Martin's Cove; Rustic Mormon Trail musuem
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MARTIN'S COVE, Wyo. The Martin's Cove Visitors Center, operated by the Church in south-central Wyoming, has a new attraction with the opening of the Peoples of the Sweetwater Museum May 20.
The two-room museum is housed inside an 18-by-30 log cabin that was moved to the visitors center compound from a ranch about eight miles to the south. On display are artifacts from people associated with the area including Native Americans; travelers along the Mormon, Oregon and California trails; and settlers. Many of the artifacts were donated by the Sun family, who occupied the ranch from 1872 until the Church bought it in 1996. It is now the visitors center complex.
The visitors center is flourishing in spite of its isolated location, around 60 miles from the nearest communities, Casper and Rawlins. Church groups and individuals, as well as travelers in general, stop in to hear the story and feel the spirit of the area where the Edward Martin handcart company sought refuge from a severe, early-season snowstorm in the fall of 1856.
Some of the artifacts in the museum were picked up along the transcontinental trail that passed through the area. They include tools, weapons, cooking utensils and pieces of handcarts and wagons. There are also arrowheads and Native American crafts. Historic photographs and other miscellaneous items germane to the area round out the collection.
The structure housing the museum is rustic in nature; its interior is pleasant for viewing the artifacts. There is special lighting, attractive display cases and recorded background music.
Presiding over the ceremonies and cutting the ribbon for the opening of the museum was Elder Lynn Rosenvall, an Area Authority Seventy whose pioneer ancestors settled in Calgary, Alberta, where he now lives. In his remarks he said that many members of the Church, wherever their pioneer ancestors ended up settling, can trace their story "back to this same spot."
During the event, the many people senior missionaries and others who helped make the museum possible were honored. About 300 people attended the opening. They included missionary couples, former missionaries, and members of the Casper Wyoming and Riverton Wyoming stakes.
Adelaide Sun Reinholtz, representing the Sun family, spoke and thanked the Church for preserving the Sun Ranch in a way her family never could.The new museum joins the main visitors center building (formerly the ranch house), a small chapel, a barn used for large assemblies and other buildings that make up the complex. It is located just more than a mile from Martin's Cove. Visitors can pull a handcart or just walk from the center to the cove. Water and rest rooms are available, but food is not.