The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum presented Voices of the Valley with Bill Chaney, a local historian, about “Early Homesteading in Jackson Hole” on Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the history museum, 225 N. Cache. Chaney has done extensive research on the subject, particularly about people who obtained land through the Homestead Act and settled on what is now the National Elk Refuge.
Chaney gathered his wealth of knowledge through personal research spurred by his love of history, through friends with historical ties to the valley, and through his volunteer work for the both the National Elk Refuge and the Museum. Bill collects books and voraciously gathers any other information he can find about Jackson Hole. At the National Elk Refuge he helped sort papers and over 6,000 photographs—experiences which inspired him to research and write a history on original homesteads before the Refuge was established. One of Bill’s more ambitious museum projects, which took him nearly a year to complete, involved organizing six filing cabinets of primary resources materials by subject and, in addition, creating an invaluable index for future digitization.
Both the National Elk Refuge and the JHHSM benefit enormously from Chaney’s volunteer work. He generously gives programs for the JHHSM: on April 18th, he presented “Snapshots in Time”, a program about the Kelly Flood.