In the afterglow of Canada’s Centennial celebrations, Saskatchewan communities began their preparations for Homecoming ’71. In the Cut Knife area, fundraising was focused on the Clayton McLain Memorial Museum and the World’s Largest Tomahawk. Bingos and walk-a-thons, in combination with government Homecoming grants, resulted in the successful funding of these two projects. The Town of Cut Knife donated the land.
The first building to be relocated to the new museum site was from the community of Cloan, east of Cut Knife. Originally a school, it was eventually re-purposed to serve as a church, then finally became the first permanent home for Clayton’s Collection. The building was placed on a cement foundation, and for many years, the basement was used to show movies. Over time, additional collections have also been donated to the museum.
Since then, a total of thirteen display buildings have been relocated to the museum site with the stories of the surrounding communities enhanced by more than 20,000 artifacts. The buildings are as follows: Gallivan School, CPR Station, Medical Building, the Esso Building, Raymond’s Store, Exhibits Building, Carruthers Church, Clayton’s Van, Bert Martin’s Log Cabin, Duvall House, Fire Hall, Armstrong Building and, prior to its demolition, Ovenstown.
Unfortunately, Ovenstown, the museum’s Registration and Tourist Information Centre, fell victim to the elements in 2020, when its foundation was compromised by record-setting rains. The artifacts within the building were relocated to the Duvall House and the Exhibit Building. The former school and church was leveled, except for the cupola housing the old bell. That was saved and will find a second home on site.