Accomplishments Old Trail Museum achieved during the 2016 season.
The Old Trail Museum opened our doors on May 28th to begin our 2016 season. We had a wonderful season with 3,318 people passing through our doors. Of that total, 1,657 were from out of state, 1,393 were from Montana, 109 were from out of country, 87 were from Choteau and 72 were from Canada.
Student groups from Choteau schools, Trinity Lutheran, Augusta, Blackfeet Community College staff and Great Falls schools toured the museum. Four large tour groups from Ready Bus Lines out of Minnesota also toured the complex.
The annual Wild Game Feed held at the new convention center at the Stage Stop Inn was very well attended and was so much fun. This is OTM's major fundraiser to keep our museum open. With all the donated items both for the silent auction and the live auction, we were able to raise an outstanding dollar amount. Thanks to all who attended and contributed.
We hired Joe Boroski to remove the sod on the Gleason Cabin and to put down a rubber lining and then to replace the sod and replant with new grass seed. It looked so nice this year. Dave Zion leveled and removed brush from the back yard and seeded new grass. What a wonderful improvement. Thank you, Dave, for donating your time to do this for the museum.
All the board members participated in freshening up, repairing and painting the buildings before our opening. Boardwalk boards were replaced and a new ramp was built going into the Bear Cabin. Thank you, Bob Pearson, Clayton Ketcham, Dave Zion and Dave Wedum, for getting this done. Alf Wiseman and Woody Ameline replaced all the locks on the Ice Cream Parlor. Thanks to both of them. Clayton Ketcham and Bob Pearson worked on the Ice Cream Parlor, replacing tile, prior to our new tenant taking over. Mike Birnel once again offered his services to get our water back on in all the buildings. Thank you, Mike.
Once again we are so thankful to the SOKA PIIWA Foundation for their generous donations to our museum. Their donation pays for the maintenance position and also for funding to help with keeping the museum open during the summer months. We also want to thank Boe Brothers Foundation for its generous donation each year.
We only had one Wednesday evening program this year, but it was a huge success with Rich Clough, Barb Larsen, and Bill and Maggie Luthin, giving us a fun musical night.
Two interpretive tours of the Old North Trail and other archeological sites, guided by Anne Dellwo, Dave and Vi Vi Shea, and Dave Hartman, each drew great groups. All participants thoroughly enjoyed the history of this trail.
Our Jesse Gleason Appreciation Day was very well attended. We had a wonderful response to local people lending us their artwork that Jesse had done for them along with a write up about how they had acquired their art. Almost all members of the Gleason family were on hand to visit with all the attendees. What a great day!
Summer Day Camp was held in July for children entering first grade through fourth grade. The kids had a wonderful time and look forward to next year's camp.
Our Flea Market on Labor Day had only seven vendors this year due to the rain. Sherwin Smith displayed his furs, beads and collectables that day and everyone enjoyed visiting with him.
We want to extend a huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped to keep the museum open during the 2016 season, especially Laurie Jorden and Linda Watson for volunteering to work one day a week each as curators. Also a big thank you goes to Mark Krause who spent many hours at the museum this summer getting our ascension records updated. This was all volunteer work and we can't thank him enough for all the work he did.
Al Wiseman received the Heritage Keepers Award Western from the Montana Historical Society in September 2016.
Dawn Sullivan was the new renter of the Ice Cream Parlor this past summer and we appreciate all she did to keep the parlor a favorite place to hang out during the summer.
Steve Taormina and Jim Utsler repaired the outdoor T-rex, and the Clayton and Kathy painted it, and it is so good to see 'him' all repaired and painted. Thanks Steve, Jim, Clayton and Kathy.
A great big thank you to Dave Wedum for all he does for the museum. Our grounds look wonderful due to Dave.