By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Ruth Olson Peters, former Santa Fe Trail Center museum director. will be the grand marshal for the 2012 Santa Fe Trail Days parade that starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I was very surprised and pleased to be asked to be grand marshal,” she said. “I’ve seen how the Larned Chamber of Commerce, businesses and Fort Larned are working hard to make it a big Santa Fe Trail Days weekend. They’ve done a good job promoting the event.”
She has been a part of the Santa Fe Trail Days celebration since the parade started.
“I have been involved since the first Santa Fe Trail Days,” she said. “It’s good they are focusing on the history of the Santa Fe Trail. I’ve seen it grow.”
Peters retired in January as director of the Santa Fe Trail Center museum, which is supervised by the Fort Larned Historical Society. Peters worked for five years at the Trail Center as the museum’s archivist in 1978. She served museum director for 28 years.
A few of the museum’s achievements that Peters considers high points of her 33 years include reaccreditation of the Santa Fe Trail Center by the American Association of Museums in 1985 and 2001. She helped direct the Rendezvous History seminars which were first developed in 1980. Peters served as coordinator of the biennial Rendezvous seminars since 1984. The Fort Larned National Historic Site, the Santa Fe Trail Association and the Trail Center were co-sponsors.
“It was my privilege to be a part of the activities of this museum for over three decades,” Peters said. “I am proud of our accomplishments.”
Peters served on the boards of numerous museum and historical organizations over the years.
Included are the Kansas Museums Association, the Mountain-Plains Museums Association (secretary), the Kansas State Historical Society (president), the Fort Larned Old Guard (treasurer) and the Santa Fe Trail Association (secretary/treasurer). She also served by appointment on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail Advisory Council.
She has been a member of the Larned Tourism Committee since its inception and is a past ex-officio member of the Larned Area Chamber of Commerce board representing the Tourism Committee.