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Pioneer museum could be kick-off venue for government convention

Jun 9, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Officials are hoping to use the Fremont County Pioneer Museum to host a kick-off reception for the Wyoming Association of County Officers convention in September.

Specifically, the request is to use the knotty wood pine bar on display on the second story of the Lander facility.

Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett at the May 9 museums board meeting said more than 200 people from around the state are expected to attend the four-day convention, which begins Sept. 23. Bennett said he plans to be the bartender and wear imperial clothing.

Museum curator Connie Shannon said the bar is a consolidation from a much larger one built by Henry Hudson, Dan Fossy and Bird Hennessy 50 to 70 years ago. It used to be at the Avalon Bar, which was located at 238 Main St. in Lander near Grand Theater.

Having the reception at the museum, Bennett said, could be great exposure for the museum and provide donation opportunities.

"It would simply be drinks," Bennett said after concern was raised about having food inside the facility.

He said the plan is to have attendees meander through the museum, grab wine or beer at the bar and then move outside for food.

"We believe it's a tremendous opportunity to get people in the museum," Bennett said.

Commissioners, treasurers, clerks, attorneys, court clerks, coroners, assessors and sheriffs are scheduled to travel to Lander in the fall for the convention, which Fremont County will host this year and in 2014. Local officials have reserved 260 rooms at the Best Western the Inn at Lander, Holiday Inn Express, Pronghorn Lodge and Maverick Motel in Lander and at the Wind River Hotel and Casino in Riverton.

Commissioner Stephanie Kessler, who serves as liaison to the museums board, spoke of the need for a place to host large events after a fire destroyed the Lander Community Center in June 2012.

"It's very much a showcase event for the state," Kessler said.

Museums board chairman Tom Duncan said there are elements to consider, but the board is looking at how to accommodate the event.

"What no one wants is basically throwing some sort of a party in the museum, but rather an icebreaker and to showcase the museum," Bennett said. "This is not a party house, this is our museum."

Duncan said he has not come upon a policy prohibiting such an event.

"We'll see what we can do to accommodate," he said. "I expect we can have a response to you at the latest within a month."

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