The H. Earl Clack Museum Board talked Monday about making some changes and bringing new events to the museum and the archaeological bison kill site it manages.
Board Chair Judi Dritshulas appointed a committee to look at condensing and modernizing the gift shop at the museum to open space for a rotating display, “Gramma’s Attic.”
She said the idea is to have people loan historical items to the museum for a month to be put in a display, then to return the items to the owners and set up the next display.
She said some people already have asked her about loaning items for display and having a permanent rotating exhibit could bring many other offers.
The gift shop now has many items that likely could be removed, opening up space.
Board member Gary Wilson said many items displayed for sale are out of date, or expensive, of little interest, or a mixture of those.
“We’ve got to purge some of those things,” she said.
Elaine Morse, chair of the museum funding foundation board, said the rotating displays could be a good draw to the county museum.
“It gives people a reason to come back,” she said.
Dritshulas said a new program she wants to start was the suggestion of museum employee Jim Spangelo, inspired by her portrayal of Helen Turner Clack, wife of H. Earl, during the Living History event June 1.
Dritshulas said she was pleased with the event, especially with the stories about Helen Turner Clack shared by people who came to the teas, served in the museum in the Holiday Village Mall during Living History.
She said she wants to work on Spangelo’s suggestion to bring in actors portraying other historical figures to talk to people at events in the museum.
Dritshulas said it could tie in with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Montana, with depictions of other famous historical Havre women.
Morse suggested it also could tie in with other local attractions, with someone portraying Havre businessman C.W. “Shorty” Young in connection with Havre Beneath the Streets, and someone portraying Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing, who served at Fort Assinniboine south of where Havre would be established before serving in the Spanish American War and become supreme Allied Commander during World War I.
Dritshulas gave an update of an event planned for the summer solstice June 21 at Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump archaeological site behind the Holiday Village.
She said John and Anna Brumley, the archaeologist and manager of the site, respectively, are contacting some local Native American tribes to find people to conduct a traditional ceremony at the site that morning.
It will be a very solemn religious event taking about two hours, Dritshulas said, and people who attend will have to be quiet and respectful, and no photography will be allowed during the religious ceremony. Afterward, refreshments will be served in John and Anna Brumley Interpretive Center, she said.
Morse also gave an update on a grant to repair the roof of the Faber School, a one-room rural school from the Bear Paw Mountains that has been relocated at the Great Northern Fairgrounds.
The $4,000 grant from the Montana History Foundation was made possible through a donation by photographer Charlotte Caldwell, author of “Visions and Voices: Montana’s One-Room Schoolhouses” and other donors, Morse read from the award letter from the Montana History Foundation.
Dritshulas said the schoolhouse and the homesteader shack on the fairgrounds again will be open on the Saturday during this year’s Great Northern Fair, and that volunteers for a cleaning party the week before and to staff the buildings that day, July 21, will be needed.