In the Gallery:
She Served Too: Campbell County Women in World War II
The Rockpile Museum’s newest original exhibit, She Served Too: Campbell County Women in World War II, is now open to the public. Over three dozen women from Campbell County served in all branches of the military during the second World War and were stationed both at home and abroad. See authentic uniforms, recruitment videos, and incredible photographs while learning more about the military branches they served in and their contributions to the war effort.
About seventy percent of women who served in the military during World War II worked as typists, clerks, and mail sorters. By filling office jobs that would otherwise be held by men, women freed more men to fight. Women were not permitted to participate in armed conflict, but their duties often brought them close to the front lines. The women of Campbell County were no exception in this valiant effort. Their service ranged from supply clerks and pharmacist mates, to yeoman and flight nurses. They served in the WAC, WAVES, USMCWR, SPARS and Army Nurse Corps. Several served overseas and achieved high ranks. Learn more about women such as Mary Gayl Gibson who was the first local woman to enlist in the Coast Guard SPARS or Rachel Hemenway who was reported to be the first War Nurse from Campbell County. Make sure not to miss this exciting exhibit celebrating the women of Campbell County.
Back to Business
Now on Display in the Museum's Main Room
Limited communication methods in the earliest years of Campbell County meant that business owners needed to find innovative ways to market their establishments. From matchbooks and toy trucks to key rings and calendars, advertising methods have been creative and plentiful over the past century. Advertising is meant to persuade, and the themes and techniques that were used in advertising reveal a part of the nation's history.
Created in conjunction with the Smithsonian traveling exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” this display highlights the expansive and rapidly changing business history of Campbell County. Often following the boom and bust cycles of the region, a wide range of businesses have operated in Campbell County, including nearly 100 cafés and restaurants, more than four dozen hotels and motels, and a realm of grocers and gas stations.
Saddle and Leatherwork Exhibit
The horse played a critical role in the development of the western plains. Horses were essential for transportation, hunting, managing livestock, military protection, and pulling wagons, stagecoaches, and plows to work the land. The Campbell County Rockpile Museum has had a saddle collection since its opening in 1974. In addition to saddles owned by local cowboys, ranchers, and homesteaders, the collection includes saddles and other artifacts made by leather workers in Campbell County. Recently, this exhibit has been renovated and expanded. A saddle maker’s workbench outfitted with the essential tools used to build and repair saddles and harnesses is now on exhibit. A McClellan saddle representative of those used in this region by the U.S. Cavalry from the 1860s to the early 1900s is another recent addition. Other features include a Wyoming Centennial Saddle built by Matt Avery, a century-old stitching horse, a series of tooled squares showing the steps involved in creating a finished piece of tooled leather, videos illustrating the use of various leatherworking tools, and a history of Campbell County saddle makers. Come see the saddles and other leather artifacts that were an integral part of life for the early residents of our county.
Permanent Exhibits Slideshow
View the slides below to see the exhibits you'll encounter while visiting the Campbell County Rockpile Museum. You can watch the slideshow or hover over the picture to use the left and right arrows to browse through the images.
Women Coal Miners of the Powder River Basin
July - December 2013
On July 9th, 2013, the Campbell County Rockpile Museum opened an exhibition titled Women Coal Miners of the Powder River Basin. Featuring the photographs of Colorado artist Annalise Shingler, this exhibit told the story of a handful of women miners from Gillette and Campbell County that have made a life of digging coal. Here in the Powder River Basin, women have been employed at the coal mines since the mid-1970s. The percentage of female miners was initially very low, but increased as more and more large mines opened in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Most figures today state that women make up about 20 percent of all production crews in the coal mines of northeast Wyoming.
Some of the women in the exhibit are trailblazers that have worked for 30 or more years in mining while others are just beginning their careers. Others are from families with multiple generations working in the coal mines. With this exhibit, the Rockpile Museum hoped to shed some light on the hard work and sacrifice that these miners make to support their families and provide energy for our state and our nation.
This exhibit was generously supported by Pearls of the Prairie.
"Swing Back to the 70s”
at the Rockpile Museum
April and May 2014
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Rockpile Museum’s opening and we are celebrating with a series of events. During the months of April and May, the Rockpile Museum hosted a community-based exhibit showcasing local citizens’ memorabilia from the 1970s. This was a decade of change and contrasts. The exhibit will featured items specific to Gillette and Campbell County people, businesses, organizations, schools, and events as well as general items symbolic of this colorful decade.
Local Sports Exhibit
February - June 2015
Is Gillette a “sports-crazy” town as is often the perception around Wyoming? Do you know the history of athletics in our school system? Now is your chance to find out a little about sports in Campbell County as the museum is excited to announce an upcoming exhibition titled Camel Tradition. Utilizing the museum archives and collections, this exhibit will describe sports in this area from the early twentieth century to the championship boom of the last few decades.
Highlights include photos of early Camel teams, pictures and memorabilia from the 1958 and 1966 boys’ basketball championship teams, and old CCHS jerseys and equipment. Several former Camel athletes and coaches will be highlighted including John Mankin, Gwen Reed, Mike Curry, Ryun Williams, Alicia Craig Shay, John Chick, and Tyler Cox.
Camel Tradition will be on display until the end of May. Join in the “March Madness” and celebrate sports in Campbell County with the Rockpile Museum!
December 7, 2016 - March 31, 2017:
INFAMY: DECEMBER 7, 1941
Infamy: December 7, 1941, a traveling exhibit from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, features over 30 powerful images and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Visit the museum in March to learn about this tragic and historic day in our nation's history. The images are supplemented with a few local artifacts as well as a stirring video history from Wyoming resident and Pearl Harbor survivor, Melvin Heckman.
April and May 2017:
May 1 - October 6, 2018
Campbell County in the Great War
November 16, 2018 to January 19, 2019
In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Wyoming sent 7 percent of its population, 11,393 soldiers, off to war. Facing new advances in weaponry, including the use of chemical warfare, soldiers experienced what was then called the “war to end all wars.” The soldiers of Campbell County bravely enlisted, some as young as 16 years old.
These courageous soldiers not only faced war in the trenches but also fought against an influenza pandemic that killed more American military personnel than did enemy machine guns and artillery. On display at the Rockpile Museum until January 19, 2019, Campbell County in the Great War highlights several of the local young men that fought valiantly, providing brief insight into what they witnessed “over there.”
Dear Folks: Letters Home from WWII
February 26, 2019 to September 21, 2019
Dear Folks: Letters Home from WWII featured letters sent home by Campbell County soldiers during World War II. Not only did guests have the chance to read a variety of letters from Campbell County soldiers, they also had the unique opportunity to listen to a selection of letters being read by the descendants of these men. The men talked about life in the South Pacific, Europe, Asia, and much more.
The Rockpile Museum held an exclusive Exhibit Opening on February 26, 2019. The evening began with a short documentary, Dear Folks: The Making of an Exhibit, followed by a round-table discussion with the volunteers and family members who came together to create this powerful exhibit.