The Hill County Museum Board Monday heard updates on projects including work to stabilize and improve displays at the county-owned archaeological site north of the Holiday Village Mall.
Archaeologist John Brumley said work is progressing on new display housings at the Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump, with a request for bids expected to go out early next year and work to begin in the spring.
The county received $66,000 through the state Tourism Infrastructure Program to help fund that project.
Brumley said finding a new building to house an interpretive center for the site also is progressing. That could possibly be in a mobile trailer or in a used modular building.
Vice-Chair Judi Dritshulas, who chaired the meeting in the place of Chair Bud Baldwin, said a recent Christmas in the Museum event was a success.
Dritshulas said more than 100 people attended the celebration. She thanked H. Earl and Margaret Turner Memorial Museum manager John Gilbert and his wife, former museum manager Cheryl Gilbert, for their work on setting up the event.
The board also discussed the possibility of implementing a suggested donation to enter the museum. They looked over a research summary by John Gilbert which stated that of 178 museums in the state, 43 charge entry fees, with nine of those county museums.
John Gilbert warned that charging an entry for a county-owned entity could raise problems. He and his wife added that they have heard complaints about being charging county residents to enter a museum funded through county residents’ tax dollars.
Lanny Wilke, vice-chair of the museum funding foundation, warned of using anecdotal evidence to show opposition to charging for entry. Some people say that does not prove overall opposition, he said.
John Gilbert also reported that an updated display on the bootlegging era was ready to be put up, and asked the board members to start considering other displays that could be rotated through the museum. He would need time to be able to put displays together, and would need advance notice, John Gilbert said.
Board member Gary Wilson said he had contacted the descendants of the family that had helped operate the trading post at Fort Assinniboine while it operated south of where Havre was established. The family has numerous items from the fort at that time, and plans to start bringing them to be donated or loaned to the museum next summer, he said.