New museum, dinosaur skull, to be unveiled
Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson
People look at the displays inside of the H. Earl Clack Museum Thursday afternoon. At 3 p.m. Saturday, the museum will have its grand reopening since it's location moved in the Holiday Village Mall, and there will also be an unveiling of a skull cast of Stygi, a medium-sized plant eating dinosaur.
A new member of the family, so to speak, will join people during the grand opening of a new location for the H. Earl Clack Museum in Havre's Holiday Village Mall Saturday.
The museum manager, along withmembers of the county museum board and its funding foundation were working Thursday to prepare a casting of the skull of a stygimoloch the museum won in a contest last year, with a special guest to join others in the unveiling of Stygi, as the dinosaur casting is known.
H. Early Clack Museum Board Chair Judi Dritshulas said Gunner Wickum, who was in the museum constantly last summer to check on the Clack Museum's progress in the contest, will unveil the new display during the grand opening celebration.
"He would stop in several times a week to see how the contest was going, " Dritshulas said.
She said Wickum has since moved to Wyoming, but will be back in Havre this weekend and will be at the celebration to unveil Stygi, pronounced "STI-jee. "
"And I think that is so appropriate, so cool, " museum Manager John Bruington added.
The museum won a contest between the members of Montana's Dinosaur Trail, having a greater increase in the number of Dinosaur Trail passports sold and stamped during the 14-week contest than any of the other 13 museums on the trail.
Two other special guests will be at the grand opening, which includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.
Paleontologist Dave Trexler, of Dinosaur Trail member Two Medicine Museum at Bynum, and Victor Bjornberg, tourism development and education coordinator for the Montana Office of Tourism at the Montana Department of Commerce, will be at the grand opening, set to start at 3 p. m. outside of the museum's new location at the east end of the mall.
Dritshulas said the display is one of two with the stygimoloch skull casting, with the other at Two Medicine Museum.
She and Bruington both said they are very happy with the new location of the Clack Museum.
The county museum moved from its previous location, on the west end of the mall, so Big R Stores could expand.
Bruington said it took about a month to move the artifacts and set up new displays, and credited hours of volunteer work by all of the museum board members and others, including players and coaching staff from the Montana State University-Northern basketball team, with the smooth move.
"It couldn't have happened without these folks, " he said, adding that former Clack Museum Manager Antoinette "Toni" Hagener gave invaluable help, planning the layout of the displays.
But, "You couldn't single out anybody as more important, " he added.
The new space — actually with fewer square feet than the old location — has worked out very well, Dritshulas said
"We're really happy with this, " she said, "(It is a) good location, bright, everything's nice and clean, our time sequence is just the way we wanted it ...
"We're not a hundred percent yet, " she added, citing some work to be done including in lighting and on finishing touches for some of the displays.
Bruington said the new location also is working very well in hooking up with the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump archaeological site, which recently opened a new interpretive center just outside of the east end of the mall.
Dritshulas said that, although it is very pleased with the new space for the Clack Museum, the board still intends to, someday, try to obtain its own facility.
"That's still on the back burner. I never want to let go of that dream …, " Dritshulas said. "It's something to aim for. I think we would like our own building. "