The H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum Board Monday heard about the progress on setting this year’s Hands on History fundraiser, a popular annual event held by the museum’s funding foundation.
Anna Brumley, manager of Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump, the county archaeological and tourism site also supported by the foundation, said Hands on History will be Saturday, April 21.
At the event, children purchase tickets to use at different interactive events.
Brumley said organizers have up to 40 events planned, but it may have to be scaled back because there were not enough volunteers to staff the 32 events at last year’s event.
The key now is finding sponsors for the event, which is from where most of the profits from the event come, she said.
“If any of you know people in the business community and would like to take a letter around and ask for sponsorship, because that’s really where we make the money is from our sponsors, not from the day itself, contact me or any of the board members, ” Brumley said.
Judi Dritshulas, chair of the museum board and a member of the foundation board, said she is in contact with Great Northern Fairgrounds manager Tim Solomon on a couple of issues.
One is renting additional space on the fairground, to store museum items in the building that used to house the museum before it first moved to the old U. S. post office on 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue and then to the mall. Dritshulas said she understands that the museum could not rent the entire space, as it also is used for other events during the summer, but that Solomon will bring the idea before the fair board.
Board member Gary Wilson said some museum material still is kept in the storage area of the building, so expanding that makes sense.
“It would be perfect, ” he said.
Dritshulas said another issue being discussed is the museum foundation setting up a food booth at the Great Northern Fair as a fundraiser.
Brumley said more sales have been made in the fundraiser Wahkpa Chu’gn mural erected at Boot Hill Plaza on the hill en route to the Holiday Village, which houses the museum and is in front of the archaeological site. Another $500 engraved plate, and a $250 plate, have been sold to mount on the mural, crafted and constructed by Medicine Hat artist Jim Marshall.
She said people have made inquiries about donating money for the erection of a flagpole, bench or tree at the park planned for construction around the mural.
Each member of the foundation board at its last meeting donated $100 toward purchase of a bench at the park, Dritshulas said.
John Bruington, manager of the museum, said he needed hours set for the summer operation of the museum and approval to use some new photographs for a brochure being put out by the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce.
Bruington said the brochure will be distributed for two years, so he needed some definite hours and location of the museum. He added that Chamber Executive Director Debbie Vandeberg has been very helpful, giving extra time to get the information to the Chamber.
He said he would like to find some different photographs to use in the brochure, particularly to highlight the dinosaur displays, which are a favorite among visitors, especially younger museum-goers.
After a discussion of what summer hours should be used, including to work closely with Wahkpa Chu’gn behind the mall, the board approved setting the hours from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.
Bruington said he expects the museum and archaeological site can work closely together to promote each other’s attractions.
Dritshulas said there is no new news on the chance that the museum may be moving to another location.
The musuem board is looking into a new location, possibly to another area in the mall.
Anna Brumley gave an update on the interpretive center going up at Wahkpa Chu’gn. The building, constructed by the YouthBuild program hosted at Montana State University-Northern, is up at the site with the YouthBuild students planning, weather permitting, to roof the building Feb. 21. She said Lotton Construction has put out a bid to have the electrical work completed at the building, and work has begun moving and completing displays into the building.
Bruington gave a report of visitors to the mall from 2005 on. The museum’s highest visitation comes over the summer, from June through August, with the most visitors recorded in August 2007 with 1,341 people coming into the spot that month.
The winter and spring months range from a low of 229 visitors in January 2009 to 876 people in December 2005.
Last year saw a considerable increase in the summer from the amount in 2010, with 1,018 visitors in July and 1,099 in August.
“Your average attendance, overall, is going up over the last few years, ” Bruington said. “So we’re doing something right, and we've got something to celebrate. ”