Yet another new addition…

Creston Museum Behind The Scenes, News & Articles Leave a Comment

My head is full of crazy stuff. You never know what is going to pop into this out-there ‘noggin of mine! Every once in a while though, one of those ridiculous ideas just happens to make it’s way out of my mouth, and somebody likes it!

This, is one of those cases. I will warn you though, this is a bit of a long one, because there is just SO. MUCH. TO TELL!!!

I might have one of the best bosses ever…just sayin’. She generally gets on board with my…*ahem*…initiative 😐 …right away, and genuinely enthusiastically I will add!

Being pretty new, (a few months after I started last year) I wanted to go see how other facilities did things. We had already decided that we wanted to angle towards a much more hands on format, but we have an incredibly unique layout, which, although we think is quite frankly awesome {even if we do say so ourself}…it presents some unique presentation challenges to go along with it. There is very little behind glass in our museum, everything is open. So even though we wanted to encourage hands on, it still means that EVERYTHING can be touched… even the stuff you don’t want to be touched… but the more you try to tactfully divert those that want to touch what they aren’t supposed to they are gonna do it anyways. Those touchers…

Now as much as touching in a museum is akin to cussing in church, in the educational branch of Museums, the more stuff you can touch and mess with the better!

There was a quote going around Pinterest for a bit, something along the lines of

“A person will soon forgot the things you said, but will always remember the way you made them feel…”

Sounds pretty legit. And considering I am an observational/hands on learner myself, I kinda get it. You can talk to your crowd until they are blue in the face (which, professionally speaking, I don’t recommend. Blue DOES NOT mean you are sad! I repeat, DOES NOT MEAN SAD), but they will forget the facts and what the thingamabob is called or what the dingle-hopper was invented for but actually ended up being used for instead. What they WILL remember, is how awkward trying to wrangle the thing was because you needed so much co-ordination and skill; or how much work it was to get two cups of ice cream, or how heavy the thing that went on the thing was, because it had to be to balance to do the stuff.

But back to that best boss ever thing now… so I was like “Tammy, can I go look at Ft. Steele?” and she was like “Cool, pick a day” and I was like…

dude

Actually no, that would be unprofessional. ahhh….who am I kidding. It’s not that far off. So my goal was to look at much larger, established organizations that are very successful, have year round activities, and have a reputation that pulls in repeat customers/becomes a tradition. A trip to one of the most hands on programs in the area, Fort Steele was in order!

They are an 1890’s heritage town, that has been restored (and tastefully added on to here and there), and now serves as an educational/recreational attraction. Most of it is presented in first person, the staff are all in period clothing, [the on site seamstresses make most of the clothes and WOW talent…]. But, they are also set up so not only do you watch the ‘pioneers’ do what they do, {like their famous Clydesdale’s plow fields the old-school way},

but you also get to get your hands dirty. From railroad programs where you actually build a small stretch of railroad, {did you know Ft. Steele trains were used in Shanghai Noon…as in *Jackie Chan & Owen Wilson* } to baking in the Lambi House, panning for gold…there’s so much I can’t name it all. You should just check it out for yourself.

Now, we don’t have an entire town to restore. (But we do have the bottom level of a castle). We don’t have acres upon acres upon acres to cultivate. We DO have a steam engine train…but it can’t run. Although… if Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson hung out on it, it just might…still do nothing. meh.

We have a 103 year old one room school house, which is sooo popular with visitors from other countries, and that could totally be used (and guess what…it is! Lessons on Tuesdays through the summer!)

I tried for critters, but apparently the courtyard is too small. And something about bylaws or some flippity-flap like that. But despite all of the stuff working against us, we do have a shed. A rather large, open faced shed.

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<——— (there)

 

 

So I come back from Fort Steele and an awesome day with their Program Co-Ordinator at the time, Tammy asks how my day was, and the conversation may or may not have proceeded as such: (you decide…how well you know me?)

 

Me: “Tammy…we need a homestead cabin.”

Tammy: “we…need a homestead cabin…”

Me: Yes. We need a homestead cabin.

Tammy: “Why do we need a homestead cabin..?”

Me: “So we can do homestead cabiny stuff…”

  Tammy: “I like it! Lets start looking into it!”

Me:

Tammy: cat

Me:  “yeeeeeeeesssssss….”

Some creative arranging of funds, and the spirit of using what space we have craftily, we are now building a little pioneer homestead cabin of our own inside that big open faced shed!

Now, it’s not to throw miscreants in…I promise…but it is a place to let peoples inclination to touching everything they see run wild! But if we are being serious for a second, how many times have you seen a little tiny one or two room run down cabin, and wondered just how people managed to live in them? Or read a book about a pioneer and tried to imagine life, but always wanted to actually step inside their world?

If all goes as planned, this will be your transport to an era gone. Programs featuring skills of yesteryear will be regularly run, from 45-60 minutes to full half days, with a mix of fun & chores in the spot light.

But the fact that we are getting a Homestead isn’t even the best part of this story. No no…the best is yet to come!

So now that it is decided we will have a new functionally interactive exhibit, we had to put our nose to the grindstone and do some serious planning. The shed has A LOT of stuff in it. Remember that post about moving day? No? Here…this was in part to clear a space for our cabin. This gave us about enough space for an 11×16 structure give or take ten square feet for a second little separate entryway, so time to bust out the drawing board. It’s a good thing I did 4 years drafting in school, this really helped with material planning.

As you know, everything in our museum has a local tie, and a local story. Even though the Homestead will have local stuff in it, we really wanted it to have some sort of a story of it’s own. Originally, we figured we could make it represent closely some of the small starter cabins that were so common in the town as it was in it’s infancy. But then, it’s funny how coincidences happen. Some wonderfully amazing people [names not included at this point as I don’t have their permission yet] wanted to know if we wanted their TEACHERAGE! well, obviously we couldn’t say no to that kind of offer…

If you are unfamiliar with a teacherage, it is a teachers cottage…teacherage. {i made that up. but it makes sense}. The little house would be built right close to the one room school for the teacher to live in, and especially for all the single ladies, it made it easier to get to work in winter.

teacherage

I’m not 100% sure when/where this picture came from, but you can see the windows are boarded up, and the pump, and door are in one piece.

 

The windows are boarded up, but the door and well are no longer in one piece.

This particular one was the ‘Alice Siding’ school teachers house. When I think I’m being a procrastinator, I just think of the Alice Mine (the mine that gave that side of town it’s name), then I don’t feel so bad. There will most definitely be a post on this mine in the future. But anyways, it’s just a little house…18′ and a few inches by 22′, three rooms, and one level from what we can tell… pictures of the inside are pretty scarce.

A picture we have of the interior of the house at one time

A picture we have of the interior of the house at one time

Given the structure of this building, it would be a pretty crazy feat to try and take the whole thing apart. We can’t move it (a:narrow country roads b:narrow budget c:narrow space), but what we can do is use parts of it.

Commencing Tuesday, we will be removing as much siding from the outside and wainscoting from the inside as we can to use on our little shed! That way, even though we can’t use the whole thing, we still have as much as possible to tell it’s story.

So, here is a picture of the frame of the floor of the cabin that the siding will go on so far…

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The final interior layout is undecided as of yet, there are a few logistics that just don’t really want to co-operate, but that’s ok, so long as we get the 3 walls up we’ll be ahead of the game. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page, because I will be taking pictures like crazy of this process!

 

aaaand thats all for now. *super gigantic gasp for breath* thanks for stickin’ it out this far! Regular updates to follow. Cheers!