Saturday, September 29, 2018

A case of benign neglect...

by Larry Miller

...and perhaps it was not so benign.

As a kid running around Chadron in the 1950's, I remember when the Charles Hanson family moved to Chadron.  Not the exact date, but I remember playing sandlot football not far from the Hanson home on Chadron Avenue.   Later I learned that Charles Hanson had something to do with a museum that was being established a couple of miles east of Chadron.

As an East Ward elementary student in the early 1950s, our class took a field trip to the museum.  Their wasn't much there – at least in my young eyes – for several years.

After a year or so of college and a stint with Uncle Sam in the 1960s, my curiosity about other aspects of life began to unfold.  But day-to-day activities of finishing college and trying to eke out a living for a young family kept me oblivious to local history and the emerging Museum of the Fur Trade.

For a couple of years, my job in nearby Hay Springs even took me right by the museum almost every weekday.  It still didn't register, and I was a History major!  

Since leaving Chadron in 1969 – until retiring in 2005 –  I remained oblivious to the Museum of the Fur Trade.  Then, two years ago – in 2016 – my brother John was visiting from California and wanted to see the museum.  We did, and my awareness and views regarding the Museum of the Fur Trade changed considerably.  Unfortunately, my half century of "benign neglect" robbed me of many years of enjoyment and enlightenment regarding the rich history of our region.

If you're not familiar with the Museum of the Fur Trade, I hope you'll watch this video and examine their website.  Better yet, plan a visit to this wonderful treasure!