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Numbers down during pandemic at museum, buffalo jump


Last updated 9/15/2020 at 11:28am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Hill County Park Board Chair Lela Patera, back center, presides over Monday's meeting of the board in Havre Inn and Suites.

The H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum Board met Monday and discussed the drop in visitation the museum and Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump have experienced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changing the hours of operation at the museum.

Museum Manager Emily Mayer said numbers at the museum are way down compared to last year. 

"I wish I could give you a better report, but I just can't," she said. "Our numbers don't lie - we are way down."

Last year by this point 619 people had visited the museum and this year 139 have visited the museum, she said.

She said her numbers for the buffalo jump are skewed, but had 115 tours last year and only 14 this year, from the museum sign-in book.

"This whole thing has really severely affected our visitation and there really isn't anything we can do about it," Mayer said.

The museum in the last month has received good gift shop sales, though, she added.

  "We're cleaning and sanitizing at the end of each shift and our employees have worked out for the most part, maybe a few hiccups here and there, but overall I really don't think we have much room to complain," Mayer said. "I certainly would like to have more visitors, but it's understandable and I guess you have to deal with the hand we've been dealt."

Museum Board Chair Lela Patera said she doesn't anticipate any school tours to take place at the museum this year.

Around this time, she said, is when the museum hours change.

The new hours will be starting Wednesday with hours 1 to 4:30 p.m.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Prices were also changed and approved for the Buffalo Jump's next season.

Mayer said before it changed it was $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for ages 13 to 17, $5 for ages 6 to 12 and under 5 was free.

The new prices are for adults it is $15, for seniors it is $11, for ages 13 to 17 it is $9, ages 6 to 12 its is $5, free for children under 5 and $35 for a family.

The prices have not changed for school tours.

"We want to make it a money-maker because we got to keep ourselves and we got things that we have to be done over there to keep it up," Patera said. 

H. Earl and Margaret Turner Clack Memorial Museum Foundation President Elaine Morse said the foundation has new member.

Morse said Kirt Miller is the new member and has taken over the social media presence for the museum's and the buffalo jump.

The next museum board meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. at Havre Inn and Suites.


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