558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
Frank Morgan of Paulina, taken from a 1890s photo, courtesy of the High Desert Museum.
During the month of May, the Bowman Museum will be treating community members to a series of entertaining presentations, lectures, and productions.
Every Thursday evening, “May at the Museum” will feature a free series at the museum’s Community Room. The topics will range from “Buckaroos on the High Desert Rangeland” to “An Evening with Mozart,” featuring music from the Central Oregon Symphony.
Bowman Museum Director Gordon Gillespie commented that they had previously offered a lecture series called “Looking Back” for approximately 10 years, before the renovation project began on the Crook County History Center. It was temporarily put on hold, because of the many projects associated with the renovation.
“It was a real stretch for our organization,” said Gillespie of the expansion effort. He added that the new space offered by the Community Room has made upcoming events like May at the Museum a reality, because prior to the renovation, they would have to have them at either the Catholic Church Parrish Hall or the Crook County Library Broughton Room.
Kicking off the series in May is Bob Boyd, who will present, “Buckaroos on the High Desert Rangeland.” Boyd has been a public school teacher for more than 40 years, and currently teaches social studies at High Desert Middle School in the Bend. He recently retired after 25 years as the Curator of Western History at the High Desert Museum.
Boyd will share how California stockmen were driven north by restrictions on the open range and by droughts, and began to drive herds to northern Nevada and Eastern Oregon and establish ranches across the region. The late 1860s saw the beginnings of ranching and distinctive rangeland traditions on the High Desert that had their beginnings in Spanish Colonial Mexico and California.
The vaqueros who accompanied this movement brought with them their way of life, style of working cattle and training horses, together with their finely crafted gear of rawhide, silver, and leather.
“Across time, the aging vaqueros shared their ways and wisdom with young men from a wide variety of backgrounds, from Irish immigrants and Basques, to young horsemen from an array of tribes across the region,” said Boyd. “All adopted the old California traditions, but in the process began to Anglicize vaquero into buckaroo, a horseback way of life valued in the High Desert today.”
His presentation will tell the story of high desert buckaroos through a blend of stories from their past, images of their life and landscapes, and artifacts representing their culture.
Jeni Foster, who is the second presenter and entertainer for the May series, is a lecturer and vocalist who specializes in songs related to history and literature. She will be presenting, “My Grandfather’s Immigrant Eyes: Songs and History of Irish Emigration to America.”
Foster addresses the story of Irish immigrants coming to America, which is a story of struggle, perseverance, and triumph. She combines historical narrative with her extensive knowledge of traditional Irish music to create a complex portrait of an enduring people, including those who made a new life for themselves and those who stayed behind and struggled with the loss of their sons and daughters.
According to the biography on her website, “My specialty is combining songs with history and literature. It is a wonderful educational tool, which is surprisingly seldom used.”
In all of her programs, she includes songs that the audience can participate in by singing along on the choruses.
Freelance photographer James Lommasson will be addressing the trials of returning soldiers from the war on May 30, and the vast and complex issues associated with their homecoming. He will be presenting, “Life After War: Photography and Oral Histories of Coming Home.”
"When does a war end? Does it ever? Many returning soldiers bring wars back with them, and these wars can reach beyond the battlefield or firefight, infiltrating the very thing that defines comfort and safety: home,” commented Lommasson.
He compared these trials to those that often resonate with the tales of Odysseus’ journey back to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Also a photographer, Lommasson has collected oral histories from returning soldiers and documented their struggles at home.
“In this conversation, participants will consider the wars at home faced not only by returning veterans, but also by communities at large,” he added. “I will be sharing stories from my interviews with returning service members, my photographs, and photographs by soldiers taken while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. My intention is to create an environment that welcomes participation from those attending.”
Katrina Van Dis will speak about the increasing interest in the local food movement in general, and specifically in Central Oregon. After a brief history, she will discuss the benefits to individuals, families, and the local economy and what is needed to assure a strong continuing economic sector.
She is the Program Coordinator for Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, a board member for Central Oregon Food Policy Council, and brings more than a decade of experience in natural resource work to our Central Oregon community. Her early years were spent growing up on a cherry farm in Eastern Oregon and selling cherries on the side of the road to fund her college tuition. Her passion for developing successful opportunities for agricultural producers stems from her youth, her personal desire to increase viable opportunities for businesses, providing methods for producers to increase their profitability, and bridging communication and understanding between government and private business.
“Central Oregon has a rich history in the agricultural sector,” noted Van Dis. “The region was once dependent on subsistence farming. Overt time commercial crop production provided a more stable income but a monoculture of products.”
She added that the current generation of farming is moving back to diversifying crop production, and focusing on the growth of heritage crops and animals.
Concluding the month-long entertainment possibilities is “An Evening With Mozart,” featuring the Central Oregon Symphony, “Music in Public Places.”
A string quartet comprised of Central Oregon Symphony musicians will be performing 3 Divertimenti by Mozart, k136, k137, and k138. The musicians include violinists Sarah Ruzicka and Megan Pratt, cellist Travis Allen and Leslie Knight on viola.
“The performance is a Central Oregon Symphony Association program called “Music in Public Places” that strives to bring music to the greater Central Oregon community,” commented Executive Director for the Central Oregon Symphony Association Cassie Walling. “It is our way to support our musicians, and make arts and culture accessible. “Music in Public Places” is meant to be entertaining as well as educational. COS musicians explain the music they are playing as well as the instruments they are playing on.”
May at the Museum
The series includes:
May 2: Buckaroos on the High Desert Rangeland, with Bob Boyd
May 9: My Grandfather’s Immigration Eyes: Songs and History of Irish Emigration to America, by Jeni Foster.
May 16: Life After War: Photography and Oral Histories of Coming Home, by James Lommasson.
May 23: Locally-grown Food and You, by Katrina Van Dis.
May 30: An Evening With Mozart, by the string quartet comprised of Central Oregon Symphony musicians, performing 3 Divertimenti by Mozart, k136, k137, and k138.
For more information about the May at the Museum series, call Gordon Gillespie at 541-447-3715.