June 1, 2019 ANNUAL MEETING CURATOR’S REPORT
I would like to take this time to report some of the things that happened here since last June.
Work on the buildings is ongoing. Last summer Bill & Sandy Jensen did some touch up painting on the Bert & Mamie Clark Gun Building, repaired & painted all of the outside benches. We had new light poles installed and changed the directions of some existing lights in an attempt to increase lighting in the parking lot. Diamond J. Construction put concrete all around Fort Keogh Officers Quarters which will help keep varmints and water from going under the building and made the entrances into the building ADH compliant.
We received a $16,700 grant from the Nibs & Edna Allen Foundation and a $25,000 anonymous donation to remodel the east side of the Officers’ Quarters. Aye Construction was able to work in there all winter and finish just before things got busy in April. They also enclosed our storage shed, finished the dormers on the Officers’ Quarters and put more screws in some of the tin roofs. JoElla Swanson painted the front dormer windows on the Officers’ Quarters. We feel the building is now ready to put new displays inside and next winter we hope to repair the other side. They also placed screen doors on the School House, Pioneer Home, Gun Room, Memorial Hall and the inside storage room.
We wish to thank Ben Beardsley and his crew from Custom Ag Fencing for putting up another section of the pipe fence for free. We have already put up 17 new brands since April. We had an additional windmill donated and now on display by the Charles Carter Family.
We had three emergencies this year. First it was found that when the cement was poured around the Officers’ Quarters, moisture was trapped under the building and it had to be dried out. Second, the heavy snow over the last 2 years (and maybe longer) caused some boards in the attic to break loose and the ceiling above the stage to bow down. Thankfully, it was spotted and repaired before the ceiling caved in. Number 3 faulty electrical problems were found and repaired in the Main Log Building.
Now for the more pleasant things. We ended 2018 with visitors from all 50 states and 34 foreign countries. The use of the Memorial Hall stays pretty steady and membership holds steady.
Some deep cleaning has taken place. During the winter, all the old photos were gathered and sorted by members of the board. With the help of the Montana Memory Project over the years these photos will be digitized and placed in the Montana Historical Library. We are very pleased to have Gary Coffrin digitizing these for us.
During this cleaning, many papers, articles etc. were found. Those were taken to the house and with the help of Leigh Rae Allison were sorted into, History, Business and Displays. They were put into plastic protective sheets, portfolios, then hanging files. They were alphabetized and placed in the file cabinets in the office. Now we have more research information available. Leigh Rae has also been helping with deep cleaning & repairing the displays. One was where it took 3 days of 2 people cleaning 186 ladies hats with paint brushes, tooth brushes and canned air.
In March we hosted the Montana Association of Museum’s Conference. It was a great success in spite of the cold, snowy weather. Jim Willson, Sharon Moore and I were asked to be presenters at certain workshops. The Museum was part of the progressive dinner, where we showcased the Tongue River Winery and the Scottish Dancers. We even opened up the Museum for the guests to look if they wanted to brave the cold, and many did. Then the Banquet was in our Memorial Hall, where Wally Badgett was the keynote speaker. For those of us who were able to attend some of the workshops, much information that if put into practice, will improve the operations of our Museum greatly. The problem is you can’t do it all at once.
During the winter, I was approached by Cherika Penrod who is an intern with a major in Environmental Education. We have set up a presentation in June on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, July – Lewis & Clark, September – the Indian Tribes of Montana. Her research on these subjects has shown things that are not usually included in other presentations I have attended. Keep a watch for dates, times and activities associated with these presentations.
We are continually thankful for all who donate items, time and financially to the Museum, and to all of our many volunteers.
Bunny Miller – Curator