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Our View: Find a way to keep museum on track


April 16, 2014

The H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum has become a collection point for Havre and Hill County historical items and artifacts.

People have used it to find out their families and their histories. Folks can find out about interesting tidbits or major developments in Montana history.

It can give newcomers and and fifth-generation Hi-Liners interesting facts about life of yesteryear.

Since the museum has moved to Holiday Village Mall, it has become a place where people can walk in and have their questions on local history, from prehistoric to modern times, easily answered by a staff that is well-versed on the topic.

Now, a building in downtown Havre has been purchased to house the museum, and before long, there will be a refurbished museum with a good location in the heart of the city.

That’s why it is disturbing to learn the museum faces financial troubles and may have to cut back on hours and services that it provides to area residents.

The museum has always operated on a shoestring. It operates on a yearly budget of less than $20,000 and the work of a good many volunteers.

It’s sad the board has to consider cutting back just when we had hoped the services and hours could be increased.

There has got to be a solution to the museum and its travails, but if it were an easy solution, it would have already been discovered.

The biggest source of revenue is the Hill County government, and the courthouse has seen brighter fiscal days. We hope the county can come forward with some additional funds to help the museum.

State and federal grants have become harder to secure, but perhaps some money can come from Helena and Washington.

Private donors and foundations are also being stretched thin, but efforts can be made to get some money into the coffers that way.

We wish the museum board could spend more time working on historical projects and improving the breadth of displays at the museum instead of having to worry about raising funds to pay for every bill.

But in 2014 on the Hi-Line, the reality is there are more worthy projects than money available. We hope the community jumps on board and is willing to help out the efforts to maintain north-central Montana’s rich history.


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