FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are you the Paul Bunyan Camp?
Nope. The Paul Bunyan Camp Museum is our good friend and next-door neighbor. (715) 835-6200. You can find more about the organization here. While we are separate organizations, the Chippewa Valley Museum does book school tours for both places.
Are you the children's museum?
Nope. You'll find the Children's Museum of Eau Claire at 220 S. Barstow Street in downtown Eau Claire. (715) 832-5437. Or surf to its site here.
Are you run by the city? the county?
Nope. The Chippewa Valley Museum is a private, non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) status. Ultimate responsibility for the museum is held by a 15-member Board of Directors elected by the membership. As required by Bylaw, the Board delegates responsibility and authority for daily operations to the Director, who serves as chief executive officer.
Where do you get your money?
It can vary a lot year by year because of project funding, but here's a recent breakdown for our operating budget. Earned income: 50 percent. Special gifts and grants: 20 percent. Membership: 13 percent. Local government (city and county combined): 12 percent. Investment return, fundraising, events, and other: 5 percent.
The eagle in front of the museum building: where did it come from?
It came from the Wisconsin Theater, 311 E. Grand Ave., Eau Claire. The theater opened in 1924, was renamed the Badger Theater in 1938, and remained in operation until 1958. The theater was torn down in 1966.
Two eagles once graced the top of the theater. One was given to the Chippewa Valley Museum at the time the museum’s dedication in June 1974. The other was given to Judge William Bundy of Menomonie. Bundy’s grandfather, Thomas McLain, was one of the carriers of Old Abe, the famed eagle that accompanied Company C, 8th Wisconsin Regiment, during the Civil War.
The museum’s eagle rests atop a marble pillar from the Parker/Kelley building, which stood at 213 S. Barstow St.
Do you ever get rid of things (artifacts) you've collected?
We do, but we don't do so lightly. The artifacts that leave the museum (in museum-speak, they are "deaccessioned") are either in poor condition, redundant, duplicated by artifacts with better documentation, or inappropriate to our mission.
Methods of disposal include transfer to the museum's "study collections" (things that can be touched, or studied, by students and other members of the public), donation to other historical or educational organizations, or public sale. Proceeds from any public sale -- a very rare occurrance -- are placed in a restricted fund for acquisitions and conservation.
Where is the thing that I (or my relative, or my neighbor) donated? I don't see it on display.
The museum preserves more than 16,000 objects. Roughly 1,300 are on display in museum exhibits, with another 1,600 on display in the three historic structures we interpret: the Lars and Grethe Anderson Log House, Sunnyview School, and the Schlegelmilch House. In other words, at any given time, less than 20 percent of our collection is visible to the public, and more than 80 percent is in storage.
The Permanent Collection is used primarily for exhibition and programmatic research. We don't collect artifacts that we never intend to exhibit, but some objects will not be on exhibit very often.