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Wahkpa Chu'gn, Wildlife Museum on television, Hands on History a success

The H. Earl Clack Museum Board this week heard updates on events completed, work being done, work being planned and a local attraction being featured this month on public television.

Anna Brumley, manager of the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump archaeological site the board oversees, said at the board's monthly meeting Monday that the crew of Montana Public Broadcasting System's "Backroads of Montana" was at the site May 4 filming footage to be used in an upcoming broadcast.

"They were there for four-and-a-half hours," Brumley said.

William Marcus, host of "Backroads of Montana," told the Havre Daily News that the footage will be used in two introductory segments for the production that will air May 20 on PBS.

Brumley said other work on the bison kill site has been completed, with more in the works.

A new roof has been installed on the interpretive center at the site, which was completed and opened last fall. Brumley said work to excavate one of the displays in the site itself, the processing center, also is completed.

The site suffered water damage and, under the supervision of Clack Museum Curator of Archeology John Brumley, husband of Anna Brumley, excavations were completed and work was done to prevent future water damage.

Anna Brumley said during Monday's meeting that the excavation found complexes from three occupations for the site, used by Native Americans from more than 2,000 years ago to about 600 years ago, including one for which sparse evidence had previously been found at Wahkpa Chu'gn.

Along with complexes showing the Saddle Butte and Besant cultures, a distinct Avonlea complex was uncovered, Brumley said.

"So they were pretty happy about that," she said.

Other work, to remove an exhibit building that has suffered extensive damage over the years and to make improvements including repairing or replacing the hand rail on the steps at the site, have been completed or are planned, Brumley said.

The group also heard an update on the annual Hands on History fundraiser for the Clack Museum funding foundation. The foundation's board chair, Elaine Morse, said the latest tally on the event is just short of $10,000 raised — slightly more than the 2012 Hands on History, but significantly more than in years prior to that.

Morse said the foundation board also is continuing the planning process on its annual night-time golf tournament fundraiser.

Board member Raela Hulett reported on the annual meeting of the Montana Dinosaur Trail association, hosted by Rudyard's Depot Museum with the Clack Museum co-hosting the event in Havre.

Hulett said the meeting was very productive, and that the representatives of the different museums on the trail shared ideas on how the different entities could support each other.

She said the focus at the moment is enlarging the Dinosaur Trail's presence in social media.

The Dinosaur Trail association will be expanding its presence on Facebook, with links to existing Facebook pages from each of the members of the trail.


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