A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

The Lander Pioneer Museum just opened a new jewelry display in the museum lobby. Mattie Ellan Darlington was a Lander woman who ran a local beauty shop and was a prolific jewelry maker. Dozens of her original handmade necklaces, ear rings, pins, bracelets and other pieces are on exhibit through the spring.

Between the 5th – 15th century glass manufacturing was widespread in France.

Glass based imitation precious stones appeared in the 13th century in Italy and are shared with the French by the 16th century.

In the 16th century French and Italian artisans developed new colors of glass beads. Now bead colors imitated green emeralds, red rubies, clear quartz, blue lapis lazuli and other precious stones.

By the 17th century beadwork was a fashionable exercise embarked upon by European ladies.

In North America, Spaniards were trading beads with New Mexico Native Americans by the 1500s, and later northern explorers used beads as trade goods with Native American peoples across the country.

Original Native American trade beads where large and used mainly for necklaces. Native American artisans swayed the American bead market towards smaller beads when they realized all their possible decorative uses.

By the late 1930s beadwork in North America was firmly associated with Native American artisans however, in Europe at that time beads regained their popularity for use in women’s costume jewelry as well as haute couture fashions.

This collection by Mattie Ellan Darlington represents her personal cultural influences and talents in her art as a beadworker.

Born in Byers,Texas, by the 1930s she was in Lander where she married Elmer Darlington.

Inspired by nature and her community each of these pieces is an original design using mastered techniques.

Mattie’s diverse work represents both European and Native American decorative design and reflects the mixed cultural influences she would have grown up with in western North America.

This collection and photograph was donated to the Fremont County Pioneer Museum by the grandchildren of Mattie Ellan Darlington.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

February 7, 7pm at the Dubois Museum, “Bats in the Wind River Range”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

February 7, 6:30pm at the Riverton Museum, “ICCE Archaeology with Todd Guenther”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

February 8, 6pm “What are Those White Lights in the Winter Sky”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

February 9, 6pm at the Riverton Museum, “Murder Mystery Event”

February 16, 4-6pm at the Pioneer Museum, “For the Love of Water, Now and Then” Exhibit Opening

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last three and half years. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.