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2/6/2012 8:01:00 AM
Montezuma Castle to host program in observance of Arizona's Centennial

A celebratory gathering in honor of Arizona's 100 years of statehood will be held Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Montezuma Castle National Monument, Camp Verde.

The program, with a theme of "Why History Matters!" will focus on research, science, history, and the special people whose contributions helped document the nation's 48th state, up to 1912. The event is in partnership with the Camp Verde Historical Society and is free of charge.

Michael Amundson, professor of history at Northern Arizona University, will talk about the "incorporation of Arizona" during Arizona's long road from territory to statehood. Amundson teaches courses on the history of the American West and the Southwest, and is the author of two books on the Atomic West.

David Wilcox, senior research anthropologist for the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, will discuss the significance of science and research to the Arizona region, from the late 1500s to present. Wilcox, a graduate of the University of Arizona, specializes in the archeology and history of the Southwest, and has published over 60 papers, monographs, and books during his extensive career.

Steve Ayers, president of the Camp Verde Historical Society, will discuss Camp Verde and the Verde Valley during the early 1900s. A reporter with the Camp Verde Bugle, Ayers specializes in feature articles that highlight the area's history and culture. In cooperation with the Camp Verde Historical Society, he recently published a book on the history of Camp Verde. Following the talk by Ayers, members of the community will be invited to share any stories or memories they have of a past Arizona.

The program is in memory of the late Dr. James Byrkit, historian and native of Clarkdale. Byrkit was an instructor in the Southwest Studies program of NAU, and dedicated his career to researching and publishing books and articles on the history of Arizona.

All National Parks and Monuments in Arizona will have free admission on Feb. 14. Call (928) 567-3322, ext. 0.

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