By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
As part of an effort to boost the number of visitors to the H. Earl Clack Museum, the county museum board will distribute thousands of brochures throughout north-central Montana and display banners in downtown Havre by early summer.
During a meeting Monday night, the H. Earl Clack Museum Board voted to spend $698 to purchase 12 banners, board president Ron VandenBoom said today. He added that the museum board also plans to purchase 15,000 brochures that will be distributed across the Hi-Line and between Great Falls and Canada.
"Hopefully it will entice tourists to stop at the museum and spend money in this community. That's always a goal," VandenBoom said.
Havre historic preservation officer Emily Mayer Lossing is designing the brochures, which she said will be distributed mostly in other museums. She said the brochures will include information about the H. Earl Clack Museum, the Heritage Center and the Wahkpa Chu'gn Bison Kill Site. The pamphlet will also list other tourist attractions in the area, such as Havre Beneath the Streets and Fort Assinniboine.
Mayer Lossing said she hopes to have the brochures printed and distributed by mid-May, in time for the tourist season.
The cost of the brochures is $1,900. VandenBoom and Mayer Lossing said they expect that Travel Montana, a state tourism development office, will likely pay for half of the cost of printing the brochures.
Travel Montana, part of the Montana Department of Commerce, divides the state into six regions. The Russell Country region covers 13 counties, including Hill County. Through Russell Country, nonprofit museums and other tourism entities can receive funding for projects designed to increase tourism, said Gayle Fisher, executive director of Russell Country.
One of the projects that is often funded is brochure printing, Fisher said.
"It's a way to help the communities within Russell Country," she said. "There are guidelines the organizations must meet. They must be a nonprofit and get bids in certain situations. The brochures must be on recycled paper, and the organizations cannot sell the publications."
If a brochure project meets the eligibility requirements, Russell Country can pay 50 percent of printing costs up to $2,500, Fisher said. The program has funded brochures for tourist attractions in Havre and the surrounding areas in the past.
"It's been very successful and popular," she added.
Mayer Lossing said she did not believe securing a funding match from Russell Country for the new H. Earl Clack Museum brochures will be a problem.
Four of the downtown banners advertising the H. Earl Clack Museum will be displayed along First Street at Third Avenue, VandenBoom said. Several others may be placed at Wahkpa Chu'gn, he added.
The rest will be kept in storage until they are needed to replace those that have faded or have been damaged. VandenBoom said he expects the life expectancy of a banner to be two or three years.
"With the Montana sun and wind, that's about what we expect them to last," he said.
The design for the banners has not been approved. The Planning and Goals Committee of the museum board will meet before the board's next meeting to generate some ideas for their design, VandenBoom said.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice and local business owner Bill Dritshulas have arranged to display a similar banner hanging across Third Avenue from the Masonic Temple to the Heritage Center, he said. That project will be sponsored by Rice and Dritshulas and will not use any tax dollars.
In other business Monday night, the museum board approved discontinuing a $500-a- month contribution to the H. Earl Clack Foundation. The money had previously been used by the foundation to offset the high cost of maintaining the Heritage Center, which the foundation manages. The contribution was discontinued because the foundation has been able tap interest from its endowment fund, which reached $274,000 after the museum board transferred $50,000 from its own endowment fund.