The Clinton Museum, which is operated by the South Cariboo Historical Museum Society, and is one of the main tourist attractions in Clinton, will once again be welcoming visitors throughout the 2019 spring and summer seasons.
The Museum was founded in 1953, and started with the personal collection of Jack Payne. It moved into its current home in the 1892 brick schoolhouse building on Cariboo Highway in 1956, and became a Society in 1989. In addition to the Museum building itself, the site has more items on display in the grounds and in a historic livery stable behind the Museum.
Many items and displays have been added since the Museum’s inception. In 2018 alone, several displays were completed: World War I, Forestry, the Foster/Robertson Store, and the 2017 Forest Fire/David Stoddart student poster display. Grants from the Clinton Community Forest and BC Gaming funded the glass, framing, and signage for these displays.
The Big Book Photo Album was completed, and the Clinton Ball display was updated. Work continues on documenting the Museum collection, as this has been a weak area in collection management. To address this, the Society purchased “Past Perfect” museum software, an expense that was funded by a BC Gaming Grant. The plan is for the summer student—funded through the 2019 Canada Summer Youth Jobs Program—to learn the software and input information about the Museum’s artefacts.
The Society faces some financial challenges in operating and maintaining the Museum. The Village of Clinton is the landlord, and pays for the heat, light, internet, water, and repairs, and does not charge rent. The Village has also provided grants-in-aid, and over the years has been a steadfast and appreciated supporter of the Museum. Recently Village staff and the CAO initiated a successful application for a BC Gaming Grant.
The Society pays for the website hosting, telephone service, security, janitorial supplies, and liability insurance. In the spring of 2018 the Museum’s archives—which were housed in the basement of the Clinton Memorial Hall—were at risk from water seepage, and were rapidly moved to the basement of the Village office, with volunteers from the Psalm 23 Society assisting the Museum Society work crew.
The very large wooden model of the Clinton Hotel was on parade during Rodeo weekend, but needs repairs, and a display space in a secure location. The Museum’s antique wagon and sleigh—on display in the yard behind the Museum—are deteriorating, and need attention, but funding and plans for a wagon shed shelter have stalled.
In order to streamline activities and receive grants, the Society now has a three-year strategic plan, a detailed 2019 budget, a program outline, and updated bylaws and policies. The Society is also participating in a Red Cross pilot program to develop an Emergency Preparedness Plan.
Last year, Society member volunteers put in more than 1,240 hours developing displays, fundraising, maintaining the Museum’s grounds, training and supervising the summer students, greeting visitors and touring them around the site, maintaining a social media presence for the Museum, attending meetings, and overseeing internal administration; they also completed brickwork on the handicap access ramp.
The Museum has a selection of books by local authors for sale, and during the 2018 Museum Birthday Bash the Society recognized Earl and Jocelyn Cahill, Helene Cade, Mike Brundage, and Lorraine Huestis with bench plaques and lifelong memberships for their contributions to the Museum. Northern Development Initiative Trust funds helped with costs for an Aboriginal Day musical afternoon, as well as a community spaghetti dinner and fundraiser for the Christmas Hamper fund.
There were presentations and events throughout the season. Author Sage Birchwater talked about his latest book and engaged his audience with historical anecdotes, and woodcarver Mark Coe demonstrated and talked about his art. Colette French held Saturday art classes, and there was a yard sale, a pot luck, and tea with cookies for Christmas Madness.
The Society’s officers for 2019 are Edith McLorn (president); Wayne Marchant (vice-president); Kat Chatten-Shepherd (secretary-treasurer); and Ed Schlosser, Janice Maurice, Ramona Holota, Helene Cade, and Colette French (directors). Looking ahead, they expect to be busy, and to that end need more memberships, volunteers, and funds.
There are many tasks in the Society’s three-year strategic plan, including an inventory and documentation of the Museum’s exhibits; more education and promotion; facility repair and development; and the development of programming for visitors and large groups. Attracting people to the destination is key, as is revenue creation through gift shop expansion, fees for use of the facility, and increased grants.
Partnerships—with local tourism organizations and related businesses, as well as with those further afield—are important, as is communications outreach to increase involvement and further promote the Museum. The Society thanks everyone who helps to keep Clinton’s nugget going.
For more information about the Clinton Museum, including how to become a member, visit the website at www.clintonmuseumbc.org/.
With files by Ramona Holota.