29th March 2012

March 29, 2012

By Dottie Gray

Much has been happening throughout the winter months at the Boundary County Museum.

“Hole in the Wall, Part 2” (brought to us by Don Morice, the destructor) is in progress, opening up the Annex with Portrait Hall.

We are just waiting for the doors to be hung to finish that project.

Curator Sue Kemmis has been moving displays, painting, moving displays, painting, and moving displays again. Research by Terry Howe and Howard Kent is resulting in more information about logging railroads and logging  camps, blacksmithing, the history of downtown buildings and their locations, and many other topics.

As a result of past and recent grants, and a good deal of volunteers’ labor of love, many changes are taking place. Last fall the old heating system in Portrait Hall was completely disabled due to a gas leak and antiquated heating equipment.

With a reimbursement grant of $2,500 from Union Pacific Foundation through their community-based grant program, we have been able to purchase a new heating system. The oil paintings of 40 “pioneers” of Boundary County, commissioned by Stan and Georgia DeHart and painted by local artist Bette Myers, are now safely protected from the cold.

In 2010, Gini Woodward applied to the Idaho Humanities Council for hosting “The Way We Worked,” a Museum on Main Street exhibit from the Smithsonian.

This exhibit fell on the heels of the exhibit called “Journey Stories,” which Gini also applied for and received for 2010. A recent Idaho Humanities Council grant is providing $1,500 for exhibit development, educational
materials, and promotion and publicity in support of “The Way We Worked” exhibit, which opens May 12 and runs through June 23.

Another recent grant from the Idaho Humanities Council in the amount of $2000 has been awarded for construction of a two-part exhibit, “Fire and Flames.”

This exhibit will feature A.J. Kent, Frank Zimmerman, and Wes Deitz and chronicles the formation of the Bonners Ferry Fire Department.

The focal point of the exhibit is a 1923 REO Fire Truck belonging to the Smoke Eaters Club, and various and sundry fire equipment and items displayed on behalf of the City. The second part of this exhibit will explain the history of  blacksmithing and local smithies Peter Silas and Jess and Bob Meeker of Meeker’s Machine Shop.

The exhibit will feature Marion Bradley’s blacksmith shop collection including a forge with blower, coal tinderbox, anvil and various hand-held forging tools. It is expected that the “Fire and Flames” exhibit will be completed later this summer.

The Idaho Community Foundation, through the Steele-Reese Foundation Special Project Fund, awarded a grant to purchase folding tables, chairs, and a chair caddy for large group events hosted by the Museum.

Colet Allen, project director for the Smithsonian exhibit is finalizing a number of events to be held in the Portrait Hall, which will make good use of the purchases from these funds.

Two large brick and mortar projects totaling over $8,000 made possible by grants from the Idaho Heritage Trust, written by Gini Woodward beginning in 2009, have been completed as of early 2012.

One of those provided correction of drainage issues on both the north and south buildings. The second project called for stabilizing building foundations, repairing wall cracks and damaged masonry, and reinforcing existing interior framing and has been completed.

A grant, written by Gini Woodward, was received from the Idaho Humanities Council in the amount of $2000 which provided for a new exhibit in the south foyer entrance. Photos by Dave and Andrea Kramer adorn the panels of the docent counter and replicate the front panels of the Court House. This project was finalized in the fall of 2011.

Without the grants from such funding sources as The Idaho Humanities Council, The Idaho Heritage Trust, the Idaho Community Foundation, and the Union Pacific Foundation, these exhibits, building needs, and improvements would not be possible.

The Boundary County Historical Society appreciates the efforts of many who have made these projects possible.  Preserving history and educating the community about the people and events of this region is why the Society and the Museum exist.

And speaking of new exhibits, you must stop in to view the Ned Dyer clock collection. Nearly 40 hand-made wooden clocks were part of Mr. Dyer’s estate, gifted to the Museum. They are grandly displayed in refinished oak display cases donated by Paul and Charlene Wells. You won’t want to miss this display. Mark your calendars now for May 12 – June 23rd for the wide variety of programs that will be taking place with “The Way We Worked.”

 – Written by Museum staff for publication
A lot going on at the Boundary County Museum
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