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Idaho Enterprise

Oneida Pioneer Museum End of Year Report

Museum Board members Jean Thomas and Bill Lewis working on hanging new pictures at the museum over the summer.

The Oneida Pioneer Museum hosted slightly fewer visitors this year than expected, possibly because of abnormally cool and rainy weather in May and June and because of ongoing renovation of the third floor that continues to block off the mezzanine exhibit area. The Museum opened on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend with its annual Bake Sale and closed on Labor Day. Shelia Williams Hawkins and Kristle Jensen worked as hostesses with most Board members each working at least one day during the summer.

The Museum had 720 visitors sign the guest register. Because only one member of a group or family usually signs the guest register, the Museum likely hosted close to 900 visitors. Some visitors do not indicate their city or state when they sign in. Most visitors from out of town came to the Museum because they saw the signs on the freeway. Unfortunately, the freeway sign did not get turned to “open” until after Memorial Day weekend.

During the Parade of Homes in December, the Museum had 33 visitors. The Malad Valley Welsh Festival brought nearly 140 visitors to the Museum (down from 170). Memorial Day weekend brought just 40 visitors (down from 70) to the Museum, all on the day of the bake sale. Nearly 70 3rd graders from Malad Elementary School toured the Museum in May, the Weston Camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers visited in May, and the 7th Ward Relief Society visited the Museum in July. The local camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers holds its monthly meetings at the Museum except during the summer. 

Other visitors made appointments to tour the Museum during the months when it is closed.

The window display committee of Dotty Evanson, Sharon Harris, Janice Vaughan, Hailey Sweeten and Liz Kent created the summer exhibit that featured Dale Reece’s collection of cowboy memorabilia. The smaller display window featured two wagon wheels supporting a sign with the Museum name, all created by Sharon Harris.

The eighth annual “Friends of the Museum” campaign had another successful year with 96 supporters of the Museum donating money to assist the Museum in its efforts to preserve the history of Malad and Oneida County. The names of the donors at each level (Annual, Handcart, Covered Wagon, Stagecoach, and Steam Engine) are on a plaque in the Museum. 

The Museum receives annual allocations from Malad City and Oneida County that allow the Museum to hire hostesses and to pay for operation of the HVAC system.

Originally funded by grants from the Idaho Heritage Trust and the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, the ongoing fabric preservation project is under the direction of Sarah Robbins. When the storage rooms on the third floor are completed, the clothing and quilt collections will be rotated.

Another grant from the Idaho Heritage Trust funded the conservation of several pioneer-era crayon portraits that have been added to the Museum’s outstanding collection.  In addition, the archive project will be ongoing during the next year.

A major improvement to the appearance of the Museum and downtown Malad was the installation of a cover over the outdoor stairwell on the south side of the building. Funded by AgWest Farm Credit Services and the Idaho Community Foundation, the cover was designed by Monte John and Marvin Hess.

The Historical Marker Subcommittee, comprised of Bill Lewis, Marvin Hess, and Jean Thomas, identified, researched, and compiled information for 20 historic buildings in downtown Malad. The historic markers have been mounted on or near the buildings, and a map is available to guide visitors to the sites. Additional information about each site will be available on the Museum’s website, which is being designed by Liz Kent. 

The Museum Board meets at least quarterly to discuss maintenance, operations and ways to improve the Museum. Board members are Chair Jean Thomas, Vice-Chair Bill Lewis, Secretary Janice Vaughan, Treasurer Julie Willie, Dotty Evanson, Sharon Harris, Joan Hawkins, Marvin Hess, Monte John, Liz Kent, Lorna Perry, Sarah Robbins, and Hailey Sweeten.  

Donations to the Museum of artifacts important to the history of Malad Valley and Oneida County are always welcome. Those wishing to donate an item to the Museum may contact any Board member.  Donors will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Ownership to transfer permanent ownership to the Museum. All donations must be identified as to owner, use, and relationship to Oneida County.

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