Happenings in the Valley
(page 6 of 6)
FROM HARRIMAN TO HEMINGWAY
Local History at the Ski and Heritage Museum
Ketchum’s Forest Service Park, an enclosure of conifers and white gable barns, is best walked into when it’s snowing. Built in 1933, the park is home to The Ski and Heritage Museum, the consummate tenant for a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the whites of winter, when Sun Valley’s history kindles brightest, the Museum also lights up like a communal hearth by which stories are told and our past is shared.
“On April 3rd, 1989, a group of local citizens formed to get this whole thing started,” admired Jim Jaquet, referring to the grassroots formation of the Ketchum/Sun Valley Historical Society (KSVHS). “Then around 1993 the Forest Service outgrew its facilities in town,” recalled Jaquet, who also serves as treasurer for KSVHS. Hoping to protect the park, the City of Ketchum did a land trade for a site in the industrial park and wisely leased some of the buildings to the KSVHS, which had the interiors renovated for the creation of the museum. The rest, you could say, is regional history.
Split between two buildings and curating a total of eight collections—along with a wide variety of temporary exhibits—the museum outsizes its quaint exterior with plenty of space for attractive displays. Gold medal shrines, ancient ski equipment and vintage Sun Valley posters, to name a few, fill the ski museum galleries. Seasonal exhibits covering everything from the region’s Basque sheepherding history to the roles Ernest Hemingway and Averell Harriman played in Sun Valley keep the museum culturally evocative.
To keep the past relevant, the KSVHS stays active in the present, engaging the community on a regular basis. Last summer saw the birth of the weekly Sun Valley Tour, a free, historical bus tour guided personally by volunteers from the KSVHS. “We also have a newsletter that goes out monthly to the schools,” noted Betty Murphy, the organization’s past president, “which describes what we’re doing, invites them to visit us and keeps them up with what’s currently happening.” In February, the museum will host the third annual induction ceremony for its Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame, a function that last year drew over 300 attendees.
“We have such a unique history, which encompasses Ketchum’s mining history, the second phase of our economy with sheepherding, and now the resort,” said Jaquet, a former city administrator-turned-history buff. “I think it’s worth telling the story of why Ketchum and Sun Valley exist.” So, before returning to the harsh storms of the present this winter, let the Ski and Heritage museum warm your soul with a yarn from the past.
The Ski & Heritage Museum is located at 180 East 1st Street in Ketchum and is open Monday through Friday from 12-4 pm and Saturdays from 1-4 pm. Check out ksvhistoricalsociety.org for more information. -Alec Barfield