June 29, 2023 6:00 pm

From Hope Chests to Museums: How Women Saved the West

From hope chests to museums, and everything in-between, women played a crucial role in saving the West. This unique presentation focuses on how women were Originators, Caretakers, and Stewards, whose efforts helped retain important parts of history. We will see how the work of individuals has collectively resonated through the historical narrative. For example, Hattie M. Anderson and Jo Stewart Randel were the primary movers and driving forces behind the creation of historical societies which went on to establish prominent museums. Three generations of Trigg family women created, kept, and then donated letters, financial records, and ephemera from nearly a century of history on the Trigg Ranch. Grandmothers, like Juanita Wynne, passed beloved heirlooms, held within a variety of containers, to granddaughters who continue to tell their stories. The myriad ways knowledge was transferred from generation to generation were all subject to the guiding hands of dedicated women.

Born in Lubbock Texas, graduate of Plainview High School, Texas Tech University, West Texas A&M University, and resident of Amarillo and Canyon, Renea Dauntes is a bona fide Texan and proud daughter of the state’s famous Panhandle. Despite growing up disinterested in the region’s history, she has come to revel in the tales forged by the pioneers. As a result of her new-found respect for those who settled the region, she discovered an interesting pattern that revealed a surprising, yet consistent, source of historical narratives. Now serving as a research assistant and archivist for the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, she has been able to see the effects of how women in the west played integral parts in saving information and artifacts from the past and how they helped get that material to the present. This revelation led to the realization that she was a part of a long line of “keepers”. Armed with the knowledge that each person forms a link in the chain, from the past to the present, to the future, Renea spends much of her time advocating for personal and public archives by helping others see the importance of their own history.