and gives an overview of the events surrounding the hostilities. He will also address the genesis and history of his writing of Wyoming Range War.




Bob King                    Iron Horse Trails – a Brief History of Wyoming’s Railroad

Due to the Union Pacific’s role in construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, UP was granted ownership of lands across almost 500 miles of what would become Laramie, Albany, Carbon, Sweetwater, and Uinta Counties in Wyoming. This land grant, resulting in what would be referred to as the “Checkerboard Lands,” has played a significant role in the growth and economy of Wyoming. 

Jerry Lucas                The Legend of Hiram Scott

Beyond being active in the fur trade, rendezvous, and the West, little much is known about Hiram Scott with any certainty. Today, Scotts Bluff National Monument is named for him and various perspectives and stories abound regarding his death. Join us as Jerry Lucas, associated with Scotts Bluff National Monument, looks back at the myths and legends surrounding Hiram Scott, and shares some insight and thoughts into his demise.




Jean Smart                 Smuggler’s Delight   

The journey west was a long and strenuous adventure for the pioneers. As a pioneer woman, many journals divulge into the mischief of smuggling items of importance into the wagon without others in the pioneer train even knowing. Join us as NHTIC volunteer Jean Smart shares some of these stories and keepsake items in this tempting tale!




Shawn Wade              Chief Washakie: Visionary Chief of the Shoshones

Join trails center Interpreter Shawn Wade as he recounts the life of Chief Washakie. This visionary leader led the Eastern Shoshones during one of the tribe’s greatest transitional periods.  Washakie was able to foresee that the lifeways of the Shoshones were changing. The tribe was faced with adaptation or extinction. Washakie worked closely with the whites but advocated for and protected the interests of his people. Statesman, diplomat, and warrior, Washakie is regarded as one of the greatest leaders in Native American history. Today, Washakie’s vision is remembered through several statues, one of which is at the National Capital building.




Bruce Berst                Weapons of Choice – The U.S. Army & Native Americans

As weapons changed, both in their design and practicality, the “taming of the West” became a task that was now accomplished with a reliable firearm. Join us as NHTIC volunteer and living historian Bruce Berst discusses the above issues as well as the corresponding impacts on the Indian Wars. 




Richard Kaan            Black Hills Stagecoach & Freight Wagon Routes

Using specific timelines, maps, and original photographs with satellite imagery, scholar Richard Kaan will focus on the political, cultural, economic and topographical issues affecting the Stagecoach and Freight Wagon Routes leading to the Black Hills from Cheyenne, WY and Sydney, NE.






Con Trumbull            Historic Steam Railroading

For 188 years, steam locomotives have been traversing American rails tying a large country together and creating the United States we know today. The men and women who worked on them were revered in songs and poetry almost as much as the steam giants themselves were. In this program, local historian ConTrumbull will explain what it takes to operate a historic steam railroad through photos, objects and stories. 




Rob Swanson             The Great Camel Corps Experiment

John B. Floyd, United States Secretary of War, 1859 had this to say regarding the Great Camel Corps Experiment. “The experiment thus far….demonstrate that camels constitute a most useful and economic means of transportation for men and supplies through the great desert and barren portions of our interior…An abundant supply of these animals would enable our Army to give greater and prompter protection to our frontiers.” Come and learn more about this mysterious experiment with the help of Trails Center employee Rob Swanson.




Jerry Lucas                A Journey’s End: The Story of Rebecca Winters and Her Grave

This is the story of Mormon pioneer Rebecca Winters, and her journey from New York, to Ohio, and Illinois, and her trek west on the Mormon pioneer trail. It is a story of the journey of the Mormon people and the effect her death had on a community. Join us as Jerry Lucas, associated with Scotts Bluff National Monument shares Rebecca’s story and the intriguing twists and turns linked with her story.




NPEA                         Spirited Riders

The Pony Express, more commonly just called the “Pony” caught the imagination of many when in existence, both young and old, and it still captures our imagination today. Although it lasted only a short time, the Pony is forever a part of history. Join National Pony Express Association Members as they share this remarkable story! Pony Express Rider, horse and Mochila will be on hand!




Lesley Gaunt             The Dating Game – Old West Style

Westward Expansion in the 19th century had an unexpected glitch - not many women traveled west originally. Women were considered a strong civilizing influence over men and the imbalance needed to be dealt with. So how did men, and women, seek a solution to the problem? Join National Park Service Ranger Lesley Gaunt, from Scotts Bluff National Monument, as she explores the early history mail order brides.




Jim Russell                 Mail to & from the West Coast: 1847-1869

Establishment of mail delivery to the West Coast was a very conflicting matter during an important period. Join us as NHTIC volunteer, Jim Russell, addresses the politics regarding mail delivery to the West Coast leading up to the Civil War and why it became a major issue for the Union when the Civil War started.    




Shawn and Daniel     Grand Council:  The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851

Join trails center volunteer Daniel Mattern and staff Interpreter Shawn Wade as they recount the historic Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. This pivotal treaty brought the largest ever gathering of Native Americans to the high plains for meetings with the United States Government in September of 1851. The treaty, intended to keep the plains Indians from warring with each other, contained provisions for the protection of westbound emigrants. Mattern and Wade’s program will feature both Native American and military perspectives. The “Grand Council” resulted in relative peace that lasted only a few short years.




Daniel Mattern          Roho Delgado: Military Soldier and Galvanized Yankee

After being captured at the Battle of Antietam in 1862, “Private” Delgado, a prisoner of war and Confederate soldier, was given the choice of staying put, or going out west as a “Galvanized Yankee” to protect the telegraph lines. Join us as NHTIC volunteer Daniel Mattern presents the life and times of Mr. Delgado as well as vivid, hands-on descriptions of his military uniform.




Mike Bardgett           Flora and Fauna of Independence Rock

As one of the most known and documented landmarks along the historic pioneer trails, Independence Rock can still be seen in its entire splendor. Join us as Mike Bardgett shares a brief description of the plants and animals observed at the Rock. Mike was a docent/maintenance technician who worked on site at Independence Rock for five seasons.




Kirsten Reynolds      Trouble on the Trail: Stories of Pioneer Women

Pioneer women faced incredible hardships while traveling west, forcing many to step up and be the driving force for their family’s survival and arrival to their final Western destination. Join trails center Interpretive Park Ranger Kirsten Reynolds as she highlights the experiences of some of these brave women, and the choices that confronted them while traveling the trail to their hopeful homestead.

Posted on: Thursday April 19, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

Other News:

  Patio Talks
Patio Talks are FREE to the public and start at 1:00 PM, unless otherwise noted.
  19th Century Flyfishing Originals
  Trails Center is now Casper’s Premier Visitors Center
The Trails Center now partners with the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to better help our guests with questions about our wonderful City of Casper and the surrounding areas. Come up and see us today!
  All types of visitors welcome!
Location is everything!

National Historic Trails
Interperative Center

1501 N. Poplar St
Casper, WY 82601

(307) 265-8030

Hours and Fees:

Tuesday — Sunday
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Always FREE Admission - to the Trails Center

Our Mission:

To enhance and maintain the interactive exhibits, dioramas and award-winning orientation movie at the National Historic Trails Center.

Find us online!


Closed on Federal Holidays. Open Independence Day and Memorial Day. Summer hours begin on Tuesday, May 29th. Open all summer from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Tuesday - Sunday.
Copyright © 2002-2018 National Historic Trails Center Foundation, all rights reserved. Click here to view our Privacy Policy.
Website lovingly handcrafted by