outdoor exhibit machinery

Except One Thing

Angie has been working the summer seasons at the Clayton McLain Memorial Museum since 2016. She’s the Staff Supervisor, Tour Guide, Jack-of-all-Trades, and most importantly, Assistant Curator who catalogues as many artifacts as she can, each summer, in between all of the above tasks and responsibilities. We are extremely fortunate that she is happy to return to the museum year after year.

A few weeks ago, we were talking about visitors to the CMMM and their responses to the Heritage Village. Angie noted that one of the most frequent comments she hears is, “You’ve got EVERYTHING here!” And, Angie’s response is always, “Everything. Except one thing.” Of course, we all want to know what that one thing is, and Angie’s answer surprised me, too.

The answer is jeans. Not just any old jeans, though. Angie’s referring to an authentic pair of old bib overalls that have a direct connection to the area. She said, “just ask if anybody still has a pair of Grandpa’s old jeans tucked away somewhere.” Unfortunately, both Angie and I know it’s not quite that simple.

For anyone who has an item they’re considering giving / donating / passing along to the museum, the Acquisitions Committee follows a strict set of guidelines to determine if a particular item should be added to the CMMM collections.

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On the other hand, a pair of Grandpa’s old bib overalls HAS to be relevant to the history of the area, doesn’t it?

~ Debbie M.

archives files
Archives, Our Stories

Acquisitions: To Accept a Donation . . . or Not?

On March 17, 2015, the Cut Knife Chamber of Commerce dissolved. The organization had been a part of the Town since, at least, the 1970s and had hosted some well loved community traditions including the May Long Weekend Garage Sale, Oktoberfest and the Canada Day Pancake Breakfast at the Museum. However, now that it had disbanded, the question arose: What was to become of its records?

The first box of materials – with signed Transfer of Ownership, to the right. The items will be organized along timelines, described, filed in archival boxes and stored.

The Clayton McLain Memorial Museum and Archives has established a set of guidelines that helps us to determine whether, or not, a potential donation fits our mandate. These criteria were designed to keep us on track. Our display space, our storage space and our volunteer resources are limited. By following our Significance Worksheet, we eliminate duplication and we maintain the museum’s focus on the stories directly relevant to the area.

Honestly, if it were up to the individuals of the Acquisitions Committee and the Board of Trustees, we’d probably take in everything that was offered to the Museum. Most of us have a weakness for collections, for antiques, for documents and books or for items of a sentimental nature but that approach is unworkable. So, we’ve set up a procedural based upon what other museums are doing and we work at creating a unique, manageable collection reflective of the people, events and history of the Cut Knife area.

The Archives is a climate and light controlled, dust and pest free area.

The records of the Cut Knife Chamber of Commerce will be accepted into the Archives because they fit – to a tee – the requirement for historical significance: “. . . collection [that] contributes to changing the course of local history or [has] an impact on development of community.” The boxes of materials will be processed and, in time, will be available to the public for viewing or research.

~ Debbie M.