It can be a long and complicated path to bringing a new museum exhibit to the public. The current art exhibit at the Lander Pioneer Museum is a good example of the many people it takes to create a first class display.
The display, “Native Americans of Wyoming’s Wind River Country,” is an exhibit of 30 of artist Joe Scheuerle’s watercolor portraits of Shoshone, Arapaho, Lakota and Crow people, many of them painted here on the Wind River Reservation in the 1920s.
On loan to the Lander Museum from the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana, the art is seldom seen outside of Montana and has never been exhibited in Wyoming before.
The Lander Museum staff became aware of the collection thanks to Lander businessman Reid Schell. Reid is the owner/operator of Handle With Care, an art moving company that works nationwide handling fine art. Schell has operated Handle with Care in Lander since 2001. “We’ve done a little over a quarter million miles of moving art,” he said. The business deals mainly with private collectors and museums nationwide, including with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of the American Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, the Denver Art Museum, and the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody.
Schell had worked with the Montana Historical Society and saw this art in their collection. He immediately thought it should be seen in the Wind River Basin. “Many of the paintings were created here in our valley and had never been seen by Wyoming people,” he said. “I thought we have a great museum that could display this work and wanted to see it happen.”
Schell contacted Randy Wise at the Lander Museum to get the ball rolling. He introduced Wise to the curator and exhibits manager in Montana and the process to get the art to Lander started.
Schell has been instrumental in helping the Pioneer Museum receive the art on loan and its transportation to and from Helena for our visitors to enjoy.