Elk Mountain Museum fundraiser a success


Erik Gantt

The Elk Mountain Museum features military artifacts from local residents and is transitioning to a focus on local ranching and farming families.

The Elk Mountain Museum, the newest in Carbon County, raised $1,347 at the silent auction they held last week.

This should help the museum improve their space and deal with additional collections over the next year.

The fundraiser was attended by several local residents, including mayor Morgan Irene. Most of the participants signed bids on auction items in the week prior to Wednesday's event held at the Elk Mountain Senior Center.

Items up for bid included oil paintings, quilts, a crossbow, posters, dishes and homemade pie. One of the hottest items in the auction was a basket of homemade goat cheeses made by museum president Joyce Menke.

Menke was instrumental in forming the museum, which opened in January.

"For years everybody said we're the only town that doesn't have a museum. Somebody ought to do something," Menke said. About a year ago Menke finished working at the department and national level work with the American Legion Auxiliary. "So I decided my name was 'somebody.'"

"Lots of people have been wanting one for years, but nobody took the initiative to do it, so I guess Joyce pretty well got it started," Bill Jones, vice president of the museum, said.

Menke said it took her about three months to get the ordinance, forming the museum, approved by the town and find a suitable space. The town of Elk Mountain approved the museum in December 2014 and they opened in January 2015.

Menke is supported by Jones and Tammy Page, who is the secretary/treasurer for the museum. The three person board has a couple of teenage volunteers, but they are the ones who staff the museum and work with the growing collection.

Page said she has always had an interest in history and was happy to volunteer for the museum once she saw it advertised.

Jones has been in the Elk Mountain area since 1941 and has turned into the "go to" historian for the museum. Rather than volunteering, Jones said, he was drafted into his position.

The museum had around 100 visitors in their first summer. The visitors came from around the country including Florida, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. Casper College also visited the museum with a class.

Right now, the museum is transitioning its focus from the military history of Elk Mountain and its residents to families in the agricultural industry. In particular, the new exhibits display stories and items that put the spotlight on the history of local ranching and farming families. Jones has been working on collecting all of the local brands for a new display at the museum.

Both Page and Menke were pleased with the auction results. "We figure that every dollar is a dollar that we didn't have," Menke said.


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