January 14, 2014 |

Museum board names dino head, 'Chomper'

Discusses building plans, new board member

The H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum Board confirmed its name and the name of one of its newest exhibits — the mask of an albertosaurus head — during its monthly meeting Monday.

It also heard updates on the downtown building its funding foundation purchased to eventually house the museum, and the search for a new board member to take the place of Joel Fladstol, who has stepped down.

Board Chair Judi Dritshulas said the county commission will start advertising the position, with an application deadline of Feb. 6.

She also said the children at the Dinosaur Christmas event at the museum in December selected the name for the albertosaurus display. Dritshulas said museum manager Jim Spangelo, who could not attend Monday’s meeting, estimated 200 children attended the event and voted to name the dinosaur head “Chomper.”

The H. Earl and Margaret Turner Clack Memorial Museum Foundation purchased the casting of the dinosaur head, a close relative of Tyrannosaurus rex prominently displayed in the paleontology section of the county museum, from the the Fort Peck Field Station of Paleontology. That nonprofit went out of business after an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit which the South Dakota-based Black Hills Institute of Geological Research alleged Fort Peck Paleontology had illegally made unauthorized castings of fossils.

The Fort Peck institute’s property was sold in an auction last summer.

Chomper was named in a contest where children submitted names and then the children at Dinosaur Christmas voted on their favorite name.

Children have selected the names of several other exhibits in the museum, including Ducky, a display of locally found infant duck-billed lambeosaurus fossils, and Melvin, the 1/10th size casting of an infant maiasaura.

The board also, in its consideration of new bylaws for the county entity, confirmed its official name, which was taken in memory of pioneering Havre businessman H. Earl Clack.

Elaine Morse, president of the funding foundation of the museum, said many names have been used to refer to the museum, including using Hill County in the name to indicate it is a county entity.

The Hill County Commission approved creating the museum in 1965 to oversee and display local historical artifacts and to oversee the Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump archeological site.

Morse said in a previous meeting that the funding foundation includes Margaret Turner Clack in its name as a requirement from the Clack family.

Board member Gary Wilson said Monday that Margaret Turner Clack was very active in Havre society and was a strong supporter of community activities and improvement.

The board approved Monday using the official name, the H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum, in its bylaws while listing other names that have been associated with the museum.

Morse said members of the foundation toured the Griggs Printing building on the 0 Block of 5th Avenue, which the foundation purchased from Jim and Bonita Griggs to house the museum.

Part of the purchase agreement was to allow Griggs Printing to continue to operate in the building and to continue to lease space out of the building to groups now leasing it from the Griggs.

Morse said the foundation board worked on those lease agreements, and members took a look at the building, where cleaning already has started.

Morse said she thinks the foundation should hold off a bit to give the Griggs Printing staff time to do some more cleaning and marking of items before volunteers begin the lengthy process of cleaning, remodeling, and planning and setting up displays.

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