AUTHOR TO DISCUSS “RACE AND THE WILD WEST” AND THE STORY OF SARAH BICKFORD AT WHC
Dr. Laura Arata, Assistant Professor of History at Oklahoma State University, will deliver a presentation on “Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, the Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870–1930,” at the Western Heritage Center on Thursday, June 16 from 12 – 1 pm. The program is part of the High Noon Lecture series and is free to attend. Arata specializes in public history and the history of race and gender in the American West. This program is sponsored by Gene and Ann-Marie Wade.
WHC Community Historian Lauren Hunley commented, “Dr. Arata’s work is really ground-breaking, and tells a fascinating story of a Sarah Bickford, who was born a slave, came West while still a teenager, and settled in the booming town of Virginia City, MT. Eventually, she inherited her husband’s shares of the Virginia City Water Company, and became the sole owner in 1917. In the last ten years of her life, Bickford actively preserved and promoted a historic Virginia City building best known as the site of the hanging of five men in 1864.” That building is still part of historic Virginia City. This is the first biography of Bickford and is an important addition to Black and Women’s history in the American West.
For those who cannot attend in person, this program also will be broadcast through Facebook Live on the WHC page (https://www.facebook.com/WesternHeritageCenter/), and will be available through Community7 public television (access through www.ywhc.org/museum-programs/lecture-series/).
The WHC is located on 2822 Montana Avenue, and is open Tues-Sat, 10 am – 5 pm, with admission fees of $5 or less. A ground floor, ADA-accessible entrance is located on the west side of the main entry stairs. The WHC now offers free admission for SNAP recipients through Museums for All, and free admission for active military & families through Blue Star Museums. Information on other discounts, accessibility, exhibits, and upcoming programs can be found at ywhc.org or by calling the WHC at (406) 256-6809.