2024 National Fur Trade Symposium

National Fur Trade Symposium
1824 The Eve of Rendezvous
at the Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale, Wyoming
A Bicentennial Event: September 12-15, 2024

Quick Links:
Presentations & Speakers; Schedule; Registration; Lodging; Proceedings; Keep in Touch; History
Mountain Man Camp; Rendezvous Dinner; Rendezvous Grounds; Auto Tours; Exhibits; Business Meeting

In the spring of 1824, a small group of trappers entered the Green River Valley, where they found an abundance of beaver and friendly Shoshone willing to trade. The following year supplies were brought from St. Louis and the first rendezvous was held, launching the rendezvous era of the Rocky Mountain fur trade.  Meet us on the Green where the rendezvous era began and six of the sixteen rendezvous were held to celebrate the bicentennial of the “eve of rendezvous.”

Presentations & Speakers

  • Banquet Keynote – A Swirling Mass of Humanity: Migration, Exploration and Trade before the Rendezvous
    by Jim Hanson
  • The 1823-1824 Enterprise of Jedediah Smith’s Fur Brigade:
    The Arikara Aftermath, Apsáalooke/Absaroka Crow Encounters, and the Rediscovery of South Pass
            by Jay H. Buckley & Stephen V. Banks
  • The Evolution of Rendezvous
            by Jim Hardee
  • Who Led the First Trappers Across South Pass in 1824, Thomas Fitzpatrick or Jedediah Smith?
            by Clay Landry
  • John Henry Weber’s Trappers Explore Green River and Beyond
            by Jerry Enzler
  • Andrew Henry
            by Mark Kelly
  • William Clark:  Tripod Stool Geographer
    How John Colter found the Headwaters of the Green River and Clark Lost Them
            by Sheri Wysong
  • The Use of Elk Hide Tipis
            by Brad Bailey
  • Booze of the Fur Trade
            by Bill Gwaltney
  • Feast and Famine: Dining With The Mountaineers
            by Doyle Reid
  • Mountain Man Hall of Fame: Who was the Greatest of All Time?
            Panel Discussion

Special Programs & Exhibits

Mountain Man Living History Camp in partnership with the American Mountain Men.
The camp will be setup every evening Thursday, Friday and Saturday (5pm to 9pm) on the large lawn at the Museum for guests to visit and learn about camp and gear from the mountain man. Thursday & Saturday evenings the camp will be separated into subject areas that guests can visit to listen to discussions and ask questions about the daily lives of the mountain men. Friday evening, the AMM will host a rendezvous dinner.

AMM members attending the Symposium are welcome to be part of the mountain man camp and camp overnight and the weekend, but must use only pre-1840s equipment.

American Mountain Men camp at the Museum of the Mountain Man

Rendezvous Dinner at Mountain Man Camp

The AMM will host dinner around the campfire in a series of messes (5 to 10) each around a campfire with at least one host and up to 20 guests.  Each mess will be cooking a different period food and brave individual can have a taste.  There will be no formal presentations, but hosts will be prepared to talk about food, cooking and daily lives in general.

Catered Food – The main meal will be based around smoked buffalo and side dishes prepared away from the camp and brought to fire side for serving with period authentic plates, cups and utensils.  Guest are invited to enjoy their meal seated around the fire.

Alternative to messes – For those who do not want to sit around campfire to eat, tables and chairs will be setup on the small lawn adjacent to the camp to eat and guest can then join the camp when done.  This will be the same main meal. Tasting of period food would be at the campfires.

Bad weather alternative – If too windy or wet weather, the same meal will be served in the pavilion with tables and chairs.

Roasting buffalo hump ribs on the Green River Rendezvous Grounds

Rendezvous Grounds Session

Guests are invited to a special Saturday morning session at DeSmet Monument overlooking the historic rendezvous ground to listen to the significant stories that happened on this spot during the 1833, 1835, 1836, 1837, 1839, & 1840 rendezvous.  The two-hour session will feature a series of short presentations by different speakers to talk about each rendezvous. Chairs, bathrooms and a speaker system will be setup on site. There is plenty of parking and good roads for guest to make the 20-minute trip to the site in their own vehicles. This special on-site event is open to the public. The session is timed in the morning to try and avoid afternoon winds/storms.  But, the bad weather alternative is to hold the same presentations in the Pinedale Library and invite guest to visit Trappers Point or DeSmet Monument on their own at another time.

Green River Rendezvous Grounds – Confluence of Horse Creek (foreground) and Green River

Auto Tours

A series of guided and self-guided auto tours from various directions will be developed for people to join on their way to Pinedale as if they are on the road to rendezvous.  These will be during the day on Thursday coming to Pinedale and the same tours in reverse leaving Pinedale on Sunday.  Using you own vehicle a series of stops will be developed for guests to hear the guide tell fur trade history that happened at those sites. Guest will all meet at a designated starting point and time.  A map of all stops and itinerary will be distributed in case anyone gets separated. Bathroom stops will be arranged, but guest should bring along their own snacks, drinks and supplies.  The guided tours are free, but an email reservation request will be sent to all registered symposium attendees in late August to help manage logistics.

Each tour will also be made into a self-guided booklet that can be download and printed from the symposium website for people wanting to travel on their own or take tours at a different time.  These will be permanently available for anyone to use. 

The Naming of Horse Creek by Tim Tanner

Artist Tim Tanner is creating an original painting depicting the story of Thomas Fitzpatrick and his small band of trappers having their horses stolen in the spring of 1824 on what has since been known as Horse Creek.  This will be unveiled during the opening Symposium session, on display throughout the Symposium and will a permanent part of the Museum of the Mountain Man collection.

One With the Land Art Exhibit

The lower gallery of the Museum of the Mountain Man will feature over 70 original pieces of mountain man art by more than 35 contemporary artists through the summer of 2024.  Guests are invited to a reception and viewing on Thursday (September 12, 2024) evening of the Symposium, or stop by anytime the Museum is open.  The art will be on display May through October, 2024. All of the art work is on loan from the Peterson Family Collection.

Headed to Rendezvous by Charles Fritz

Business Meeting – Bicentennial Discussion The main purpose of the business meeting is to formally recognize Fort Union Trading Post NHS as the location of the next National Fur Trade Symposium, September 20-23, 2028 to celebrate the bicentennial of the fort. There will also be discussions on potential coordination of marketing of bicentennial events, especially at rendezvous and fur trade sites over the next two decades.

Symposium Schedule – September 12-15, 2024. Four-day event with presentations on Friday & Saturday at the Pinedale Library, auto tours on Thursday & Sunday, and special evening programs with dinner on Thursday, Friday & Saturday.  Audience of about 200 expected composed of mostly fur trade enthusiasts.  Programs held at Pinedale Library and Museum of the Mountain Man. 
See Symposium Schedule (updated May 27, 2024) for detailed times and to print.

Registration – Early registration is now available either by printed form or online. Registration is $200 ($225 after August 1, 2024) and will include all presentations, special programs, meals (lunch Friday & Saturday, dinner Thursday, Friday & Saturday), auto tours, and printed copy of proceedings. Library sessions are space limited, but ala carte options for given sessions will be made available at a later date if space permits. We are working on options to purchase ala carte evening meals at the museum. Check back here for updates.

Lodging is paid separate directly to establishments, but Symposium block discounts have been arranged with some hotels. See Lodging Chart for details (updated Jan 31, 2024).

Symposium Proceedings – An official proceedings will be developed after the Symposium and mailed to all registered attendees. Programs will be filmed and excerpts or full video will be posted on the internet.

Museum of the Mountain Man

Keep in Touch

Email symposium@mmmuseum.com to be added to email list.
Latest information and updates posted on this page – MuseumoftheMountainMan.com/symposium2024

For updates and other information also see
facebook.com/museumofthemountainman
youtube.com/museumofthemountainman

National Fur Trade Symposium History

1987 – Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming
1988 – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, Colorado
1989 – Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, Missouri
1990 – Fort Union Trading Post Historical Site, Williston, North Dakota
1992 – Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale, Wyoming
1997 – Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale, Wyoming
2000 – Fort Union Trading Post Historical Site, Williston, North Dakota
2003 – Historic Old Fort Benton, Fort Benton, Montana
2006 – Museum of the Fur Trade, Chadron, Nebraska
2009 – Fort Whoop-up National Historic Site, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
2010 – Three Forks Area Historical Society, Three Forks, Montana
2012 – Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale, Wyoming
2015 – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, La Junta, Colorado
2018 – Northern Plains, Bismarck, North Dakota

Future National Fur Trade Symposium

2024 (September 12-15)- Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale, Wyoming
2028 (September 20-23) – Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Williston, North Dakota

Museum of the Mountain Man