By Tim Leeds 

Hill County Museum seeks new board member


The county museum board is short a member, and county government will start to look for a replacement.

Hill County Museum Board Chair Bud Baldwin said during the board's monthly meeting Monday that board member Sherm Ekness had submitted his resignation to Hill County commissioners.

The commission now will be advertising the opening and accepting applicants to fill the slot.

The board oversees county museum operations, including at the H. Earl and Margaret Turner Clack Memorial Museum in the Holiday Village Mall, and the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump archeological site behind the shopping mall.

A major job with which the board now is dealing is finding a site, and funding, for construction of a new building to house the museum. A recent study recommended the building be erected on land north of the Triangle Communications and Hill County Electric cooperatives' office buildings, just west of Havre and the Holiday Village.

One prime reason for the site selection in the study was its proximity to Wahkpa Chu'gn.

Elaine Morse, chair of the museum funding foundation, said the joint planning committee is doing some additional work to see what land would need to be acquired from the state to build the proposed museum.

She told Baldwin that a proposal looking at moving the museum from the Holiday Village back to the building that used to house it on the Great Northern Fairground has not been discussed much at recent planning committee meetings.

"I'm not sure that it's a hot topic as far as the committee goes, " she said.

She said some other items of interest include the golf tournament fundraiser, scheduled for Friday, Aug. 22, at Prairie Farms Golf Course north of Havre, and the foundation's annual meeting, set for Saturday, Oct. 22.

Local dramatist Martin Holt has again agreed to put on a performance at the meeting, this year with a play depicting a 1911 robbery of the First National Bank of Harlem.

Museum manager John Gilbert said May did not have record-setting attendance at the facility, but did well. He said the attendance for May was 438 people, just short of the average of 458.

The museum also is part of a contest for selling and stamping the most passports from Montana's Dinosaur Trail, with a monthly prize and a grand prize of a casting of a dinosaur skull.

Gilbert said he also built a new display for quilts, which now has a loaned quilt showing the county capitals of Montana on display.

Anna Brumley, manager of Wahkpa Chu'gn, said some electrical repairs have been completed at that site, including installing a replacement transformer that was anonymously donated.

She said work to replace a display at the archeological site has met a stumbling block, with the bid opening resulting in a $90,000 charge to build a new display and $21,000 to remove the old one and prepare the site. The grant for the project is $95,000.

Her husband, archeologist John Brumley, said they are exploring different options on how to reduce the cost of the project.

Anna Brumley said Medicine Hat artist Jim Marshall plans to be back July 7-8 to mount the last of the bricks on the mural at Boot Hill Plaza by U. S. Highway 2 en route to Holiday Village Mall.

The mural depicts Wahkpa Chu'gn, with engraved plaques sold to be mounted on the mural around the artwork and on the back.

If anyone wants to buy a plaque, they should do so soon to have the plaque mounted in July, Brumley said.


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